Desaturated 1

Everyone else is talking about it, so I thought I’d give Fifty Shades of Grey a chance. Just the free sample you can download to your Kindle, mind, not the whole thing. I wasn’t allowed far enough in to get to the naughty bits, so I can’t judge those*.

The fan fiction roots show- there is a tendency to list what the characters are doing, action by action, and to give location descriptions that don’t conjure up much sense of location- but I’ve read “proper” books that have been worse**.

FSoG is a romance, I guess, though most people are going to work their way through the clunky seduction hoping to get worked up by the kinky rope play. It’s the erotic elements, after all, that have got it all the attention. Because it’s erotica aimed at women it’s earned the description of “Mommy porn” and because it’s been so successful it has attracted a lot of- mostly negative- attention. Some of the bad mouthing has to be down to jealousy (the three book series has sold 20 million copies sfter all) or snobbery, but, as Laurie Penny has pointed out, some of it is because it’s a dirty book aimed at women.

Penny also argues that it doesn’t matter that the Grey books are badly written, because they can be considered porn and it’s okay if porn is a bit crappy. On this I have to disagree with her. There’s no reason why dirty books should have to be bad. We need material we can hold up as high quality smut, and it needs to be supported.

I’m sure there’s a market for naughty tales with interesting stories- I am, after all, writing a sexy ghost story, so I’d best be right. Probably not anything that wants to be called literary erotica- too pretentious to be exciting- but something with the energy and joy of genre fiction, punctuated with sex as often as chases or fights. If you know of any that already exists then please do let me know about it.

*Is it bad that I want to read the naughty bits and see how good/bad/indifferent they really are.

**I’ve made a habit of it, in fact. I forced myself through to the end of The Da Vinci Code because that particular copy had already defeated two other people. And I used to have a bad technothriller habit, though it did provide the inspiration for Sounds of Soldiers.

Itoshi No Kana

Amongst the many things distracting me in the last few months has been a website called Mangafox. It’s a site dedicated to’scanlations’ of manga series- scans of the originals translated and re-lettered by volunteers. It’s not legitimate, of course, but hey.

As I have a long standing interest in erotic comics I went looking for stuff in the Adult category. Two in particular got my attention. Koibana Onsen is the ongoing tale of an inn which specialises in erotic romantic getaways- and the various hang-ups of the staff. Itoshi No Kana is a paranormal romance which inspired a story idea from me.

Itoshi No Kana, according to the scanlators, means My Lovely Ghost Kana and concentrates on the relationship between the eponymous ghost and Daikichi. As the story opens Daikichi, whose name ironically means lucky, has lost his job and home and taken to squatting in an abandoned apartment block. Here he meets Kana, the ghost of the girl who committed suicide in the room he has chosen to inhabit. Their relationship soon becomes intimate, rescuing each other from their respective hells.

There’s a lot of sex in the first Kana book- the second is more concerned with their growing connection with the outside world- and it’s a lot of fun as well as being very hot. This is despite Japanese censorship rules which mean genitalia aren’t explicitly depicted- there’s a lot of allusion and, when that runs out, erections are often reperesented by a bar of white space.

Itoshi No Kana is a naughty example of the manga subgenre known as Magical Girlfriend. The MG can be an alien princess, witch or hot demoness who makes life complicated for some hapless protagonist. Most often, the protagonist and MG never get to consummate their relationship, continuing through endless scrapes punctuated by panty shots and other tittilation (aka fanservice). Kana ignores the rule of delayed gratification to tell a different story.

I’ve been tempted to do something Magical Girlfriend-y, on and off, for a while and Itoshi inspired me again. So I’ve started the tale of a young man who bumps into a girl who isn’t there as he crosses an old bridge. Having knocked her back into the physical world he becomes her lover and they embark on an exploration of hauntings, beasts and Boggles, all the while tracking down the man who killed her.

I see an episodic series, short stories with different monsters each time, but with an overall arc- the story of the ghost’s murder and revenge. The main characters’ sex life- and the mating habits of were-creatures, vampyres and assorted ghoulies- would be a major part of the stories. Not often enough to warrant the label of Paranormal Erotica (a popular genre on Amazon), but regular and hot nonetheless. So I’m going to do this series under my Garth Owen pen name, I think.

