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Am I “sex positive”?

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There’s a genre of pornography called “sex positive”. It’s a reaction to the idea that so very much porn is “sex negative”: treating it as something dirty, degrading, and disgusting. It’s a valid criticism of much of the mainstream porn industry. And in principle I’m very much on board with providing alternative porn that celebrates sex as fulfilling, fantastic, and fun. For example, I’m a fan of Smut Peddler, Oh Joy Sex Toy, and Sticky Graphic Novels (for whom I illustrated a story).

Untitled-1But apparently that isn’t the kind of porn I often create.

Nobody’s been giving me grief about this, so don’t get defensive on my behalf. But as I navigate the porn comix community, I see the idea of sex-positivity come up fairly often, and I’m enough of a navel-gazer to realize that my work probably doesn’t always qualify.

You could probably fill an entire psychological academic journal with an analysis of why I make the porn I do, and conclude that I tell stories about unhappy or unhealthy or even illegal sex because I’m full of the sex-negative garbage that my religious upbringing and the commercial porn industry have fed me. I can’t dispute that. But it’s an incomplete picture.

When I write porn, I’m looking for it to reflect some mix of reality and fantasy. Writing about reality was the initial impetus behind JAQrabbit Tales, and there’s a thread of it in even the more fantasy-leaning tales. Reality, as I’ve experienced it, can be positive or negative… usually something in between. Sex can be anywhere from dissatisfying to traumatic, and for the kind of biographical focus that the Tales have, it’s important to me to reflect that. That doesn’t necessarily disqualify them from the “sex positive” label, though.

Untitled-4During development, the Tales also started to deal with fantasy, because – let’s face it – my reality isn’t interesting enough to sustain hundreds of pages of stories. Sex-positive porn does the same thing, but this may be where I part ways with it. That’s because I see fantasy as sometimes based on the idea of sex being dirty, degrading, or disgusting. One of my tongue-in-cheek disclaimers is that I can’t promise that you’ll find JAQrabbit Tales arousing… but I also can’t guarantee that you won’t. And even if I write something that I didn’t intend to be arousing, but it still gives you a stiffy… I’m OK with that.

One of the goals of sex-positive porn is to give people good models to emulate, because a lot of us do get ideas from porn, about how to have sex ourselves. It’s also important for people to see representations of “themselves” in the media (including porn). I try to incorporate that into JAQrabbit Tales, in other ways.

The main idea I try to promote is variety. The main character has sex with bears/jocks/twinks/etc, plays “top” or “bottom” as if those labels didn’t exist, and has everything from anonymous hook-ups to (serial) monogamous relationships. Which isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with people having preferences, but I celebrate the fact that we don’t need to.

20RavingHardOn_009That dovetails with representation. It’s rare to find bisexuality reflected in porn (even then it’s usually a “kink” added to make a homosexual or heterosexual scene more “exotic”), and even more rare in porn comix. (Let’s see, there’s John Blackburn’s “Coley”, and… um…) How often do you see sex between people of different colors (again, unless that’s a specific fetish they’re catering to)? The script I’m working on right now includes a guy with cerebral palsy, and I’ll definitely be doing one involving a deaf character… both disabilities that feature in my life.

There’s another kind of “representation” I am for, and this is part of why I include stories that aren’t… nice. For example, there are Tales about reckless or self-destructive sex, sex for money, sex while drunk or otherwise impaired, and even statutory or forcible sexual assault. These are real things in the real world, and I think there’s value in depicting them. On one hand, people who’ve experienced these things can see that there are others who have. And on the other, people who fantasize about it see that there are others who do that. I realize this is a bit of a “cheat”: trying to have it both ways by presenting them as part of the ugly reality of life, and as fantasy material that some readers will just jack off to. It’s messy, because I’m messy… and remember, I conceded at the beginning of this article that I’m kinda fucked up about this. :/


JAQrabbit Tales

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The JAQrabbit Tales web site has gone live, and the first episode – all 6 pages of it – have been posted. This has been literally years in the making, so I’m pretty damn excited about it!

New pages (usually two at a time) will be posted every Monday, which will continue for the foreseeable future. Seriously: I have well over a year’s material ready, and I’m busy working on more.

JAQrabbit Tales begins September 1!

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After what seems like years (because it has been) of quietly working on JAQrabbit Tales, my bio/porno/graphic novel, I’ve set a date to start publishing! The first story will go on-line on Monday September 1, with a new page coming out every week!

mascot770PartyBoyThe Tales are a series of short comix stories about a character named Jason who looks suspiciously like me, and whose life story bears a vague resemblance to my own. Most of the Tales involve sex. :)

I began by illustrating them all myself, but took on my buddy Zlatan Marić as a partner, and I’ve enlisted the help of a few other talented artists to add to the fun. The series is far, far from “in the can” – I’ve got enough story material to fill volumes – but we’re far enough to start publishing. It’ll be a page per week, which means that some stories will take a week to finish, and most will take … longer. Mostly no more than a month.

Playtime: sexist sexy comix characterz

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In response to yet another cheesecakey fuck-me representation of Wonder Woman, and in the spirit of the parodies that followed, Bleeding Cool ran a challenge for visitors to cosplay in the same pose. I don’t post photos of myself online (so my self-portraits are the closest people can get to identifying me in public), but I wanted to play along.

So I did a drawing of Captain Miracle in the same pose …

… and asked my partner Zlatan to draw me in that pose.

Official status upgraded

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Months ago I finagled my way into Anything That Loves, an anthology of comix about life between the poles of “gay” and “straight”. I took one of the more relevant scripts I’d written for my JAQrabbit Tales porn series, changed a few camera angles to de-emphasize the nudity (but not eliminate it entirely), left the sex scene mostly implicit instead of implicit … and got to drawing it.

I was really excited to be participating in this book, and not just because I got to draw a fondly-remembered hook-up (the first of many with the person involved). There were a bunch of great queer cartoonists involved, including names like Leanne Franson, Maurice Vellekoop, and Roberta Gregory (to pick just three). Seeing the PDF previews was a hoot, especially when I saw that I was getting busy just a page-turn before a “Liliane Bi-Dyke” story.

See that dude in the red shirt? That’s me. See that name in the corners? That’s mine.
This past weekend, it got real. Not only did I receive the modest-but-generous payment that Northwest Press offered for my contribution (like everyone else involved, I’d submitted it as a donation for the cause), but I also got my two complementary copies of the book.

So there you have it: I’m in print. And I’ve been paid.

Translation: I’m officially a published professional cartoonist.

And if you turn the page, you’ll see my cock, which means I am also a porn star.

(Anything That Loves is listed for retailer orders in the current Previews catalog.)

Anything That Loves “Scout”

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I’ve contributed a 7-page story to Anything That Loves, a comics anthology that explores the territory between “gay” and “straight”. It’s the story of how I met my second girlfriend. (The fact that Scout is a woman was intended to be a spoiler, but in the context of a book about bisexuality, for the “boy” I’m hitting on to turn out to be a girl is fairly predictable.)

Here’s the first page (click then click again to embiggen):

“Assault” panels

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I’m currently working on one of the more serious and darker (literally) stories in the JAQrabbit Tales series, entitled “Assault”. I’m illustrating it entirely in black-and-white-and-gray, mostly with blocks of light and shadow. Here’s a couple non-sequential panels I worked on last night. I tell ya, it’s a bit of a challenge to draw something without showing it.