Let me start by saying that I am by no means a porn aficionado.
I do however happen to know a thing or two about stigmatizing pastimes and preoccupations as I happen to have a passion that much of the mainstream US would consider an “inappropriate” vice for an adult male – I love comic books. I always have.
In actuality, the stigma associated with comic books is the reason the terms “graphic art” and “graphic novel” even exist in the US English lexicon. They are an attempt to help legitimize the medium. Calling graphic art and/or novels simply “comics” harkens too much to the Sunday Funnies and does a disservice to the actual social commentary that these media can provide.
Comic books offer a unique space for an artist that exists somewhere between novels (where the reader is asked to completely recreate, in their own mind, the vision of the author) and movies (where the whole of the artistic vision is laid out before viewers in both sight and sound). The greatest single example I can give to a “non-believer” is the graphic novel WE3. This seminal work tells so much of its story through the images it conveys – the narrative could never have been achieved through a traditional novel, yet the paneling and the pace make it infinitely more powerful and poignant then any linear, two hour Hollywood treatment could be.
Now if you’ve made it this far, you’ve no doubt started to wonder how this relates to porn, as PVV’s mission is after all about shedding light on the world of adult production. Well…
The answer is simple: there are many different types of pornography, each appealing to its own specific target audience; and I’ve been asked by the esteemed Dr. Chauntelle to review the graphic comics contained in the annual hardcore adult publication, Sleazy Slice (issue #4 specifically).
Now, before I begin my actual review, I must make one additional point about the overlap between the worlds of comics and porn. You see, in both comics and porn, the sub-genres strive to deliver the main payoff that the overall art form is designed for in a package that best suits the needs/desires of its specific audience. This is at least part of the reason why there are so many different “types” of porn.
Comic books function in much the same way. You have your most basic “strip” comics (think Garfield and Marmaduke), old standards like Archie, adaptations of literary classics like Don Quixote or Moby Dick, the ever expanding superhero genre (anchored by comic powerhouses like DC and Marvel), and even comics that attack larger social issues like the Pulitzer Prize winning Maus. However, one thing remains the same, these examples of graphic sub-genres should (at their best) try to utilize their unique strengths as an individual art form to add something to the overall experience.
In this respect, Sleazy Slice ultimately fails.
With only a couple of exceptions, which I will touch on later, the content of this magazine (which contained eight individual stories) seemed to derive very little value from being a comic book. While the art varied tremendously, the paneling was almost without fail a frame by frame (box by box) layout. This means that the pacing of every single story, no matter how different the actual story (from rouge alien penises to Amazon/Demon sex to divine masturbation), was exactly the same.
In other words, imagine if 127 Hours (2010) was directed by Michael Bay or Zack Snyder instead of Danny Boyle. The entirety of the film would consist of a five minute graphic scene of James Franco’s character sawing his arm off. No build up. No anticipation. Just an immediate jump to what delivered the biggest bang!
(pictured: big bang banana)
I’d like to think that the artist’s intentions were somewhere above that of grade-schoolers doodling dirty pictures on the back of a notebook; however (and unfortunately), most of the magazine feels hamstrung by the fact that they HAVE to include as much graphic content as possible. Thus, as soon as they start to tell a story everything immediately gets overlaid with buckets of overtly sexual, and somewhat childish, depictions of sex, violence, and gore.
Now don’t get me wrong – this is very likely exactly what the target audience is looking for (which is all well and good); however, it brings almost nothing to the actual artistic medium. For the $6 cover price, I can’t imagine that this audience wouldn’t be better served (and much more entertained) going out and renting one of the countless Hentai DVD’s on the market that cater to the same fetishes.
With that said, I will point out that there were two exceptions within the collection: El Favorito by David Paleo had a unique and very compelling layout, and the one shining example of what could be possible in the medium was The Men’s Room by Robin Bougie. This story was interesting, humanizing, and managed to achieve good pacing (even if it was just box to box panels). Best of all, it possessed enough of a point/moral to provoke some thought both during and after the read.
Ultimately, the content in Sleazy Slice #4 is simply not my particular brand of vodka; and truth be told, I’ve almost never met a comic book I didn’t like.
– Art Bizarro
Art Bizarro – A man of refined and sometimes seemingly incongruous proclivities, Art Bizarro is a comix aficionado, an ever-developing martial artist of the highest caliber, and a lover of good vodka. As his avatar implies, he is also somewhat elusive – if you need to get ahold of him, contact Dr. Chauntelle. She knows the way.
…and why not enter this month’s Screener Surprise? Fight piracy, get porn!!