The first story in the series is tentatively titled The Girl On The Bridge and I’m 6000 or so words into it, using it to flesh out some details of the back story and world. I’m far too easily distracted by other ideas and stories I want to work on, but I hope to have this one finished soon.

Another clean page from a dirty comic

To limber up before starting work on Point of Contact I’ve done a short erotic tale. It’s called An American in Paris, and this is the splash page.

The tale is a flashback featuring Kerry, one of the characters from my previous naughty comic Shall We Take A Trip?, who’s reminiscing about the time she met her penpal in Paris. Can you guess what happens?

Looking at it now, it appears Kerry (on the right of the page) is about to fall over backwards. I knew she was leaning a little as I drew it, but I had to look at it from a distance to see the problem. That will be remedied in Photoshop tomorrow.

The Female Gaze

From research we’ve learnt that what most women find erotic does not at all match what is typically thought of as an erotic image of a man designed for women. For example, on average, women prefer:

* men who are not muscle-bound
* men with more feminine face shapes
* men with attractive faces
* images that show the subject’s character and the environment he is in.

We also know that women’s tastes vary quite a lot, and we aim to cater to that variety too.

I should consider this for future erotic comickery, as I want to make stuff that works as well for women as it does for men. This is taken from the site of Filament magazine, which I learnt about through Warren Ellis’ blog about the problems they’re having with printers.

Explicit images of women are available at any newsagent, but Filament, the world’s only magazine featuring male pictorials designed for the female gaze, is finding itself between a rock and a hard place when it comes to printing explicit images of men.

Filament only prints explicit images when these are of high photographic and erotic quality, and clearly designed for women – we won’t ever be putting hard cocks on every page. The problem is, all the printers that a small, independent magazine like Filament can afford have said they won’t print images of the male of the species in a state of obvious arousal. Reasons given include that printing these images may cause offence to ‘women’s groups’.

If they get enough pre-orders they’ll be able to take their magazine to a printer that does larger runs and is less squeamish. You can support them here.

Shall We Take A Trip? is now available

Shall We Take A Trip? Front Cover 6"x9"

This is the revised cover for Shall We Take A Trip?, now available in 6 by 9 inch format at a sensible price. You can buy a printed version or a downloadable one from the Mary Tales shop at Lulu.

Be warned, this new comic, and everything else in that shop is sexually explicit. I call it erotica, you may think of it as porn. It’s one of those judgement calls where two people can look at the same thing and have completely different reactions. I may redesign the cover again for distribution through Amazon and others, but for now I’m going to go and work on a comic more suited to all ages.

A (clean) page from my dirty comic

Shall We Take A Trip page 18 inked
Click for a larger version.

I’ve been meaning to do an erotic comic for years, and I’m now drawing Mary Tales as well as my phone comics. This is page 18 of the first part of Shall We Take A Trip?, the first Mary Tale. It’s a fair way from professional quality, but I’m very happy with it.

I’ve been experimenting with techniques and materials for a while. This is the second time I’ve drawn this page, which was originally number 20 before I decided to move the preceding two pages to a later part of the story. It’s the second page since I decided to switch to hand lettering whilst cutting down on post production computer shading. And I think it’s far better for it. There will be some grey or halftone shading, but I’ll put a bit more thought into it than I have with other pages. Then I’ll go back and change those pages based upon lessons learnt.

Because it’s a dirty comic, the sight they’re gawping at in the last three panels is very rude. But I haven’t drawn it yet, and I wouldn’t show it off here if I had.

Coming soon to the Spinneyhead library and music collection

I cracked and ordered a batch of books and cds-

Ida Maria – Fortress Around My Heart. On the strength of “I Like You So Much More When You’re Naked”, a song which is close to the most fun you can have with or without your clothes on.

Camper Van Beethoven – Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart. Because I listened to my tape of this album on the way back from Edinburgh last time, driving along the A702 and remembering Cumbrian roads, finding the album in a Woolworths’ bargain bin and having to turn around and go back because the other passenger wanted his own copy by the end of the tape. When I finally make my movie, “Life is Grand” is going to be the end theme.

Making Comics – Scott McCloud. Because I’m making comics, albeit slower than I’d like. And I’m almost halfway through the first graphic novel, so I should probably have picked this up sooner.

I’ve got Reinventing Comics somewhere, which turned me on to the idea of doing a webcomic so many years ago, and I really should read Understanding Comics as well. Most of my understanding of comic book pacing and panel composition has been picked up from reading comics, I’m hoping this book will provide some pointers to where I can improve my work.

