Midweek Media: Cirque du érotique

I am deeply loving Iron Circus Comics right now. I discovered founder C. Spike Trotman’s now-defunct webcomic ”Templar AZ” years ago and fell in love with the snappy dialogue, the art and the general weirdness of the setting. I was excited to see the kickstarter blow up for “Smut Peddler,” her erotica comics anthology written and drawn by women, and repeat the performance for the sequel. Recently I picked up two erotic comics from Iron Circus, “Yes, Roya” and “Iris and Angel” and I’m going to gush about how good they are.

For about a year, I’ve been hearing about “Yes, Roya” , particularly when Stabbity encouraged everyone to “Buy “Yes, Roya” right fucking now!”  I looked it up and was intrigued, but being not overburdened with disposable income and not sure it was pertinent to my particular kinks, I passed on it at the time. However, recently seeing a new round of twitter gushing from various people about how good it was, I decided to take a chance on it.

It is, in fact, hot as fuck. The artist, Emilee Denich, manages to handle drawing erotica without being either clinical or overdoing the positioning or reactions of the people involved. She’s very good at creating a sense of intimacy, something often missing from other erotic comics, and manages to capably mimic the various cartooning styles of the era. The comic is set in 1963, and I love Denich’s light touch with making the setting represent the time accurately without hitting you over the head with references to the era. The backgrounds are detailed when a sense of setting is needed, and faded out when there’s action going on. She also does good work knowing when to stay in frame, when to overrun it, and how to use framing to draw the eye across the page. She was clearly an excellent choice for the job.

I really enjoyed looking up the year to give the setting a little more of an anchor. It appears to be warm weather, though in California that only means “not winter”, meaning that it’s likely before the assassination of JFK in November, but likely after Dr Martin Luther King Jr wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”, the same year George Wallace gave his “segregation forever” speech and Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” fueled the beginnings of second wave feminism. Music? Oh hell yes, I looked up the music, and found a few I think appropriate to the feel of the comic.

The era of the girl group had been well established:

The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron


The British invasion had begun (we all know what the Beatles sound like)

Dusty Springfield – “I Only Want to Be with You”


And since she’s no teenybopper, a few selections I think Roya might be more inclined to be listening to at the time:

Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire”


Hank Mobley – “Three Way Split”


Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”


Lena Horne – “Night and Day”


Roy Orbison – “Mean Woman Blues”


Duke Ellington and John Coltrane – “In A Sentimental Mood”


Trotman’s writing is fairly light on characterization, but still manages to center Roya and the storyline working heavily centers on the year, moreso than than I originally thought. Without spoilering things, Roya is a woman (of color, even), and the events that unfold start not just from the sexualities of the characters involved, but also from how the various identities of the people would have been treated in the 60’s. The story doesn’t detract from the sex scenes, but it also doesn’t feel like unnecessary fluff framing.

The naked action is fully sexual, bondage gets a couple of visual nods but doesn’t come into play, and there’s no s/m. It’s pure femdom, though, as everything that happens is at Roya’s behest, including some m/m content. There is some inherent power dynamic predicated on age gap/inexperience which may bother some people, but it’s not something that came off as problematic to me (and I’m fairly sensitive to when that crosses lines).

Seeing Roya use her men to serve her sexual needs in ways that very much align with my own sexual kinks make this not only a fun, steamy read, but also one that I’ll be returning to again and again when I need a little … inspiration. The KillBoy assessment: “That was pretty damn hot.”

The other comic I picked up is “Iris and Angel.” “Yes, Roya” is a self-contained story of 146 pages, but this ebook is the first chapter to an ongoing story and clocks in at 16 pages. The first chapter is free, but the following will need to be purchased.

It’s also written by Trotman, but the artist is Amanda Lafrenais. I am so in love with the art. Lafrenais has a real flair for expressions and body language, conveying specific feelings of the characters that wouldn’t come across just in the relatively spare dialogue. Her backgrounds are minimal, just enough generally to give you a sense of setting, but in this character-forward comic it seems appropriate.

There’s nothing even approaching a sexual scenario in this chapter, but the sense of erotic anticipation is firmly in place. The adorable awkwardness of the leads is charming, Iris’ bestie and roommate Tate manages to stay on the “fun” side of obnoxious, and I’m incredibly eager to see how things play out. KillBoy allowed as to how it was pretty cute… and then a few days later asked me if the second chapter was out yet, and admitted he was looking forward to reading it too.

Also, did I mention it’s free? Go download it now!



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