LGBTQ Comic: Sunstone (English)

February 18th, 2015

sunstone1If you’re paying attention to the larger world of comics, the name Stjepan Seijic will be known to you. A popular webcomic artist, he has recently taken over as artist on the Image Comics series Rat Queens – presumably after Top Cow had picked up this work by him, and after the previous artist was arrested. I had encountered this work some months ago and since then, it’s being poking at me, reminding me of…something. I just figured out what that something is.

Sejic’s series Sunstone is a very adult comic, about two women who are into BDSM and who encounter each other online. Ally and Lisa meet and find that they are very compatible with each other and each other’s lives.  There is no “plot” per se. This is a slice-of-life where the lives are lived by two adult woman who enjoy BDSM.

I have long said that BDSM is well-suited to a format like text or comics, where everything can be beautiful and sensual without any banal reality. In Sunstone, Sejic’s really captured everything I mean by that. The characters are attractive and sexy. No one has acne, or is glumpy, or has a verbal tic. Even when they fret and stress it’s idealised and cute. Which works, but also leaves me wishing someone had a verbal tic or something. ^_^;

As I’ve said, there is no plot – as Lisa tells us right way, in fact. There’s no evil wizard, no rescue from the tower, just adult lives that intersect, intertwine…and, assumably, at some point in the future, part.

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On the positive side, this book is really beautiful. On the negative, I found myself wandering off mid-scene a few times. Lisa and Ally are too flawless as people, and the subject of BDSM, while sort of interesting for me for a ten minute conversation isn’t interesting enough for me for an entire comic.  I did find the “Making of” section in the end and the lots of pretty pictures very much worth my time. I’m definitely not complaining.

There was just that something poking and nagging at me as I turned page after page feeling like I had read something like this somewhere before….

…and then it hit me!

Maka-Maka. You remember it, right? Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Kishi Torajiro, were put out by Media Blasters in 2008 and 2009. These two volumes were arguably the very best work MB ever did in print. The story followed two women, Nene and Jun, and their friends-with-benefits relationship.The art in Sunstone is prettier, and the BDSM is portrayed very sincerely and positively (no 50 Shades-ish lack of consent or comprehension here) but there were specific expressions that were so similar I had to laugh. I’m not saying Sejic copied – I doubt he even knows Maka Maka existed – just that some of the character’s expressions, are similar enough that the one reminded me of the other. Lisa’s expressions, particularly, reminded me of Jun on a few panels.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 5 Slice-of-BDSM-life
Characters – 7 Likable, which makes it all work. No one here is a jerk.
Yuri – 8 Ally and Lisa definitely like each other. Love could happen.
Service – How do I even score this!? The story is pretty much a collection of nudity and sexual situations.

Overall – 6

It was not a compelling story for me, but it was beautiful to look at and I’m glad to have had a chance to read it. If you are interested in BDSM, you’ll get more out of it. For those who are interested, Volume 2 will be available in May 2015.

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4 Responses

  1. Jenn says:

    Hi Erica, I am a big fan of Rat Queens but hadn’t heard much about the new artist they were bringing onboard. After reading your article about Sunstone I thought I’d check it out. I’ll admit that I don’t read a lot of Erotica related manga or graphic novels. I find that a lot of it is intended for the straight male gaze and ends up being disappointing. However, I absolutely fell in love with Sunstone! The artwork was beautiful, as you mentioned, but I also love how the relationship between the two lead women is being developed. I was craving a mature, sophisticated take on a burgeoning lesbian couple and this story about bdsm nerds is totally working for me. Thanks so much for reviewing it!!

  2. ann says:

    Thanks for reviewing this. I liked it when I picked up a copy a while back. I was surprised how much effort was put into relationship of the two characters.

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