Watching the Watchmen. Yes, I’ve fallen for a piece of Watchmen merchandising. Dave Gibbons, unlike writer Alan Moore, is loving the adaptation of his graphic novel and is more than willing to revisit the subject and give us a book full of background, sketches and anecdotes. It’s like the special features bit on a dvd. And it’s considerably cheaper than Absolute Watchmen.

And on pre-order-

Erotic Comics: A Graphic history volume 2. Because I’m creating an erotic graphic novel it seems like a good idea to have a look at the genre’s history. Volume 1 of this set was a breezy trip from cave art to the seventies, telling me some stuff I didn’t know and giving me a fair amount of stuff to folow up on.

Best Erotic Comics 2009. And I should study what others are doing in teh same field. I’ve got Best Erotic Comics 2008, which has a good eclectic mix of material.

The Erotic Adventures of Buffy and Evil Vampire Willow

Joss Whedon and others are doing a neat job bringing us season eight of Buffy as a comic from Dark Horse. There’s one collection out already- Long Way Home, collecting the first 5 issues and No Future For You, a Faith heavy tale, is due in June.

However, before this revamp Anne-Lise and Fox created their own reimagining. The Erotic Adventures of Buffy and Evil Vampire Willow makes smutty fun of storylines from the series as Buffy and alternate universe vampire Willow get it on, keep Angel and Faith chained up in the cupboard and turn Mr Pointy into a vibrator. Alyson Hannigan is an official crush of Spinneyhead, especially as Vampire Willow, so how could I resist this naughty version of her character. The most recent strip seems to be a few years old, but you can hope for new stuff.


Time to brush up on your French and pop over to Paris. The Bibliotheque Nationale is opening its collection of porn and erotica to the public.

The “Enfer” section of the Bibliotheque Nationale – books and prints and photographs purchased, confiscated or donated over almost two centuries – is believed to be one of the largest and richest collections of pornographic and erotic materials in the world. The Vatican’s secret stash is said to be even larger but that, presumably, will never be opened to the public.

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
Actually the second go around at this image, and the strip that follows it. One lazy Sunday a couple discuss the difference between erotica and porn using just interpretive dance.

Or something similar.

Done in Poser, exported as line art and cel-shaded colour then composited, cleaned up and lettered.

Omaha the Cat Dancer official website

Omaha the Cat Dancer, started in 1978, may soon be coming to an end. Then I will have to buy all the new collected albums. I’ve only been following the tale since the early nineties, after all.

There is now an official Omaha the Cat Dancer website with publication history and creator biographies.

Not dirty comics, but I’ll add them here. I’ve recently subscribed to the webcomicsnation RSS feeds for Too Hip Gotta Go Graphics, Dementian Comics and From the Fevered Pen of Brendan Douglas Jones.

Definitely dirty comics-

So, what's Catalan for "Give it to me, big boy"?
The Catalan government gave a pornographic film maker grants totalling £10,000 to make and promote dirty films in the area’s language.  Conrad Son made The Sea is not Blue, about a couple’s sexual relationship near the Mediterranean; Laura is Lonely, about a bored woman’s sex-filled affair with a stranger; and The Memory of the Fish, about a married executive’s sexual adventures.  He insists they are not porn, but erotic art.  I’d have to watch them before I could judge that claim.

A Sort of Homecoming

Home (Page) at last

Home again, home again. Or not.
I’ve moved into my new house, which is nice. And empty. And I’ve finally got internet access, albeit dial-up, back so the world is no longer safe from my inane wittering and sarcastic opinions.
Oh, and I managed to turn commenting on. Say something.
Posted by Jim at 9:16:48pm

Comment by Steve at 10:02:28pm
You so funny.
Comment by Jim at 11:32:22pm

– – – – –

Unfurnished. I hadn’t really thought about just how empty the house would be. Right now the only furniture I possess is the TV stand and bean bag in the living room and the computer desk and chair upstairs. It’s all very minimalist. IKEA- the Swedish god of flat pack- calls to me.

I’ve heard that sleeping on a hard surface can be good for the back. I hope it’s true, because the only thing between me and the floor is the spare duvet. With it as a ground sheet I feel like there should be a tent above me. My two suitcases are on one side of the bed, storage with handles, and all the boxes I packed my life into are clustered by the door or trailing off to the other rooms. Maybe I could build a fort, barricade the door and feel safe from all those unfamiliar creaking and popping noises the house makes as it recuperates before the ‘morrow.

