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Saturday, 23 May 2009

In Review: Erotic Comics Volume 2

Picking up from where the international best-selling Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) left off, Ilex Press released Volume 2 by Tim Pilcher earlier this year, revealing how European, American and Asian artists have explored the possibility of the form in the years since the explosion of the Sixties’ underground comix.

This provocative title covers everything: the erotic comics explosion in America in the mid-1980s; the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender comics scene; UK and European erotic comic creators since the 1970s; and the Japanese hentai phenomenon. The future of erotic comics online is also explored in this fascinating and surprising volume.

Here, top erotic comics artist Mike Nicoll, creator of erotic strip Saffyre Blue and the (non-erotic) Ex Astris offers his comments on the title...

My first impression of this book was “Wow, this is a much classier and weightier (in all senses of the word!) production than I had expected.”

The fact that it begins with a lengthy foreword by Alan Moore indicates it is a volume to be taken seriously; production values are top of the range with pin-sharp reproduction of the numerous illustrations on high quality paper stock, elegantly bound and certainly fit for any coffee table one could imagine – as long as the vicar doesn’t call for tea that is, because the artwork within is, for obvious reasons, explicit.

Tim Pilcher has done a fantastic job in covering the subject, taking us from the heady, technicolour days of the 1970’s right up to the present with features on CGI strips and the internet, pausing frequently to highlight a range of creators who have made a significant impact on the genre.

As a fan of erotic comics I was already aware of the “usual suspects” whose work is presented – Serperi, Manara, etc. However, it is testament to the author’s research skills that there were also names I was not familiar with but, having seen their work, resolved to investigate further which, let’s face it, is half the fun of being a fanboy.

For those dipping into the waters for the first time this book is a great starting point – as with any genre there is good, bad and crap but the author has chosen the best of the best to highlight here. Art-wise, with stunning, rare, and seldom-seen art by the likes of Howard Cruse, Gengoroh Tagame, Melinda Gebbie, Hunt Emerson, Giovanna Casotto (whose work graces the cover, above), Milo Manara and many other top erotic cartoonists, you're treated to an examination of creators who are easily as good as Alex Ross, for example, but who, because of the subject matter and limited audience which the genre garners, are not as famous.

Anyone simply looking for good comic art, no matter what the genre, won’t go far wrong in following where this book leads.
Thanks to Mike for the review.

• Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) by Tim Pilcher, with additional research by Gene Kannenberg, Jr, and a witty and insightful foreword by Alan Moore is published by Ilex Press in the UK and by Abrams ComicArts in the USA

• Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) is published by Ilex Press in the UK, and Abrams in the USA, and is available now.

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