Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Warning: this post contains (possibly inaccurate) SPOILERS. But then I doubt that anyone will be reading Lost Girls for the plot.

Nearly all the articles and reviews I've seen of Lost Girls, Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's high-concept pornographic comic, have been rapturous (but see here for an exception (via When Fangirls Attack)). I'll admit I was predisposed against it, for several reasons. First, I'd read the two issues that came out in comic-book form, and I thought that they were bad comics and bad porn. Second, I haven't cared much for any of Moore's ABC stuff that I've seen. But while Moore's comics have gotten worse, his interviews have gotten more and more pretentious. (I much prefer Moore the craftsman to Moore the shaman.) Third, the extraordinary amount of pretension and hype surrounding Lost Girls itself, from the packaging to the promotion to Moore's claims that it will revolutionize pornography, led me to perversely want to see it fail.

But the aforementioned rapturous reception did arouse my curiosity. And a few days ago I got a chance to partially satisfy this curiosity, thanks to a display copy Chicago Comics had behind the desk. I only looked at it for a couple of minutes, since I didn't want to linger too long over a seventy-five dollar book I quickly decided I wouldn't buy, especially with the store personnel right in front of me. But I did flip through volume three, reputedly the filthiest of the volumes. The main impression I got was that all three protagonists were molested or gang-banged as children or teens, and that's why they turned out as they did (i.e. lusty lesbians or bisexuals).* If this is representative of Moore's deep insights into sexuality, or of his kinder, gentler pornography, I'm unimpressed.

To his credit, Moore has been forthright in stating that Lost Girls is pornography. Most of the articles and reviews I've seen, while dutifully reporting Moore's words, have basically ignored them. (This is an exception, though.) Some have even claimed that nobody will masturbate to it, which is absurd. But my impression was that the book is clearly hardcore pornography. It's not just that it's full of uncensored pictures of penises, vaginas, penises going into vaginas and mouths, and (I presume, though I don't recall actually seeing any) mouths on vaginas; but that these images are drawn in a pornographic way. I can't fully explain what gave me that impression, but if you were to compare the sex scenes in the third volume of Lost Girls to Audrey Beardsley or Picasso's erotic drawings on the one hand, and to, say, Silky Whip Extreme (which, incidentally, also carried a pornographic reworking of Peter Pan) and Anal Intruders of Uranus on the other, they'd resemble the latter a lot more than the former. I have no moral objections to hardcore pornography, but I do object when reviewers and journalists ignore obvious and important features of the work they're writing about.

The art is pretty, but not worth seventy-five bucks.

By the way, here's a sample of Moore's "great writing," quoted from Richard Gehr's admiring Village Voice review (via When Fangirls Attack): "I lanced my tongue in Mrs. Potter's anus, up and fast between the tropic lips into her beast-peach hole. Crowned hot with bronze, American-girl heat rubbed shameless as a cat against my thigh. The smash of wet cymbals inside me as the maid surrendered to the sacrifice. I'm weeping." Are graphic novels eligible for the Bad Sex in Fiction Award?

Edited to add: Here's a thoughtful (far more so than mine, obviously) critique of Lost Girls that I just came across.

*Having read some interviews since I wrote this, I now realize that this is partially incorrect. Apparently, being molested and gang-banged initially made the protagonists repressed as adults. Only after they all get together are they magically transformed into lusty lesbians.

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