Erotic Gay Comics - Superman Never Looked This Good!
One of our housemates on a recent trip to San Francisco brought with him a gay erotic comic book and tossed it onto the coffee table of the apartment our group had rented. Leafing through it, I was startled by the well executed drawings and the imaginative gay sci-fi text. I decided not to ask its owner if he read it while masturbating but I am inclined to think that many folks use these comics as sexual spurs. Why not? Safe sex couldn't get much hotter!
When gay comics writer Dale Lazarov, sent me his just released "Nightlife", I contacted him with some questions about the genre.
FT: Is this a recent phenomenon or has it been alive and produced over many years?
DL: Gay erotic comics have been around at least since the 1950s -- physique pictorial magazines used to run Tom of Finland and Etienne pin-ups and comics. Homoerotic illustration's been around for much longer than that. :) My publisher, Bruno Gmünder Verlag, best known for the Spartacus gay guides, started a line of gay erotic comics in hardcover a few years ago and I was lucky to catch their interest.
FT: Who buys them?
DL: Gay men and the women who love them. :) The chic format and the quality of the gay erotic comics I write really clicks with folks looking for something beyond what you get from, say, Josman. Even straight guy book reviewers get what's appealing about it: a combination of carnality and sweetness in the stories and characters. Several straight graphic novel critics, most recently Tim Young of Deconstructing Comics, described my comics as master classes in comics storytelling. And my first two books are in special collections of graphic novels at universities.
FT: How are they circulated?
DL: "Circulated" sounds like you think my books are unspeakable texts passed around in secret! I can tell you my books are distributed by all the major bookstore distributors. Usually, you can find them in big city independent bookstores and in gay bookstores. Borders carried MANLY last year so it had an even bigger push in its favor. My publisher tells me, though, that most of our sales come from online booksellers.
FT: The one you sent me features safer sex. In gay comics, is there the same argument that is raging between bare backing/safe sex in the video world?
DL: Not that I am aware of.
FT: Who produces these comics? Are they otherwise successful mainstreamers who are doing this clandestinely?
DL: You should check out The Gay Comics List ( http://gaycomicslist.free.fr/ ) to see the diversity of gay comics, erotic or otherwise, being produced by comics creators. I do not know any "succesful mainstreamers" doing comics clandestinely.
FT: What are the popular websites where one might find these?
I suspect my questions make it obvious that I didn't know much about gay erotic comments. This despite the fact that I own the big-as-a-bed complete works of Tom of Finland. I've now looked through several different offerings by a variety of artists and writers. I'm happy to report that "Nightlife" is one the most elegant and its stories stirred me. Dale, I won't be deleting the PDF you sent me! Feel free to send me more!