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hat squeamishness you feel about cartoon porn probably has less to do with your parochial-school nuns than with all those Saturday mornings spent with Foghorn Leghorn. Sex in comics — that's the realm of adolescent misfits who spend prom night whacking off to Xena, right?
Fact is, drawings have long been used to open up dialogue about sex when words and photos feel uncomfortably real. Ancient Mayan erotic cave art doesn't look all that dissimilar from your sex-ed teacher's chalkboard stick figures.
In the comic anthology True Porn 2, a spectrum of illustrators knead their sexual issues into little boxed scenarios. Many of their stories have broad, relatable themes — the inherent discomfiture of a three-way, for example. But others are truly intimate, revealing more than most people could volunteer in real life. In "Jamie," a guy discovers that his childhood jerkoff partner has become a pre-op transsexual. In "Faking It", a woman's vulva infection puts her
|Click here for excerpts and a Q&A with editors Robyn Chapman and Kelli Nelson|
vagina permanently off-limits. Then there are lighter moments: the guy in "I Wish You Were Very Tiny" thinks better of dating a flea-sized woman when she slips into his urethra.
Surprisingly, genitals, bodily fluids and penetration shots are relatively rare, but when they do appear, they're rendered with unsettling realism: flaccid, graceless, and painful. All of the stories are said to be autobiographical, but this is no Penthouse Forum — if anything, you get the sense that these anecdotes are more flush with reality than you'd care to believe.
"Our definition of sex is pretty broad," says co-editor Robyn Chapman. "In fact, we don't even have one." Her partner, Kelli Nelson, agrees. "I'm the only person on the planet reading [X-Men comics] as the torrid, sex soap opera that they are."
That's debatable. There are probably armies of readers who experience comics the same way. Which is why True Porn is, contrary to common perceptions of what constitutes pornography, aptly named. If the anthology's illustrations lack the fantasy airbrushing that might make them a turn-on, they ring true on a level that live action often struggles to achieve. — Will Doig n°
To buy True Porn 2, click here. To buy True Porn, click here.
For more information, visit www.trueporncomic.com.
©2005 Will Doig and Nerve.com.