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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
   
 

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On this page:

Upcoming books from Bruno Gmünder (January to June 2008)
Dirty Little Drawings
So Super Duper #3
Porky #2
Frater Mine #5
Shirtlifter #2
Cavalcade of Boys is back online
Pride High #5
every part of you is familiar to me
Aegean Tales
The Desert Peach: Afterdead 1.2
In the Blink of an Eye #1
The Love book

 

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Entries for January 2007:
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Saturday, December 22, 2007
Various news
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Upcoming books from Bruno Gmünder (January to June 2008)



Publisher Bruno Gmünder has a fully-loaded plate for the next six months, with six books of interest to us. Here's the list:

coverRASCALS – The erotic fantasies of Todd Yeager
96 pages, duotone, hardcover, February 2008.

A collection of erotic art by a New York artist who was included in the Dirty Little Drawings collection.
 

coverBOY MEETS HERO, by Chayne Avery & Russell Garcia
120 pages, full color, hardcover, March 2008.

A collection of the fun gay super-hero web-comic.

 

coverJUST US GUYS, by Michael Broderick
64 pages, full color, hardcover, April 2008.

Another illustrator gets a well-deserved collection of his art. His website is here.

 

coverSIDE BY SIDE - Journal of small town boy, by Mioki
120 pages, full color, hardcover, April 2008.

Mioki was included in the Stripped anthology, and a lot of people wondered what else he'd done. Well, he's now done a 120-page graphic novel, described by the publisher as "the story of Evan and Rick. Fast and close friends since their kindergarten days in a small town their friendship evolves into the love of their lives. They move to the big city where they meet Billy and Charlie and these four friends are soon inseparable. Mioki presents a moving portrait of gay life with all its highs and lows. Drawn in a sure style and masterfully incisive, Mioki’s comic is a joy to read, is moving and the sex also doesn’t get short shrift. A charming comic for the young and the young-at-heart."
I must say I'm also very happy that Mioki gets a whole book to himself, since his pages in Stripped looked wonderful.

coverMANLY, by Dale Lazarov and Amy Colburn
80 pages, full color, hardcover, May 2008.
You can pre-order it.

After Sticky, Lazarov is back with another wordless collection of erotic tales, and this time, he's brought Amy Colburn with him. I've seen one of the stories, and I found it charming and hot, with very expressive art.

coverGONE TO THE MOVIES, By HvH
64 pages, full color, hardcover, June 2008.

HvH, who has two comics from Class Comics, is tweaking film history in this collection of illustrations, as can be seen from the cover. This should be fun.

 
I'm rather impressed by this line-up, and I honestly can't wait for some of these books. Of course, I'll review them when they're available.


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Sunday, December 16, 2007
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Dirty Little Drawings

Category: erotica, illustration.
Author(s): Various artists.
Year of publication: 2007.


The latest art collection from publisher Bruno Gmünder is a thick (320 pages) anthology of small drawings (about 7"x7"/15x15 cm) which have been made since 2000 by dozens of artists working at the Queer Men’s Erotic Art Workshop in New York from real-life models, during sessions hosted by the Leslie/Lohman Art Foundation.
I don't know any of those artists (and I'm sorry to say there's no biographical information in the book), but I guess most of them are either gifted amateurs or professionals working in other graphical areas. What's obvious is the variety of styles and and mediums displayed in this book, as you can see in the sample page I'm showing here. Subjects also vary from all-ages portraits to explicitly erotic scenes.
A selection of drawingsLeafing through such a large collection (which is in fact only a small part of the art produced for this workshop) is a wonderful way of savoring the myriad ways of representing the male body through art not constrained by society's restrictions against male/male sexuality. The cumulative effect is also valuable in itself, as it is building a kind of insect's vision, a never complete, multi-faceted view of this particular corner of the world, where men are shown enjoying themselves and each other.
Dirty Little Drawings is a very entertaining book, a celebration of sensuality and the liberating power of art. It is available at Amazon.