– – – – –

Lost and Found

toothbrush, toothpaste etc.
Carter USM- 101 Damnations cd, which I thought I’d lost but turned out to be in a CD-R case amongst a pile of Verbatim disks I ‘requisitioned’ from my last job.
No. I can’t sleep.
Posted by Jim at 2:19:32am

– – – – –

Ah, the joy of the lie in. I haven’t found the radio alarm yet, so this morning I was woken by the shrill sound of my mobile. I turned it off, rolled over and went back to sleep. Finally rose at eleven. I was half showered before I wondered where I’d packed the towels. So now there’s a trail of wet footprints all around the house.

I have a month’s pay due. Extra time to find a new job, one benefit of the ‘agreement’ I came to when they sacked me. So I spent the afternoon printing out CVs and figuring out where to send them. I should just relax and take the money for a couple of weeks. All in all a very, as in not at all, productive day.

– – – – –

Cabin Fever

Okay, so I didn’t leave the house at all today. Which is sad, I know. So tomorrow, honest, I’m checking out the neighbourhood. I’ve been away for a while, so who knows what I’ll find.
Posted by Jim at 11:36:41pm

They tore down paradise, put up a parking lot.
Comment by Steve at 12:08:03am
I’m going to be in town tomorrow (this) afternoon. Give me a call.
Comment by steve at 12:47:16am

– – – – –

New buildings going up, old buildings coming down. I was like a tourist on the bus, sat on the top deck looking left and right all the time to see what had happened to all the places I remembered. After a while I took to running ‘Dirty Old Town’ through my head, not quite humming it but doing the rhythm by clicking my teeth together. It must have looked like I was worrying at a particularly small piece of chewing gum, the funny little tack tack movements my jaw was making.

It was certainly grey enough for a melancholy song. The big ugly concrete wall is still standing at Piccadilly Gardens. The least they could do is commission some art for it. I can’t believe they turn the fountains on on such an overcast day.

I’d decided on any coffee shop that wasn’t Starbucks, which narrowed it down to about three. Even then I could see an outlet of the coffee colonialists from my window seat. I settled down with a copy of the Guardian and a fairtrade latte and savoured being early.

Steve wandered in quarter of an hour later. He nodded in my direction and pointed at my cup. “Latte.” I mouthed. He nodded again and headed for the baristas.

I made space for the tray. My empty mug went on the table behind, the Guardian curled up faithfully at my feet. Steve landed the tray and tried to move his cup onto the space that was left. “You don’t call, you don’t write…..” he tutted as he sat down.

“Well, you know. It was only going to be two months. And then I hadn’t been in touch for two months and then…..” I made the shrug that said ‘And then everything went to shit and they decided to blame me for it.’ Everyone foolish enough to ask had received an e-mail ranting about the stupidity of middle, upper and line management and didn’t need a recap. “You using up holiday again?”

“One day I’ll be organised and plan a proper one. They only let me carry five days over.”

“Brazil. You want to go to Brazil.” That’s a lie, I want to go to Brazil. I must stop projecting.

“I’d settle for Bournemouth.

“Actually, no. I wouldn’t.”

We sipped coffees and watched the wet shoppers go by.

“You should have sent me a message. I could have helped you move.”

“Everything I own fit in the back of a small van with room to spare. It wasn’t a big job.” This struck me. There was something wrong about it. “I’m sure I used to own more. I mean, I can remember when I could get everything I owned into the back of an Escort. Last time I moved I swear I needed a tranny van.

“I must have left so much shit at my parents’ house.”

“You don’t know?”

“I guess I got too wrapped up in all that corporate bullshit. I….” Another shrug. I’m getting better at stopping myself. Plus, I’d had another realisation. “Oh shit. I left all my porn with my parents.”


“Well. It wasn’t porn porn, you know. More sort of…… erotica.”


“Erotica. Stuff like books on oriental erotic carvings. And stuff.” Vague hand waving gestures that could mean anything.

“Can we stop talking about your porn?”

“Yeah. Sure.” Back to drinking our coffees and looking out of the window.

“What’s the gossip?”

“What do you know?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well.” Steve began ticking things off on his fingers. “Mike and Rachel are engaged.”



