Month of LGBT Comics – Teleny and Camille
All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books with LGBT themes (LGBT standing for “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender”), based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here is an archive of the comics featured so far!
Today we take a look at Jon Macy’s exquisite graphic novel adaptation of the 19th century gay erotic novel, Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal, which was allegedly written by Oscar Wilde and friends of Wilde.
This is the story about a wealthy young man named Camille in Victorian London (different translations have the novel set in France – this version is set in London) who meets an entrancing young pianist named Teleny.
Almost instantaneously, the two men form a bond between themselves that goes beyond just attraction, but more into telepathy. That is how much they are tied together.
It’s a fascinating inter-relation, and Macy handles it spectacularly with his moody, evocative artwork. Here, from sample pages courtesy of the publisher, Northwest Press, is that first meeting….
Quite well handled by Macy, no?
The bond becomes a bit of a curse as Camille finds himself connected to Teleny as the latter knows carnal embrace with not only another man but with another woman (Macy handles the specific act of sex between Teleny and the woman particularly well, as we see Teleny try to imagine Camille to muster up the gusto, as it were, to do the deed. Expertly expressive work by Macy).
When their relationship begins, the pair embark on an epic romance, but like pretty much every epic romance, there’s is not a smooth one.
In fact, on that note, one of the odder parts of the book is when Macy decides to provide an alternate ending to the story. It stands out – and not really in a good way (think Friar Laurence bursting in right before Romeo takes the poison, “No! Romeo, don’t! She’s just faking!!” “Phew, that almost went really poorly!”). I certainly concede Macy’s critique about how classic gay dramas tended to end is a good one, but I don’t think giving an alternate ending is really the way to go about making that critique.
Still, that’s a minor concern in an otherwise excellent work. Macy’s artwork is really beautiful and his skills of adaptation are exemplary.
Do note, though, that there is a LOT of graphic sexual acts in this comic. I think they all serve the story very well, but the fact remains that there is a LOT of graphic sex.
You can read more about this adaptation (including more preview pages and where to buy it) here.