Friday, February 14, 2014

The "Thickness" Anthology Series, Book 1

Love is in the Air
In honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would put up three articles today reviewing each issue of the erotic anthology "Thickness".

"Thickness" is an anthology series of erotic tales that sadly seems to be done as of its third issue that came out a some time ago (but will have a big collected edition before too long). I find it fascinating because it has some really awesome names doing art who are becoming quite popular among the indie-comic crowd, and even some of these folk are now achieving mainstream success. Note when I say erotic I'm talking about what could arguably be hardcore illustrated pornography if not for the fact I'd argue much of these stories would pass the popular "Miller Test".

Some of the contributors to these anthologies are getting quite well known, some have a few small-press works out, and others I had never seen till this series. With that in mind let's go through the three books in separate posts discussing each story contained within in as much or little detail as I feel the need to discuss. Do note there will be an absence of pictures a fair amount of time as I try to keep the website "safe for work/reading at the library/generally appropriate. Okay, that is all out of the way so let us begin!

Thickness #1

The first one released of the series with a cover by Jonny Negron, Thickness #1 contains one amazing story and another I quite enjoyed, along with two other totally fine tales and a short one-page strip at the end of the book.

The first story, "Breeding Season," by Katie Skelly is a silly tale of these two humanoid-type creatures on a fantastical island meeting up and, well, mating. It has a charmingly fun style that is extremely cute if lacking in much of a fancy plot. Skelly's book "Nurse Nurse" came out a bit ago to positive reviews and more can be learned about her here.
The opening to "Grandaddy Purple, Erotic Gameshow"

The next story is the one that is just awesome, "Grandaddy Purple, Erotic Gameshow." By Jonny Negron (whom I have discussed before), It feels like a grind-house flick put to ink between its hyper-stylized violent opening where two characters are taken out by a mysterious man whom is not named in the comic but Negron's website says is named, "Utu The Assassin." Utu fights and kills two men before landing through a sky-light into the game-show and being informed he has won an exotic prize behind the door of his choosing. There, he meets a woman drawn voluptuously--as is Negron's arguable specialty--and they proceed to have sex before at the end she stabs his strange face with scissors, apparently killing him in a black-widow-style fashion. Oh, and Utu has a snake-like tongue. The whole thing is beautifully illustrated by Negron with whites and purples (fitting the story's name) and its mixture of violence and sex creates a comic that reads like an exercise in joyous excess. It is really, really good. More about Negron can be found here.

Next up is, "Pearl Divers," a perfectly passable story of two woman having sex that takes the metaphor of a woman's genitals as a clam to the extreme in its symbolism. It is fun but kind of relies on nothing more than its one idea, leaving me feeling unimpressed. Zijian Shen does this story and more of her stuff can be viewed here.
The titular "Shadez"

The last full-story is the other one I was a big fan of and titled "Trap Shadez". I'm not exactly certain what the point of it is, but the surreal art-style by Derek Ballard is quite enjoyable and makes the comic quite the read. Between the strange aforementioned shades, weird tech-speak, and general insanity I really liked this. See more of Ballard's surreal stuff here.

There also is a short 1-page strip called, "True Chubbo" that reminds me of Johnny Ryan in its design and grossness. It makes a fine little ending to this issue even if it is wholly unremembered once the comic is closed. Once-weekly editions of the comic can be found here.

Overall I would give this issue a 4 out of 5 stars, with its mixture of excellent and decent stories.

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