As soon as I heard that one of my favourite online artists Noora Heikkilä was going to be contributing a short comic to an erotica anthology, well, I would be lying if I said I didn’t mash the support button on that Kickstarter page immediately. When it arrived I was delighted to see the beautiful cover with metallic lettering and couldn’t wait to set some time aside to read it. A note though, this review will definitely be talking about sex in an explicit way, there will be links to NSFW websites, so if this is not for you, please stop reading now.
“My Monster Boyfriend” edited by C. Spike Trotman is a collection of short graphic erotic stories. Each story is centred around the theme of a male object of desire being some kind of monster ranging from gargoyle to satyr to shapeshifter and, of course, even to vampire. There are some high profile contributors to this book including the artist behind Oglaf and the artist behind the wonderful Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal. Every story has diverse characters and unique settings, especially the vampire story, the shapeshifter story, the harpy story and the story with the dark, shapeless creature.
Before we go any further, I would like to make a note that graphic novel erotica is really my medium of choice (next being erotic literature). I enjoy the art and I enjoy the frame-by-frame format that allows you to both be guided and use your imagination.
First, on the art quality of “My Monster Boyfriend”. There is no doubt, the art throughout this volume is beautiful. There were only one or two out of the ten that didn’t grab me and I overall, I was very impressed. Next, the sex. Every story in this collection is a celebration of sex positivity, enthusiastic consent and showcases characters of diverse race, gender, body type and sexuality. There were 4 male/female stories, 4 male/male stories, one male/gender diverse story and one male/agender story. These stories definitely demonstrate that there is more than one way to have sex and that it is critical that both partners are not just willing but eager. I think it’s important to note that not everyone will be into every single story in this book. Whatever genders involved, the sex depicted is graphic and as much as some people may not be into heterosexual penetrative sex, others may not be into the other kinds of sex depicted. Although I appreciate that this anthology is called “My Monster Boyfriend” for a reason, I did feel a bit as though female/female or female/trans sex was missing from this collection.
Anyway, some stories definitely hooked me more than others. Although Clutch involved the least human “monster”, it was nevertheless very compelling with plenty of cultural and LGBTIQ insight as well as having a twisty plot. Lonesome Palace was quite a beautiful and sad story in its own right and the sex seemed more incidental rather than central to the story. Nebula and Spoilsport were both very entertaining and a nice reminder that sex can and should be fun and funny. I thought Nebula in particular got the balance right between being sexy yet full of positive communication. Thirsty Work was a sweet love story that highlighted the importance of trust and negotiation in relationships. I think in terms of the one I found to be the sexiest, it would have to be A Winged Man Flew Into the Shed. I felt like this one really had the best of both elements: an interesting and immersive premise and exactly the right amount of sexual tension.
Overall, a fun, inclusive collection that I enjoyed flipping through.