By various, edited by Greta Christina (Last Gasp)
Erotica, it must be said, is in the mind – and not even the eye – of the beholder. This second collection of the year’s best erotic comics casts a broad net and again comes up with a fantastic display of superbly varied strips and creators all addressing our most fundamental drive – and I don’t mean double-bagging Angel and the Ape or Wonder Woman comics… oh I don’t know, though…
I’m trying to be vague and alluring here (all but impossible – ask anyone who’s seen me) so I’ll simply list the contents and see what that gets us, but first let me trot out my usual disclaimer/warning.
This book contains stories and images of an adult nature, specifically designed for adult consumption, and the kind of coarse and vulgar language that most kids have used by the age of ten. If reading about such things is likely to offend you, please stop now and go away. Tomorrow I’ll write about something with violence and explosions, so come back then. Please.
This large and copious softcover features stories about all aspects, preferences and interpretations of consensual sex in both stark black and white and lush, lavish colour, and it all kicks off with three short comedic true-story strips from Erika Moen, specifically ‘Odd Things that Made Me Orgasm’, ‘Helping Hands’ and ‘Boobs’, promptly followed by ‘Insatiable Fuck Tart’, the first of eight single page, outrageously faux, classified sex ads from Ellen Forney. ‘Torn’ is a delightful switch on the conventional dating game from Niki Smith, followed by Ellen Forney’s ‘Devilish Desires’.
It might surprise you to learn that there is a shortage of good quality smut. To obviate the shortage Editor Greta Christina has been forced to use occasional older pieces and “Hall of Fame” material where appropriate. One such is Rick Altergott’s uncompromising ‘Mile High Club’, which is followed by ‘I Can Take It’, a chilling look at the dark edges of gay love, with the tension-breaking Ellen Forney’s ‘My French Maid’
I went to a Catholic School so it takes a lot to unsettle me – at least in comic book terms – but the excerpted sections of Robin Bougie’s ‘Down with Herpes’ came quite close. The feature is an illustrated hand-lettered series of reviews of extreme cult and bondage porn films, and it’s not the strip but the films themselves that gave me pause. Consider yourself warned.
Cephalopod Productions comes next with a quirky nostalgic gag-spread cartoonishly capturing the hidden delights of old New York in ‘Broadway Laffs’, then ‘Hairy Girl’ by Forney and the hilarious ‘Wild Girls’ by Jessica Fink, a cute cautionary tale entitled ‘Blowing Head Gaskets’ by Molly Kiely, Forney’s ‘Brad Pitt Fantasy’ and a terrific gay Satanist, zombie love story ‘Dem Bones’ from writer/artist Drub (I’m sure we’ve left no stone un-offended by now!)
The wonderful Alison Bechdel’s ‘The Honeymooners’ is a welcome Hall of Fame classic followed by ‘Screw M Relentlessly’ from Forney and ‘Mantras’ a superbly polemical and thought-provoking piece on sexual politics by Steve MacIsaac using a powerfully effective three colour palette. Diego Greco & Erdosain combine to produce a good old fashioned bonking yarn in the lavish, full-colour ‘Predator’, whilst Adrian Tomine contributes ‘Ginger B’, a Dirty Found exhibit (Dirty Found means a sexually charged object or image that has been discovered in everyday life rather than created by an artist to order), the legendary Peter Kuper contributes the incredible ‘Dirty Beauty’, Gary Baseman paints ‘The Devil’s Playground’ and the magnificent Toshio Saeki reinterprets classical Pillow Book illustrations in his seven fabulous ‘Youren’ illustrations.
John Cuneo graphically illustrates ‘Why I Went to Art School’, Quinn’s ‘Bad Girl Triptych’ demonstrates the cutting edge of experimental painting and Christy C. Road shows how to ‘Reclaim Your Self’, before Steve MacIsaac returns with another marvellous thriller ‘Safe’.
‘April 2005 – A Thought Diorama’ is a terrific piece of design and a cracking commentary on modern romance, Belasco’s ‘Th’ Floodgates’ is a racially-charged but straightforward gay porn story, Christy C. Road returns with the intriguing ‘Content and Disorderly’ and the masterful Gilbert Hernandez makes a Hall of Fame appearance with ‘I Won’t Forget’; an excerpt from his landmark Birdland series. ‘Scenes from the Revolution!’ is another nostalgic gag-spread from Cephalopod Productions; ‘Be My BDSM Tutor’ is another ad from Ellen Forney whilst Marzia Borino & Mauro Balloni’s ‘One Night Stand’ is a nice cautionary tale about pick-ups and bars.
‘Olé!’ by Andrea Camic is a smart little thriller about a matador, a bull and the woman who loved them, whilst ‘Butch and Petey’ is a hysterical excerpt from Jim Goad & Jim Blanchard’s unmissable redneck pastiche Trucker Fags in Denial. Cover artist Junko Mizuno is further represented by ‘You Can’t Keep Fooling Me’, selected pages from her Pure Trance collection and this torrid tome closes with ‘Nibbil’s Birthday’, a charming fantasy from Colleen Coover.
With creator biographies that include directions to more fine adult fare this is a stupendous slice of contemporary rude cartooning and a delightfully innocuous read for the liberal minded. Just don’t tell your Gran, okay?
Entire contents © 2009 Last Gasp. All Rights Reserved.