Review: Nightlife #4 & TWBF

Artist(s): Bastian Jonsson, Dale Lazarov, Drub.

Nightlife was a 2009 collection of three erotic stories by Dale Lazarov and Bastian Jonsson, which I’d liked very much. Writer and artist now collaborate once again, for two new stories, the first of which I now present for your enjoyment.

This fourth, 20-pages story entitled Steam, as wordless as the previous ones, is set in a sauna, one with a Greek theme, which might not sound very original but is used here to great effect, as we’ll see.

Happy for each other

Writer Dale Lazarov is always trying to find new settings and original couplings in his stories, and here he gives us a disabled man in a wheelchair, not a category of protagonist we often see in porn. What I most enjoy in Lazarov’s stories is the presence of feelings, of warmth, between his characters. We see men relating to each other–and not only through sex. Glances and gazes are omnipresent, weaving a web of connections that I find as engaging as the sex itself, because they show these men happy for each other, because as intimate as sex is, the idea of sex, if not the act itself, is shared by all. Lazarov and Jonsson also take the time to establish the settings, show men of various ages and shapes, before launching into the pièce de résistance, the building-up of expectation drawing the reader into the ambiance before giving him what he’s waiting for.

Reality and myths resonate

As I wrote above, the sauna has a Greek theme, with which the artist plays a lot: mural paintings abound in the various scenes, inspired by Greek pottery and representing men and/or gods having sex. Jonsson must have had fun working in such different styles on the same pages. I’ve already said how much I like his curved, rich art and he doesn’t disappoint here. Attention is given to both the decor and the masculine bodies, with Yann Duminil’s colors bringing their usual warmth to the proceedings.
The presence of the frescoes also worked for me on a more intellectual level: they seem to create a resonance between the reality of the human, modern-times sex and the timelessness of the mythical sex depicted on the walls. There’s more energy coming from those pages, more sensuality, than there would be with only modern men fucking each other.

I also want to say a few words about The Welcome-Back Fuck, a 9-page story written by Lazarov and drawn by Drub, who’s both a tattoo and a comic-book artist. It was drawn for an erotic anthology a few years ago and is now available as a pdf.
It’s a fun romp, with two lovers meeting again as one comes back from a trip. There isn’t much room for anything else than the sex scenes and yet, Lazarov and Drub manage to sneak in some cute panels, such as the men hurrying home like kids with a secret.
Drub’s stylised art works very well with the average bodies of the two men (average for a porn comic, that is), and his layouts are inventive, as are his angle shots.

These DRM-free, pdf comics can be found on the writer’s website, as can be found digital editions of some of his print comics.

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