Tag Archives: erotica

(Adults Only) Whisper Grass

Short queer erotic graphic novel tie-in to roadtrip comic series

Content warning: sexual themes, drug use

After recently Marie Kondoing a significant amount of my house, and subsequently donating a LOT of books, I have had a bit more space to think about my remaining book collections including my graphic novels. I really enjoy graphic novels, and a lot of books in my collection are physical copies of a series that has become popular as a webcomic. I realised that I actually have some unfinished collections in some series, including a brilliant webcomic called “The Less than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal“. I recently ordered the third volume in the print edition (the webcomic is free to read online), and I had a little niggle in my memory that there had been a limited edition mini-comic that the author had released. I remember not being able to get one of the limited print copies, but a quick search through my files showed that I had managed to buy an eBook copy from the publisher. It is now December, and the clock is ticking to hit my reading goal for the year, so I thought I’d finally read this little comic.

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“Whisper Grass” by E. K. Weaver is an erotic graphic novel about two young men, TJ and Amal, who are on an road trip together after meeting in a bar. Amal has to make it across the country to his sister’s graduation after coming out to his traditional family, and TJ has offered to cover costs if Amal does the driving. Amal is a med student while TJ lives a rather itinerant lifestyle, however despite their differences, the two bond during their journey together. One evening, the pair stay at a motel room and after attempts to buy some drinks are unsuccessful, share a smoke of weed together instead.

This is a fun and warm vignette where a casual evening of Amal and TJ hanging out together becomes something more intimate. Weaver is very keen on characterisation and mood, so while this is an erotic comic, the focus is still very heavily on the emotional connection between the two characters. In the author’s own words, “Sometimes people ask me why most of the sex scenes in TJ and Amal fade to black, get cut short, or are off-camera entirely. The answer is showing those encounters wouldn’t have moved the plot forward, explored the characters’ personalities, or added any substance to the story. In short, those sex scenes were unnecessary. Here’s something unnecessary.” I think that the decision to offer this as a standalone comic separate to the main series was a good decision. Although it is perhaps a little unnecessary, this comic is full of tenderness, humour and enthusiastic consent and complements the main series really well.

If you, like me, fell in love with TJ and Amal, this is a light-hearted and enjoyable edition to a fantastic webcomic series that only adds to our understanding of these two complex characters.

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(Adults Only) The Veiled Woman

Literary erotica by classic author

Content warning: sexual themes

A friend of mine has been introducing me to some feminist classics recently and bought me a copy of this book. I of course had heard of the author, probably most memorably through Jewel’s track “Morning Song“, which actually would be quite a nice accompaniment to this book. However, I have never read any of her work before, so again, thank you Kendall for continuing to expand my literary horizons.

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“The Veiled Woman” by Anaïs Nin is a small collection of erotic short stories. There are four stories in total and each one features young, accomplished characters who find an opportunity to explore their secret fantasies.

The interesting thing about this book is that although it is without a doubt intended to be erotic, it is incredibly literary. Nin writes with a delicate subtlety, relying on suggestion and inference to quickly build tension. Three of the stories are told from the perspective of women and one from the perspective of a man. The stories are quite playful, some with an unexpected twist or turn. Nin explores lesbian sex (Mandra), anonymous sex (Linda), voyeurism (Marianne) and power play, often placing one (or more) woman in a position of control and highlighting the strength and importance of female sexual desire. The stories were originally written in the 1940s and Nin without a doubt can be credited as a trailblazer for women in this genre. All of the encounters are very much consensual and the women are all very active participants.

It is a bit hard to critique erotica because it is a genre, like horror, that is designed to elicit a particular response. I think something can be well-written, but not necessarily good erotica, or vice versa. Of course, there is plenty of erotica out there that is poorly written and bad erotica (which, interestingly, seems to be awarded almost exclusively to men – though reading and writing erotica is of course very gendered). Although Nin is clearly an exceptional writer, and although these stories are obviously intended to be erotica, Nin lingers on the social detail of the stories and like your average novel, sex seems to be almost more a part of the story rather than the point. I think any erotic story needs to be a balance of the physical and the psychological. Nin’s stories in this collection perhaps teeter a little far on the side of psychological and could have done with a bit more lingering on the physical.

A book that was certainly incredibly risque for its time with exceptional writing, what it perhaps lacks in sexiness it definitely makes up for in compelling characters and scenarios. A very short book that is worth a read just for the historical value.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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(Adults Only) My Monster Boyfriend

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.

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“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.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Graphic Novels