Friday, January 29, 2016

Lost Girls Comic Reviews

by The World Weary

Authors: Alan Moore 
Illustrators: Melinda Gebbie
Publisher: Knockabout Comics
Genre: Comic Pornography
Series: Standalone

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Porno for Professors

Lost Girls is an extremely graphic exploration of sexuality that builds to insane levels of pornographic madness. Alan Moore was quoted as saying he wanted to bring some dignity to an otherwise cheap and notoriously lowball genre, and he succeeds. His literary prowess is still in top form, and Melinda Gebbie’s art is haunting and sometimes terrifying, while still managing to capture beauty. A strange read, certainly not for the conservative, Lost Girls is a opium and bodily fluid soaked trip.

Until recently, I always entertained the notion of a “classy” porno, and Playboy doesn’t count. Sure there are the big budget films like Pirates and its sequel, but those films were still little more than sex scenes strung together by a loose and mostly void plot. I wondered what it would be like if someone tried to bring some artistic merit to the genre, while still making a erotic spectacle. Well, Alan Moore, writer of Watchmen, had the same thought. The difference is, he put that thought into action.

Lost Girls follows three women on vacation at the grand Hotel Himmelgarten just before the onset of World War I. The first is the repressed Mrs. Potter, who arrives with her husband Mr. Potter to relax a little before he’s called off to continue designing ships for the Royal Navy. The second is Miss Fairchild, a strange and seemingly distant woman who is without husband in her old age. The third is the young Miss Gale, an American who is touring Europe to escape the drudgery of farm life. The three women become aquainted with one another and soon begin having wild lesbian affairs with one another. During their meetings, they all recount their earliest sexual experiences as they make love to one another, and it’s slowly revealed that Mrs. Potter is Wendy Durling of Peter Pan, Fairchild is Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Gale is Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. As their tales become more graphic and lurid, so too does the actions of the hotel staff and visitors, eventually leading to orgies and secret sexual rendezvous.

This book is wholly unafraid to tread taboo territory, especially in its retelling of the classic tales its characters hail from. Many scenes and characters from all three stories are changed or alluded to as a way of exploring the sexual identities of the three women. For instance, instead of the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy recounts an encounter with a particularly animalistic and hairy farm hand as a young girl. Naturally, the age of the characters in some of their stories has caused quite a bit of controversey. Many times the women tell stories from their early teens, and the art associated with them is no less graphic than the scenes set during their present. The book was banned in many areas for quite some time because of this. However, in spite of the graphic depictions of sexual acts between minors, the book carries a certain innocence with each scene that plainly explores the character’s lives through their escapades, elevating it above smut and cheap trash. These scenes are integral to the development of the story and aren’t as offensive as they may sound.

Aside from the tales of sex acts past, the book has a great number of erotic scenes set during the women’s occupation of the hotel. Many of these scenes vary in the acts they depict. From lesbianism, to male homosexuality, to bisexual orgies, to heterosexual couplings. The book does not turn a blind eye to any sexual preference and many of its characters often engage in more than one type of dance. In this respect the book is astoundingly progressive and never demeans any type of sexual preference, but instead shows what it is. Sometimes the book can be overwhelming in this respect, especially in the later chapters when clothes are forgotten and everyone is screwing, finishing each other, and finding a new friend. Yet, the book portrays these encounters as human nature and never falls into sexploitation territory.

Gebbie’s art is the perfect compliment to Moore’s deeply period style prose, and her art varies in style from chapter to chapter. She often highlights each woman’s story with a visual motif reminiscent of the original stories from each character. For example, Alice’s stories are often told through oval shaped panels, evoking the title of Through the Looking Glass. This art style shift is jarring in the beginning, but makes more and more sense as the book continues. Her effective use of watercolors and staccato brush strokes give the story a dreamlike feel. Somtimes the imagery becomes nightmarish (as the story necessitates) and towards the end, the inclusion of the vents that sparked the first World War and some of the subsequent violence is terrifying and will shock you.

If you are easily offended or squeamish when it comes to sex in it’s many forms, stay as far away from this as you possibly can. Many have compared it to the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom, and that comparison is just, as the book depicts acts ranging from fantasized bestiality to very real incest, with the acts growing in scale with each page turn. However, if you are interested in human sexuality, or even are just looking for a porn that is out of the ordinary trash that is produced, give Lost Girls a try. Its beautiful writing and art, and bold plot may surprise you.

Score: 8.5

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