"Most smut fans will tell you that they have a strong preference for either visual porn or written porn -- a preference for sexual images or sexual stories that's so deeply ingrained, many people think it's hard-wired. Adult comics give us both. And in giving us both images and stories, adult comics create a bridge between the two.
-- Greta Christina
That's definitely true for me. I like striking images, but I'm almost never aroused by visual images alone, no matter how beautiful or naked the subjects may be. There has to be a story -- or, specifically, a scenario that creates erotic tension. Yet, perversely, I get stuck on erotic stories because the words get in the way. Reading a verbal description isn't the same as seeing, no matter how good a writer wrote it. Erotic comics hit the sweet spot.
Best Erotic comics 2008 and Best Erotic Comics 2009 showcase an amazing range of different artistic and narrative forms, from beautiful and poignant to funny to earthy to grotesque.
These books would make a good starting point for couples who are looking to introduce shared erotica into their relationships, but are a little hesitant -- there's almost certainly something here that will appeal to you and help you explore what you like. (Though, be warned that there are things in here that will probably upset/offend more sensitive souls.)
I'd like to mention a few highlights. I hate to narrow it down because there were so many great stories, but I'd like to give you an idea of what's in the books:
The first ones I caught myself coming back to re-read were some funny ones, like Dori Seda's story with the joke ending where something unpleasant breaks up the orgy. Then there was the excerpt from "Trucker Fags in Denial" -- which really is grotesque, but in an intriguing way. Actually, many of them are excerpts from larger works. I'd be curious to read the rest of Gilbert Hernandez's "Birdland," among others. I also liked some of the snapshots of the culture at large, such as the descriptions of strange porn films, and Ellen Forney's illustrations of personal ads.
While reading these books, I couldn't help but keep thinking of one other thing Greta Christina said:
"I am strongly of the opinion that truly first-rate erotica will excite you, even if it doesn't push your personal erotic buttons. First-rate erotica gets you excited about the sex the characters are having -- regardless of whether it's sex that you, personally, would enjoy having, or that pushes your personal fantasy buttons."
Naturally I kept asking myself, "how do these books measure up?" And, also, "how do I measure up?" On some level, I feel like it's wrong to pass judgment on my own sexual responses, yet it was such a tempting challenge!
I think we all (me and the two books) did pretty well. I'll admit that there were a few stories I didn't find that interesting (of the more than sixty short stories), but for the most part I found them exciting and compelling -- even the ones that didn't drive right up my erotic alley. And I feel I've expanded my horizons in directions that would never have occurred to me on my own.