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Sticky Graphic Novels Review

This past fall, Dale Lazarov launched a new line of graphic novels called Sticky Graphic Novels. Lazarov is the art director for the project, so he basically plots all of the graphic novels, which follow in the footsteps of Lazarov’s acclaimed gay erotic graphic novels. These are wordless, character-based, sex positive graphic novels (with lots of sex in them, so don’t go visiting the website for the company unless that’s what you’re looking to see). I’ll give a quick overview of the initial three graphic novels from the line.

Greek Love is the banner image for this piece. It is about two Greek warriors who get their hearts pierced by Eros’ arrow, causing them to fall in love (or at least lust) with each other. Eventually, Eros gets jealous and joins in himself. Adam Graphite drew the issue from Lazarov’s script and it is pretty much exactly what you would expect from the banner image above. Two muscular warriors have a lot of sex. And then Eros joins in and then have some more sex. Graphite has an interesting Adam Hughes-esque style to his work. His colors are quite lush, as well. Lazarov and Graphite certainly come up with a number of interesting ways for these two warriors to go at each other.

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Peacock Punks is about a rainy night causing five “punks” to decide to spend the night indoors and, you know, inside each other. This is just a playful book filled with group sex involving a bunch of uniquely designed guys. Mauro Mariotti and Janos Janecki do a fine job on the artwork and Lazarov’s script is perhaps the best example of a “sex positive” story in these three works, as you can truly see how much he embraces the FUN aspect of this endeavor with this story.

fastfriendscover

Of the three books, I enjoyed Fast Friends the most, which is by Lazarov and artist Michael Broderick. Of the three books, it is the one with the most depth, story-wise. However, I certainly can’t speak as to your specific interests. The other two books have more sex in them, so if that’s what you are looking for, then fair enough, perhaps you’ll dig the other books more. This one, though, while still having its fair share of sex, has a lot more non-sex pages in it than the other two, as it is about two men who find themselves at odds with their respective partners and after a chance meeting on a snowy night, they discover not just each other, but a better relationship than what they had before. To pull this all off without dialogue is quite a feat, and Lazarov’s script and Broderick’s character work makes it work well. I think it makes the sex pay off all the more so through the lead-up to it all, and the emotions connect a bit better as a result.

Once again, you can check out the full line (including links to purchase the books) here.

9 Comments

I own the first two in hardcover, and they fantastic. For books with no dialog, there is still a lot of subtext to be had, owing to Lazarov’s scripting for his artists. It’s also nice to have gay comics out there that don’t follow the tired and problematic tropes of the yaoi genre, which is the only kind of gay-interest graphic novels carried in my area. Thank goodness for the internet.

Hmm. Not my thing, but good luck to them. I think going wordless for erotic comics is probably a smart thing. I think that’s part of what made Chester 5000 by Jess Fink work so well.

Plus, you don’t have to pay those money grubbing letterers, either. Bloodsuckers! ;)

These are great books. The art is crisp in all of them. The varied styles mean you’re never going to be bored. The body types range from fantasy to very real. It is a refreshing change from word ballooned thought bubbles that clutter the pages and read like the worst kind of porn there is. All of these stories, and I have them all, have some element of joy and desire in them. There is no rape to lovers lie in any of them, there is no androgyny, these are real men, enjoying other men to their fullest. i love how they let the reader add dialogue in their mind. I realize for some that’s hard work, but any intelligent human who enjoys their sex uninhibited and without shame would love these stories. I love when a writer and an artist trust the audience enough to not have to tell them what to feel or think. They just present the story and let you go along for the ride.
If wordless it isn’t your thing, no worries. There are plenty of other books out there (of much lower graphic quality) that will tell you what you’re seeing.

Glad to see Dale getting reviewed on here, I did a long podcast with him not too long ago (not sure if this is allowed lol)http://thegravyage.com/2015/11/23/gravy-on-the-side-0004-dale-lazarov/

Just curious, having read neither, what’s the difference between these and some of the work by Jim Balent that’s widely derided as being puerile? It sounds like the last one recommended has a bit more depth, but the others seem to be on a similar scale and tone, at least from afar. But maybe that they thought “Sticky” was a mature name for the line clouds it a little.

Hey, M-Wolverine! I am unfamiliar with Balent’s work so I cannot explain us by comparison. Besides, comparisons are always unfair; like with any work of art, so much happens in the relationship between the object and the gaze of the viewer. That said, this is is Sticky Graphic Novels’ mission statement as an imprint which should give you a sense of what we are up to:

• Our gay character-based graphic novels give a context of relatedness to the sexuality—romantic, intimate, congenial, playful, raucous, etc.—depending on the story, and offer a diversity of men that opens the conversation for what’s attractive and/or masculine and/or sexy, instead of limiting it to narrow types and tropes for gender performance.

• The bodies, while still erotically-exaggerated, are within human possibility.

• They are affirmative and cruelty-free without being cheesy or tame.

• The work is beautiful and well-crafted, as sequential and illustrative art, not just as gay sex-positive comics.

• Because they are wordless, Sticky Graphic Novels allow the reader to participate in the story by filling in the gaps between the panels and the dialogue and captions they lack because they are wordless comics.

• The comics show the sexuality and relationships happen in a social and cultural context rather than alienated from it.

The short version of this mission statement is Sticky Graphic Novels’ tag line: #smart #wholesome #homosexy :)

By the way, the imprint is titled “Sticky Graphic Novels” because our first book was titled *Sticky* and comics has a tradition of naming the company after their first successful title.

M-Wolverine –

I dunno if that makes any difference, but my problem with Balent and others of his ilk is that they include a soft porn sensibility in superhero comics that were not written as erotic and it comes across as insincere and puerile. I would have a lot less problem with them if they were upfront about creating a soft porn story. :) Actually writing a story about Catwoman having sex with several partners would be more interesting and brave than disguising porn as an adventure story.

But I get a bit of what you’re saying. I am as liberal as they come, but sometimes it bothers me, particularly in very feminist websites, that celebrate people ogling sexy people when it’s women ogling men, women ogling women, or men ogling men, but when it’s men ogling women it’s oppressive and patriarchal, etc. And I actually agree with their rationale that there is a serious imbalance and that most things involving sexiness are geared towards straight males and it’s cool to have stuff appealing to other publics. But yeah, sometimes men enjoying sexy women is demonized a bit.

I don’t really have any problem with either, just wondering if something worthy of recommendation was overall just better quality than stuff that is dismissed. I think inappropriate places like Catwoman ripe for criticism, but I think I only learned that something like Tarot by Balent existed was by someone making fun of how crazy/dumb it was on here. (Probably comments, not article itself).

It seems like all harmless fun, and the mission statement seems good, so I don’t mind. It just seems like this is not very deep good fun, but like things maybe don’t get just blown off like that. But good luck to them. There’s room for all sorts of tastes on the stands.

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Dude, I am right here — no need to talk like I am not in the room. :-D

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