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Monday, March 1, 2010

For the collector: Alan Moore's Lost Girls

There’s porn and then there’s erotica, and which is which is definitely tied more to who you are and what you like than any objective standard. Some say it’s only porn if you have your dick in your hand – but that covers a lot of territory, especially for some people. Erotica can be hung in a museum and paid a lot of money for, or bound in leather and paid a lot of money for, or released in an exclusive collector’s edition DVD box set and paid a lot of money for, whereas porn is cheap, if not free, these days.

But there are places where the two overlap – where the possession of a piece of porn is artful enough by design to be erotica. One such case is the divinely illustrated Lost Girls trilogy, in which comic book icon Alan Moore (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V For Vendetta, The Watchmen, From Hell, Swamp Thing, et. Al.) scripts a delightfully dirty examination of the sexuality of three fairy-tale heroines (Wendy, from Peter Pan, Dorothy, from the Oz books, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland) at different phases of their life, all meeting by happenstance at an Austrian hotel on the eve of WWI.

I couldn’t do it justice to describe the tale in detail – the art is a gorgeously rendered, simply drawn sensual explosion like an erotic opium dream by Melinda Gibbie, and Alan Moore’s language makes love to your brain – but it warrants a firm “Check It Out!” as one of the erotic artistic high points of this brave new century. It also warrants a warning for the sexually conservative: the tale isn’t completely “sex positive”, it’s unabashedly dirty. There are strong and suggestive themes of coercive sex and sex with children, but considering the context and the masterful presentation such issues are expository, not exploitive. There is a heavy element of fantasy, here, both sexual and mythic; those who believe that sexual impulses spring full-formed from your groin when you turn 18 and not before will be disappointed.

Whack to it or put it on your coffee table, this is a must-have piece of erotic literature for the serious collector.

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