Monday, October 4, 2010

We Are All Beautiful, Complex Snowflakes

There are probably thousands upon thousands of comics that are out there right now, and I'll probably only get to read maybe less than a quarter of them. Way more than that in my entire lifetime. Who knows, really? Statistics are hard because they are rooted in math, and I know my limitations.

The internet makes it easier to find out about some of these phantoms though, and we all have greater access to underground/indie books that would have went unseen or ran silent through the background previously. Thanks to this whole digital world that runs through our lives, I stumbled across a comic I would NEVER have seen otherwise. It's a story called "Cockbone," which isn't what disqualifies it from appearing on my radar. Where it is published originally does, however; within a publication called "Sleazy Slice," particularly the third issue, which is on sale now.

Written and illustrated by artist Joshua Simmons, "Cockbone" is without a doubt Not Safe For Work (NSFW), and the only reason I mention it is because he has officially posted the entire comic on his website, and that is where this link right here will take you.

My comic reading habits and interests are by no means prudish or close-minded. I don't generally gravitate toward extremely independent books - and yes I will explain what that means - but I'll read something if it seems interesting to me. There isn't any independent book I read on a regular basis, if for no other reason than the area I call home isn't the best place to find indy books. Other than the internet, obviously, I simply don't have a way to get my hands on books that aren't at least published by a mid-level (although still considered indy by some) publisher.

I remember really wanting to read "Let's Go To Utah," by Dave Chisholm, but never getting around to ordering it online. Maybe that's the problem, maybe I'm a passive comic buyer when it comes to the internet, and since extremely indy books - I promise a definition is coming - are generally only available to me through the internet, my situation persists.

There is probably a much more detailed review of "Cockbone" resting in my brain somewhere, but wrenching it out might be impossible. I can easily edit it all down to "disturbing, over the top, shock for shock sake," and that isn't really an interesting review to read. I'm much more interested in the idea of independent books that are capable of printing ANYTHING, and the idea that these books are out there hiding, in a way, from some readers. I say they're hiding because they are, with only a little generalization, books that have to be sought out. Even if you hear of an indy book, finding it might be hard, or more steps than a reader is willing to take, and that could kill the whole process of reading the thing.

Extremely independent books - to me, at least - are publications that don't have the help of a distributor, or publication house which can utilize advertising in even small ways. Maybe this book "Sleazy Slice" utilizes advertising, but from looking at the purchase page, I sincerely doubt it. Part of me wants to classify extremely independent books as those that aren't held to any standards regarding content - either pertaining to quality or decency - but there are plenty of other publications which would render this point both incorrect and asinine, so I'll skip that. Maybe my mind goes there even briefly because books like "Sleazy Slice" exist in the first place. Not that I'm begrudging the publication's existence, or saying any of the readers shouldn't be allowed to read what they want, because I am absolutely against censorship.

The amount of adult content available within comic book form would probably astonish me. Like I said earlier, I'm not a prude or easily offended, but something about seeing a comic written and drawn for no other reason than sexual desires to be sated seems somehow odd to me. There being so much pornography within the world containing living, breathing humans - or whatever - would seem to render the creation of such comics moot, but that is most definitely not the case.

Again, I am absolutely not saying these comics shouldn't exist, or are wrong for being here, I just cannot wrap my head around there being a reason for them. Sure, this could lead to a huge debate about sexual desire, and differing personalities and so on, but that's not what I want. I know why porn exists - it's not that difficult to figure out - so the existence of porn comics isn't a mind-blowing enigma.

"Cockbone" made all of this happen in my head. It's story is almost, but not quite non-existent. I do think great stories can be told which contain mature themes, but the artist has to know the limitations of this, know that like any other story the mechanism of the tale could come crashing down if one part isn't in the right place. "Cockbone" does come crashing down, and exists as a bizarre mini-comic porn. I'm not saying that makes it wrong, or bad, but I am saying it isn't anything more. Not that it is attempting to be anything else. After all, it was originally printed in a book called "Sleazy Slice," with the blurb "The annual comix anthology devoted to debauchery" right there on the cover.

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