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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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05/27/2004 Archived Entry: "Comic Review: True Porn"

True Porn
Edited by Kelli Nelson and Robyn Chapman
Distributed by Alternative Comics
224 pages, $14.95
ISBN 189186758X

Reviewed by Laurel Sutton

Another APE purchase; I think this was the most expensive thing I bought that day. But it was well worth the money. First, though, I have to argue with the title – sure, it's catchy and daring and all, but heck, this isn't porn as I would define it: it's not the kind of stuff that makes you want to have sex right away, either by yourself or with someone else. In fact, the two stories in here that I would call porn – very detailed drawings of people fucking – come across as sterile and blasι. Boring. Not erotic. Not even emotional.

But that's what makes the rest of this collection so good – the artists understand that sex is hardly ever just sex, it's always intertwined with work, friendships, family, history. Sex just happens to be the hook for stories that range from comedy to tragedy and everything in between. There are 42 stories in here, too many to review all of them individually, so I'll just single out a few for special praise. "Vibro Fun", by Daddy D and Mari N. Schaal, is a hilarious little story about a guy who wants to make his girlfriend happy, and contains the immortal line "I know if I had a vibrator sitting around the house for six months it would sure find its way into MY ass". Aaron Renier's "Where You Going Star" recreates the giddy experience of finally making out – and nothing more – with a teenage crush. "Notes From a Porn Tent", drawn by Cole Johnson like he's channeling Chester Brown through Adrian Tomine, is the story of one boy's elaborate plan to watch ten minutes of his first porn film on his parents' VCR. (It was all about hiding it back then, wasn't it?). And "Rabbit", by Elijah J. Brubaker, is a sweet and sad look at old flames and what you have to do to make the pain stop.

I would like to conclude this review with an open letter to Steve MacIsaac, who contributed my favorite piece to this collection, "Waiting for the Bus". Dear Steve: You so rock. I want to thank you personally for this story, and in particular for the middle panel on page 141, if you know what I mean and I think you do. I am so impressed with the way you spin this narrative into two stories that are perfectly contrasted through the art, the subtle ways in which you convey the alternate history, and the bitter yet clear-eyed voice of the narrator. Jeez. Stories about discovering one's true sexuality are easy to find, and so are the what-might-have-been tales, but the way you put them together in this piece was deeply powerful. This story turned me into a fangirl. I even forced Ginger to give me her copy of Boy Trouble #5 so I could have your story "Fucking, Desperate". Everyone needs to know how good you are.

Replies: 1 Comment

I even forced Ginger to give me her copy of Boy Trouble #5 so I could have your story "Fucking, Desperate".

Anything for you, Laurel, and it was in the same year as your birthday or something. I'd finished my review of Boy Trouble, #5, so it could go have a a good home with you. Yay for APE swag!

Posted by Ginger @ 05/29/2004 06:47 PM PST

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