Literotica #1

Posted: Tuesday, November 7, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Literotica #1

Creator: James Hitchcock and Joe Willy
Publisher: Red Flag Publishing (Self Published)
Address: 2998 W. Cloverdale Rd, Delton, MI, 49046, USA.
Price: $2(US)

Fairly interesting and dare I say it, titillating, title this, Literotica. The cover lays this titles intentions out fairly clearly, a garish purple colour and an outline drawing of a naked woman fondling her breasts, and I’m thinking, “oh dear.”

The opening paragraph of the introduction reinforces this initial visual impression.
“This book is the culmination of years of conversations during visits to strip joints by writer James Hitchcock and artist Joe Williams a.k.a. Joe Willy.” And I’m thinking, “oh dear, oh dear.”

It carries on, “While feeding an endless supply of singles to nubile young woman willing to press their breasts into their faces for just a buck [that’s gotta be the best value for a dollar in the world today], Hitchcock and Williams discussed their mutual admiration for erotic entertainment.” And I’m thinking , “oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”

So as I started to delve into this 17 page comic I had a fairly strong idea of what I was going to find within. Words like ‘voyeuristic’, ‘grubby’, ‘plastic raincoats’ and ‘tragic’ sprang to mind.

Literotica consists of three ‘chapters.’ The first 14 pages are a comic story titled •A cup of Coffee. This is followed by a two page prose short story titleExpress Elevator, and we finish with two poems and a photograph. Nice range then, and I would have to say that the speed with which I classified this comic as a grubby little bit of fantasising by a couple of ‘pervy’ blokes was a little hasty and unfair.

The main story is made up of a mere 15 frames, so most of the pages consist of a single large frame with narrative, 6 of those frames are of a naked woman. And it is really very good. Essentially the story is about a man trying to come to terms with a lost love. The rawness of his loss is captured extremely well and, much to my surprise, with incredible sensitivity. As he sits and drinks his coffee his mind drifts back to the glory of his lost love’s body and the beauty of their love making. The naked images are the pictures he conjures up in his mind and serve as a stark contrast to the images we are presented with that are placed in the real world that he inhabits. The final frame is the most effective example of this as we leave our narrator alone, lonely and still desperately in love with his lost love. The art work is deliberately blurry throughout and this enforces the dream like quality that prevails. It also means that there is almost an idealised, dreamy ‘David Hamilton’ thing going on in the presentation of the female form.

I was taken by surprise and was ultimately impressed and almost moved by the way the words worked in conjunction with the images to tell a powerful and sad story. In the end it is not an offensive little grubby tale but a sadly touching and quite beautiful one about loss.

The prose story is a well written two pager about frantic sex in an elevator. The climax is built to [ I can’t believe I just wrote that] and it really is quite a breathless ride [in oh so many ways] but I’m not sure that the reader is prepared for the climax sufficiently, I’m not sure the twist is explained sufficiently. All I do know is that I will ride elevators with some nervousness in the future. The poems are fine as well, if you like verse descriptions of sex that is.

Overall then the story that takes up most of this thin volume is a delightful surprise. The words are well chosen, the images effective and well drawn. Is this really the result of visiting strip clubs?

Oh and of course the back cover is of a woman’s bum.

In a Word: Unexpected

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