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Cover by Dave Davenport

Hard to Swallow

First issue of a 48-page anthology, Marginalized Publications/All Thumbs Press, 2006.
More about the second issue here.

Category: erotica, fantasy, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Dave Davenport, Justin Hall, BiL Sherman.
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From Justin Hall's pirate story

Dave Davenport and Justin Hall have published a rather handsome squarebound comic, with a color cardstock cover and thick interior pages. I don't know if it's Dave Davenport's tatoo job or Justin Hall's travelling that enables them to put money in their comic, but I'm glad they did.
This first issue of Hard to Swallow (I think they should do a companion book and call it Cock Robin) is a nice mix of fantasy sex scenes and real-life encounters.
Justin Hall opens the comic with the beginning of his Tales of Hard Roger, the dark story of a young guy who's been kidnapped by pirates who use him as the ship's whore. If that sounds like a fun setting for a porn story, that's because you haven't seen what Hall does with this: the gritty realism of his art adds a disquieting quality to the story itself, which isn't a simple erotic one. I found it almost too disturbing for my tastes. But I find it hard to stand realistic violence in fiction, so...
Hall's other contribution is far lighter, and in fact celebrates the power of sex: already included in Prism Comics's anthology Unsafe for All Ages, Birthday Fuck is the true story of a sex worker who finds himself hired by a woman to fuck her boyfriend. It's very hot, no small thanks to Hall's art, who draws realistic men and women with a lot of weight and sensuality.
Dave Davenport contributes three very different stories, with two in a fantasy setting: Feral shows a werewolf fucking a corpse in front of the corpse's skateboarding ghost. And it's as weird as it sounds. Davenport's art is a lot of fun, with manic energy exploding from the page. His second strip, Gigantic (also included in Unsafe for All Ages), pits Godzilla against King Kong. Sex on a large scale ensues. Drawn in a more cartoony style, this strip shows that interspecies love is possible, although highly destructive for the little human beings being trampled on. More likely, it shows that Dave Davenport likes to draw monsters having sex. Which is fun.
His third story, The Spirit of Folsom Street, is the autobiographical story of Dave in a biker bar during the leather fair, meeting for a brief moment the embodiment of the perfect manly man who dwells in these places. Using yet another style, this time more realistic if still nicely cartoony, Davenport is an artist whose work I'd definitely like to see more often.
There's also a guest contributor I'm very happy to see there: BiL Sherman, creator of the idiosyncratic series Wanky Comics (which I hope he'll finish someday), gives us Kind Buds Nugs - 5 Flowers, probably the cutest strip of the comic. Flowers being picked up by a large hairy guy are passed down from hands to hands following lays between equally large, hairy guys. Drawn in a far more simplified style than the ones Sherman had shown before, which reminds me of some Japanese bear art, this story has a really nice blend of hot sex and tender moments.

All in all, Hard to Swallow covers a lot of ground, sexually as well as visually speaking. Dave Davenport and Justin Hall have launched an interesting experiment. Let's hope we'll get a lot more issues of this title.

From Dave Davenport's bar story
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