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Saturday, December 01, 2007
Review update
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So Super Duper #3


Author(s): Brian Andersen.


coverThe third issue of Brian Andersen's So Super Duper chronicles the end of the super-powered fight begun in the previous issue. Psyche, his adorable but usually helpless and clueless hero, gets kissed by the guy he worships (but it's for a good cause...) and shows off in an unexpected way, saving the day for all his teammates, all the while still being cute and, well, himself.
Andersen has managed to give us a continuous fight as well as some welcome character developments, something I really enjoy. On one hand, Psyche is still not very self-aware regarding his gayness, leading to some rather funny bits; on the other hand, he's exhibiting some strange surges of power, making the reader think that the author has more in store for this character than only a strengthening of his self-awareness. Balancing the closet themes and the super-hero action is not easy, especially since humor is present even in the more dramatic sequences, but it seems to me Andersen juggles all that quite well.
You can buy this comic from the Indy Planet site, and the author's site is here.


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Sunday, November 25, 2007
Review update
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Porky #2


Author(s): Logan.


coverPublished a few months ago by Class Comics, here is the English version of French artist Logan's second issue of his Porky comic. In this issue, we learn that Santa Claus is not a bum, Ben might have a destiny beyond getting fucked by various well-endowed men, and a supernatural threat is on its way...
Logan definitely ups the ante this time, giving us glimpses of a far larger background to his story, and introducing new characters, including what seems to be aging super-heroes who fear for their lives. That being said, his new comic is as raunchy as the previous issue, with lots of graphic sex and his trademark cocks, which are as large as my thighs. The characters themselves also behave in a complex way, between realistic psychology and Tom-of-Finland-like lack of sexual restraint. That makes for a weird and compelling reading. I'd almost say, don't open those pages if you go only for smooth and thin twinks, but then, you'd miss a fun romp amidst Logan's pervy fantasies. That would be a real shame.
You can buy this comic on the publisher's site (there are also sample pages).


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Saturday, November 24, 2007
Review update
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Frater Mine #5


Author(s): Sean McGrath, Juan Romera.


coverSean McGrath and Juan Romera are back for the fifth issue of Frater Mine, a fantasy series where magic is real but presented in a down-to-earth manner, which includes a gay character among the main protagonists. A nice headshot of MattMatt, the high school teacher, has used his magical powers to scare off a student who was attacking a colleague, and now has to face the consequences of his outburst: the institution doesn't take kindly to teachers roughing up students, even when they have some reason to.
As in the previous issue, Matt being gay is never the point of him, but is mentioned casually and believably. That being said, the writer told me Matt would get a love interest in upcoming issues, so we'll get to see Matt "being" gay. What is shown in this issue is that he's not a very nice human being: he uses his powers to make life easier for himself, often in little ways (which, of course, is far more realistic than donning a skin-tight costume to battle bad guys), and spends time completely ignoring the problems of his family or friends.
Matt being a bastardWhat could become a study in bastardness (if that was a word) is in fact a moving portrait of a man lost in his contradictions and stuck in a life he doesn't particularly enjoy, thanks to McGrath's never melodramatic writing. Juan Romera is in fine form, sculpting his characters' faces and building a lot of atmosphere through a solid use of white and black space, with a style which now reminds me of good, evocative artists like Duncan Fegredo, Eduardo Risso or Dean Ormston.
This issue seems to be a prologue to the new story arc, with the mysterious disappearance of children around Matt and his friends. I'm eagerly waiting to see what McGrath and Romera have in store for their characters, but I have a feeling it won't be pretty.
This comic, as the previous ones, can be bought from IndyPlanet.

Writer Sean McGrath has also teamed with artist Fernando Melek for a short comic titled Generic Goddess #1, where a woman with a mystical alter ego gets a call from an old friend, a call which will likely lead to trouble. McGrath proves (if need be) that he's really gay, by writing a story whose protagonist, while unnamed, seems to be somewhere between Wonder Woman and Promethea, or maybe even closer to a certain Egyptian goddess who was a popular fiction star some time ago... Melek has a wonderful, realistic style that's well suited to this quiet prologue. While there's nothing gay in this story, I don't see a straight guy writing it this way. But maybe I'm completely wrong.
You can also find this comic at IndyPlanet, with sample pages.


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Saturday, November 03, 2007
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Shirtlifter #2

Category: slice-of-life.
Author(s): Steve MacIsaac.
Year of publication: 2007.


