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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.

Vacation in Ibiza

A 58-page graphic novel, NBM/Eurotica, 2003.
Buy from Amazon.

Category: erotica, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Lawrence Schimel, Sebas.

Marek, Bernd, and a, hm, friend of his

What does one expect of a vacation in Ibiza? An endless supply of available men, I guess. Which is what Vacation in Ibiza is about, at first glance. But thankfully, Lawrence Schimel's story has more depth than that.

When Marek, a single gay guy, meets his friend Bernd for his first time in fabled Ibiza, he is soon torn between the large offer in possible partners, and his longing for a relationship. Bernd doesn't have such qualms, and he begins to make his way through all the European nationalities present on the island.

It's rather refreshing to see a graphic novel which doesn't flinch from showing men having sex, but where at the same time the eroticism is only part of the story. In other words, yes, we see lots of cocks, but the characters do have a life outside of sex. In fact, as in a lot of other gay fiction, sex and the web created by past, present and future sexual partners pervade the story, and enable the characters to secure their own territory within the larger, straight society.

Sebas's art conveys all of that very efficiently. His depiction of gay-filled Ibiza is very convincing, even though the percentage of well-built men is rather high. But the physical characteristics are varied (he does draw a Portuguese differently from a Norwegian), the backgrounds are well realised, and the storytelling is solid. He also draws sex quite matter-of-factly, which helps to give it its right place in the characters' lives.

Those lives, all linked together by the dynamics of group relationships, friendships and sex, are clearly shown only during the short time spent outside of their daily grounds. The fact that Bernd, who fucks around a lot, has a boyfriend back home whom he's obviously attached to, is a good example of that.
So, don't be fooled by the fact that Vacation in Ibiza is published in a collection dedicated to erotic/porn comics. I do hope that we'll have the opportunity of meeting those guys again. They're a welcome addition to the already large ranks of realistic gay people in comics.

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