Put down the Whitman’s Sampler, we’ve got the perfect Valentine’s Day treats for you and yours! Whether you’re looking for steamy reads for yourself, your partner, your friends–whoever!–Fantagraphics puts the “graphic” in “graphic novels”! Here are a few of our spiciest comics:
Man in Furs by Catherine Sauvat and Anne Simon, translated by Mercedes Claire Gilliom
In 1870, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch published Venus in Furs, an erotic novel revealing the author’s desire to be dominated by a woman. (And paid homage in the classic Velvet Underground song of the same name.) After the novel’s success, a woman turns up at his doorstep and offers to take on the role in Sacher-Masoch’s real life. He completely submits to her, and they get married. Years later, Leopold has remarried and lives a quiet life, far removed from the sexual escapades of his first marriage. Then he learns that his surname, to his detriment, has come to describe a new sexual perversion: masochism. Man In Furs is his story.
Garden of the Flesh by Gilbert Hernandez
As only the unfettered Id of Gilbert Hernandez could conceive, Garden of the Flesh is a sexually explicit graphic retelling of the story of Adam and Eve up to Noah’s Ark. Hernandez presents a straightforward adaptation of the Bible parable, but one that also blurs the lines between erotica and pornography–the Old Testament has never been hotter!
The Complete Crepax: Dangerous Liaisons: Volume 6 by Guido Crepax, translated by Micol Beltramini
In this vintage Italian erotic comics collection, which spans 1977–1989, the character Valentina, a music, art, and fashion-loving Milanese photographer, ages in “real time.” First, she saves Effi, a German heiress, from kidnappers, and they become lovers. Valentina also has an affair with Bruno, a young cellist. Dangerous Liaisons follows our heroine into middle-aged home life with her longtime partner, Phil, with whom she has a grown son, Mattia. Two of Crepax’s lauded graphic adaptations: “Venus in Furs” and “The Memoirs of Casanova” are featured in this volume–it’s sexy and classy!
Vision by Julia Gfrörer
In this historical erotic graphic novel, a spinster escapes the demands of life through a sexual relationship with a haunted mirror. Julia Gfrörer explores lust, grief, and the human need for connection in this story of a 19th-century spinster and the haunted mirror that offers an escape from her frustrated line. In Gfrörer’s thin, careworn lines, her debased and unnerving depictions of the supernatural, and her achingly vulnerable characters, she exposes the emotions that boil beneath the surface of everyday life and the terrible pressure society exerts to keep them hidden. Surrender to the quiet power of her storytelling, which greets you on every page like the embrace of a lover—or the grave.
My Pretty Vampire by Katie Skelly
A vampire has sex-positive adventures in this “pop shojo”-style graphic novel! Clover — the “pretty” vampire of the title — is a Bardot-esque blonde who dreams of the (now-dead) girl she once was four years ago before becoming a fanged bloodsucker. She is being kept prisoner by her brother, Marcel, who fears Clover will be hunted by the outside world (and who may have other, more selfish motivations as well). Clover’s curiosity, however, will not be suppressed: impetuous, sensual, strong-willed, and fearless, she plans her escape. The resultant havoc would make Dario Argento proud.