The second issue of Steve MacIsaac's Shirtlifter is a 56-page collection of ten short stories, from 2 to 12 pages. Those stories are unconnected, but seem thematically linked, if only because reading them one after another creates an effect that was obviously non-existent when I read them in the various anthologies most were first published (the author has reworked most of them for the present collection).
A lot of those stories deal with closet/visibility issues, from self-awareness to public behavior, including openess toward one's family. For example, in the first story titled "Waiting for the Bus", the character faces a choice between following a stranger for sex at a bus stop and getting on with his life, and thus, between acknowledging his attraction to men and living a life of lies, toward himself and toward others. With a double vertical narration showing moments between the two possible lives and a voice-over commenting mercilessly on the character's behavior, MacIsaac gives us an uncompromising look at what drives men to stay in the closet even in a somewhat open society, and the consequences of that damaging choice.
The narration and storytelling of those stories is often an important part of their effect on the reader, as for example in the short piece "You can tell us anything", which juxtaposes the written reactions of parents to having a gay son ("How come you never bring your friends around?", "Don't you want to have a family?") with scenes of an untroubled gay life of sex and coupledom. It's clever, but more importantly, it's poignant.
There are also a few stories dealing with anonymous sex, and the related issue of protection, psychologically and physically speaking. The slight feeling of detachment which is pervasive in most of MacIsaac's stories help them avoid the pitfalls of melodrama and brings a certain intellectualism that I find very appealing.

Cruising the netFrom the last story

The last three stories are the ones where the layers of fiction are peeled away, to reveal some aspects of the real man behind the masks (the covers gives a hint of this: the main cover shows various characters, while the back cover shows faces of MacIsaac in the same positions). MacIsaac (or a fictional version of him) takes centerstage, and shows us that he can put a lot of humor in his work, which is not something that was especially obvious until then. "In Plain Sight" is a variation of the now-common observation that gay men and superheroes have a lot in common, with their double lives and their "hiding" their true self. "Border Crossings" is an ambitious piece of storytelling, with a multiple narration where color is used to differentiate between the four strands of a story not told in chronological order: MacIsaac, who's Canadian and lived then in Japan, is trying to obtain a visa for the USA, which is no small feat. That, and he has to deal with his seeming reluctance to commit too much to a relationship with a man in Los Angeles. The title obviously has multiple meanings...
The last story, "You Do The Math", looks like it is the most personal story, with MacIsaac talking about his unwillingnes to be too upfront about being gay, in public and in his job as a teacher in college. He even portrays himself as feeling proud of "acting straight", only to mock himself for that. It's not easy to put one's shortcomings in the full view of an audience, and it seems to me that MacIsaac does that without using the easy way of either excusing or demeaning himself, contrary to what a lot of autofiction writers have done.
With his solid drawing style gaining a measure of roundness in some stories (which might make it lose part of that detachment I was writing about, but probably enhances the implication of the reader) and his willingness to use thoughtful storytelling, Steve MacIsaac proves with this second issue of Shirtlifter that he's an author to watch.
This comic can be bought on the artist's site or at Amazon.


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Saturday, October 27, 2007
Various news
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Cavalcade of Boys is back online



A panelAlmost four months ago, I'd announced the return of Tim Fish's Cavalcade of Boys, this time as a strip for the Bay Windows magazine. Well, you can read those strips online. There are 11 strips right now, with a combination of old and new characters, all drawn in a beautiful black and white. It feels good to meet Tim Fish's guys again!
EDIT: The page on the BW site is down, but I've been told it will soon be up again.


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Review update
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Pride High #5


Author(s): Tommy Roddy, Shaun Piela.


