Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Advance Review: "Dirty Panties," is a Fascinating Examination of Sex, Commerce, and Relationships

Editions Tanibis is a French publisher who releases a number of their books in English. This November they will be publishing an English-language version of, "Dirty Panties," or in the original French, "Roxane Vend Ses Culottes." The graphic novel follows a young Parisian named Roxane. Her life is dull besides the occasional hook-up or enjoying hanging out with her roommate and she's low on cash. When she notices an ad for selling panties online she jumps at the opportunity and starts to meet all kinds of interesting men and women. Things only get stranger the longer she keeps at her new business.

Written and illustrated by Maybelline Skvortzoff, "Dirty Panties," is a superb read. There is the personal element of seeing Roxane dealing with everyday life (an angry ex, a mother who clearly has some issues) and balancing, "Real life," with the persona she has created for customers who buy her panties or make other requests when she meets up with them (from relatively benign appeals to mop a house in her underwear to much more esoteric endeavors). The idea of how having economic means makes it easier to--in essence--dominate others is a theme. A rich client of Roxane's makes it pretty hard to say, "No," to demands that get increasingly more bizarre and morph into veiled threats as he hands over envelopes stuffed with cash. There is much to consider here about social status, finances, and control over others.

Skvortzoff's art fits everything perfectly. The people Roxane meets all look so different from those who might fit the stereotype we'd conjure of the kind of person who buys used panties. It is fitting how the seemingly unassuming and formal folks we see are actually the kinkiest--don't judge a metaphorical book by its cover, in other words. Another nice touch with the artwork is when Roxane is trying various substances (she likes everything from alcohol to weed and harder stuff) the imagery gets all distorted and weird, portraying to us readers just how disjointed and off she might be feeling.

"Dirty Panties," is a stupendous graphic novel and I'd highly recommend checking it out once the English translation is available in stores this coming November. It manages to be both a thoughtful personal tale and a meditation on the economics of sexuality. A fantastic book!

5 out of 5 stars.

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