“They were engaged for the Millennium. At least, I think they were.”

Steve shrugged. A ‘nobody ever tells me anything’ shrug. “Tom and Graeme have split up.”

“No surprise there.”

“Neil has a new girlfriend. I swear she’s only ten.”

“He’s breaking the album rule?”

“I think she was born after he bought his last album, let alone his first.”


“Oh definitely his last album on vinyl. She’s much younger than that.

“What else? Oh yes. Bob and Louise have split up as well.”

“Shit. Now that is a surprise.”

“Not to some of us.”

I figured I’d leave that one alone. “Anyway, I was thinking of going record shopping.”

“That sounds like a plan.”

– – – – –

3(?) feet tall and rising

Damn those record sales! I just bought five new CDs.
It’s true- I can resist anything but temptation.
Posted by Jim at 6:38:27pm

– – – – –

Notes This is from the original incarnation of Post & Publish, written a while ago. As with Boyfriend Season, it’s going to be expanded upon. I’m seeing the story coming together as four “seasons”, starting in Spring, with Jim’s emotional progress mirroring them in some way.
The Album Rule (a phrase first coined by Brian, and which I asked permission to use ages ago) is going to be yanked out of the Spring section and form a major part of the Summer part. Autumn is Boyfriend Season and Winter allows me to wrap stuff up. I’ll be publishing bits and pieces here then putting together a full manuscript. If you’d like to be in my test group for that manuscript get in touch.

Other fiction- check out So Much to Answer For, the crime tale I wrote last October, Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I wrapped up last year, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.

Fiction, ,

Under the veil

Erotic Islamic Calendar Girls by Max Emadi. I did a quick search this morning, and was quite surprised that this was the only example I could find, especially as the West has been eroticising (or worse) Allah’s ladies for years (haven’t read the whole article yet).

I also found a piece on the Dance of the Seven Veils and the true story of Salome.

This post has been of no use as far as the whole veil issue goes, unless I can defuse it by linking to pictures of nearly naked chicks.

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Lost Girls

I remember going to the UK Comic Art Convention in 1990 and attending a talk on adult comics where Melinda Gebbie told us about Lost Girls, the erotic graphic novel she was producing with Alan Moore. I even have the first two large format copies of the series, as published by Kitchen Sink, collecting the first six short chapters. Finally, sixteen years later, the collected graphic novel is going to be published by Top Shelf.

The novel is about Alice, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz, and Wendy from Peter Pan meeting up in an Austrian hotel in 1913 as adults. Their famous earlier adventures are reinterpreted as tales of their early sexuality. This has been a source of some controversy as Great Ormond Street still holds the rights to Peter Pan in England and has issues with the subject matter.

Lost Girls’ art is watercolour and ink, slightly clumsy and naive looking with rather elongated characters. The heroines are not are not the big titted, long legged secretly subservient amazons of most erotic (and many superhero) comics but moderately caricatured visions of normal body shapes. The sex is the sort that takes place as much in the head as on the page and presented with all the care and creativity you’d expect of Alan Moore. I haven’t read the whole book yet, but I want to. However, I’ll take a stand and say that Omaha the Cat Dancer is still the greatest erotic comic of all time. I’m just waiting for the completed story to be collected so I can have all the volumes on my bookshelf.

Top Shelf have a page dedicated to interviews/ articles about the series, Violet Blue has a few (NSFW) page previews.

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A little thesis, with illustrations, on the history of mechanical devices used for sexual stimulation (does that sound learned enough?) NSFW, of course.

Many a young girl discovers the pleasure of sex by way of an innocent activity that happens to apply pressure to her crotch. Bouncing on Uncle Bob’s knee, frolicking on playground equipment, climbing trees, and horseback riding are good examples, but no machine in our culture has contributed more to the pleasure of young girls than the bicycle.

Bicycles and exercise bikes are popular props in erotic stories. The ride is often enhanced by a specially constructed, sexually stimulating seat, sometimes nothing more than a dildo. In extreme settings the rider is lashed to the bike and must continue pedaling, and thus receiving sexual stimulation, or be subjected to some sort of motivation such as electric shock. I kind of like the idea of a powerful, variable intensity vibrator built into the seat, connected to a control box in such a way that the slower the rider pedals the stronger the vibration. In the beginning the rider may prefer to go slow, but after a few good orgasms the situation will be most conducive to weight loss.

via Fleshbot

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