Cover by Greg NarvasaWell, Tommy Roddy and his artists are on a roll, and Pride High comes out more frequently than some supposedly monthly mainstream super-hero comics.
That issue might be my favorite, besides the first one. This time, Kid Mischief has learned names seemingly related to the death of Mindsweeper, his boyfriend, and he's more and more convinced that death wasn't an accident. Besides interesting scenes showing various characters talking about all of that (including adult heroes who know more than they say, and the teenage ones from the Pride High group, determined to help their friend find out the truth about the death of one of their own), we get to see the teenage group in real action, as they face a female mercenary shapeshifter linked to Mindsweeper's death, as well as other super-powered people pursuing her. While I'd found the balance between action and characters to be a bit off for me in the previous issues (again, it's only a question of taste), this one works very well in my opinion.Kid Mischief and his lab partner
A new art team replaces Brian Ponce, the co-creator of the series, with Shaun Piela on pencils and Lynx Delirium (who also writes and draws a back-up with his own characters) on inks and colors. They give us more cartoony characters, who look a bit younger, and action scenes which work very well. I'm not completely convinced by the use of a gray background for the night fight scene, since it looks a bit dull to me, but otherwise, the colors are distinct and bring energy to the art, which is already quite alive.
This fifth issue is a success, with engaging art and the advance of the storyline around Mindsweeper's mystery death.
You can find where to buy this comic on the official site.


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Sunday, October 21, 2007
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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every part of you is familiar to me

Category: lesbian, slice-of-life.
Author(s): Kris Dresen.
Year of publication: 2007.


Every part of you is familiar to me is a collection of Kris Dresen's silent short comics and illustrations. A few years ago, I'd already written how much I liked her work, in my review of her Max & Lily strips; and here, she fully displays her interest in combining everyday stories and unusual storytelling.a page
With stories from one-pagers to a 30-page tale, Dresen presents the lives of women who love women, their meetings, their time together, with an obvious concern for realistic details and a use of nature, trees, leaves, etc. in her art which often takes on a metaphorical role. In fact, most of her strips have a poetic aspect which must not be underestimated, whether from their rythm or from the sparse story titles, which are the only words in this book save for the illustrations titles.
The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly Encounter Her, the 30-page novelette which ends this collection. It follows two women, and their dance around each other, from the first chance meeting to the beginning of something deeper, with lots of false starts and (temporarily) dashed hopes. It's moving, honest, and is yet another proof that Kris Dresen is a great storyteller.
Even though some of this material is available on the author's site, this beautifully printed (print-on-demand really has come of age!) 100-page book is not to be missed, and hopefully will be followed by more of the kind. Kris Dresen is currently working on Grace, a long graphic novel, and some shorter stories, all of which can be found at her website. You can purchase this book from the Lulu.com site.


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Saturday, October 20, 2007
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Aegean Tales

Category: erotica.
Author(s): Ian Hanks.
Year of publication: 2007.


Among gay erotic artists, a lot don't have much in print. Such is unfortunately the case with Ian Hanks, an artist who often works as an illustrator for HandJobs Magazine, a magazine focusing on gay porn age-gap stories. A few months ago, Handjobs published Aegean Tales, a pdf collection of short stories by Hanks, all set in Ancient Greece. For me, that's not as good as a print book, but it's already something.
I've long admired Hanks's work: he seems more in synch with classical European comics artists than American ones, and brings an aesthetic that would be at home with less explicit stories. I'd even say he's a worthy heir to Oliver Frey, an artist who left erotic art long ago, and who in my opinion was among the best artists I've known, erotic or not.A crowd scene
As you can see in the samples I'm showing you here (all come from the artist's site), his art is very dense, but also very clear, full of details but never cluttered. He's obviously done his best to recreate a believable environment, be it for clothes, architecture or any other visual aspect of the stories (for example with the friezes he draws on the title pages of the stories, in a style reminiscent of the red-figure Greek art). He also draws varied body types, from the slender, hairless twink to the meatier, hairy man. In fact, all those Aegean tales show (sexual) relationships with an age gap, straddling a line between historical realism and sexual fantasy. Which is fun.
As for the plots of the stories, they're rather thin: A post-coital discussiona boy goes to a man to become his ward--with benefits; a young man challenges an older man--but who's falling for whom?; two young men find a discussion of philosophy too boring and decide to spice it up, leading to a very large orgy; a young man is sent to the house of a champion to get him to come to his master's feast--and he's got some good arguments; a young slave in a pillaged city finds salvation thanks to an older slave...
As you can see, it's more about opportunities to show hot sex than anything else, which makes it an unapologetic porn comics collection. For me, what makes Hanks's comics unique is his depiction of the male human body: those men, younger or older, don't look like mainstream porn models all over-muscled, but rather like (admittedly very) cute guys. Oh, and the cocks aren't of the Tom of Finland size. That's another thing I like, but as I've often written here, I know other readers don't share my opinion on this matter.
I haven't decided whether the settings of the stories (in the paleastra, in a city being pillaged, etc.) are more than backgrounds to the sex scenes. In fact, I'd really like Ian Hanks to write longer stories, with fleshed-out characters and developping themes. I find his visual work as hot as it is exquisitely drawn, though. No question about that.
This pdf book can be bought online from the publisher's site.


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Saturday, October 06, 2007
Review update
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The Desert Peach: Afterdead 1.2


Author(s): Donna Barr.


coverIn this second 64-page collection of the Afterdead series, the Peach is still afterdead, and Pfirsich's new world keeps on making weird sense. Donna Barr's fictional gay brother of the WWII Desert Fox, back in a "real" world thousands of years after his first death, mixes with characters formerly from the author's other series, especially Stinz, the half-horse who's now been chosen for the breeding farms of his country (which is the right way of doing things in this army-run reality, where blood lines are extremely important). Stinz is absolutely terrified, and asks for Pfirsich's presence, leading to a situation where the Peach finally learns why "Nobody cares if you're gay", as it has been repeatedly pointed out to him since his arrival in the Afterdead world.
Most of the book follows our characters dealing more or less well with the sequence of operations which a "stallion"--as are called people (men or, now, half-horses) who are chosen for this honor--must follow to, uh, give for his country. And no, Stinz isn't expected to have sex with female half-horses. It's all done very scientifically...
Pfirsich enjoys being afterdeadTwo more stories complete this book: one showcasing the current Pope--he's rather different from the bigot we know--facing the breeding farm director to hilarious results, and another one of a young man becoming a kind of bride after being taken prisonner by a foreign tribe. I found the last one to be very disturbing, and I mean that as a compliment.
While the reader will get a lot of laughs out of all this, he'll also encounter very intelligent, no-holds-barred musings on gender roles, gay inclusiveness, and societal attitudes towards marriage and couples of all stripes. Donna Barr's stories have hardly been devoid of social commentary so far, but it seems to me that these stories manage extremely well to blend humor and what I see as a feminist point of view, with a unique weirdness that's never gratuitous.
This collection is available from Lulu.com.


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Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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In the Blink of an Eye #1

Category: erotica, fantasy.
Author(s): HvH.
Year of publication: 2007.


After an impressive collection of illustrations, HvH is back with the first issue of a series of short stories from Class Comics.
Let's be honest: I wasn't expecting more than fun, sexy stories with good art. What I got was, in fact, a trio of stories which are well-written and original, playing with reader's expectations and giving us far more than just guys having sex.
The first one concerns a man who falls in love with someone he hasn't seen, but only sucked through a glory hole; the second one shows a seemingly happy day for a gay couple, while the third gives us a pointed portrait of a man more in love with himself and his perfectly-muscled body (I guess he has limited tastes...) than with anybody else. All three take place in the real world, start with situations which are mostly clichéd by now, but use fantasy elements to full effect, often giving us a real pang, a sign of good writing if there's one.
It is also a pleasure to see that HvH is rather good at storytelling. His pages are dense, his layouts varied and solid, and his use of computer colors and textures add a lot to the atmosphere of his stories. I'm not showing interior art here, but you can see a trailer for the comic on the publisher's site. HvH also has a blog here, with lots of art for various projects.


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Thursday, October 04, 2007
Various news
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The Love book


Author(s): Matt Fagan.


The book coverMatt Fagan's Love strips have been among my favourites since I began reading them, first online, then in the mini-comics he's published. And now, the complete series (192 pages!) have been collected in a book published by Zero Cabinet (and sold on their site right now, before being more widely available), alongside a few new pages. Now, even people who don't feel like buying mini-comics don't have any excuse: get yourself some Love, you'll be grateful.
The author is working on two new stories, so more Jack and Pokie coming up. I couldn't be happier.


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