Portland-based comics publisher Oni Press is launching a new imprint called Limerence Press, dedicated to erotica and sex education comics. Limerence will focus on "positive, diverse, and approachable stories that reflect a wide variety of emotional and intimate experiences." The first books released under the Limerence imprint will be the first three collected volumes of Oh Joy Sex Toy, the sex education webcomic by by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan.

Oni promises more Limerence announcements this summer. Oni Press Managing Editor Ari Yarwood, who's been put in charge of Limerence Press, had this to say:

There was a point in my life where I was either going to work in comics or work in sex education, and while I obviously ended up working in comics, Limerence Press is the combination of both those passions. As a queer lady, I’m invested in publishing erotica and sex education comics that reflect the wonderful spectrum of human sexuality.

The idea of ‘limerence,’ that giddiness of falling head over heels for someone, is something we hope to capture with this imprint. Erotica comics can be fun and inviting, as well as sexy, and my goal is that readers will find that titles from Limerence Press have real emotion and affection in them. This line is committed to publishing books that are feminist, inclusive, and queer-friendly—comics that readers feel good about recommending to their friends!

Yarwood also credits C. Spike Trotman, publisher of the Smut Peddler anthologies, as an inspiration in the field of erotic comics, and it's hard not to see a direct line from that to this.

Comics culture has always had time separating notions of the erotic from a heterosexual male gaze (in truth, the industry often struggles to separate any genre from that gaze), and this recent movement toward woman-led queer-inclusive sex comics — spearheaded by Trotman, Moen, and now Limerence — marks a huge progression away from that problem and toward a sustainable vision of comics erotica. Obviously that doesn't mean there's no room for erotic comics for straight men, just that there's room for so much more than just that.



More on Limerence and Oh Joy Sex Toy from the press release:

“Matthew and I are ecstatic to now be working with Oni Press and Limerence!" said Oh Joy Sex Toy creator Erika Moen. “Our shelves have been full of beautiful Oni books for years and we’re both so honored and delighted for the opportunity to put our books alongside theirs. We are a small, two-person comic-making team, and with Limerence we’re looking forward to having our work reach a broader audience of people who crave fun sex positivity and bad puns in their life. This deal isn't just about getting accessible sex education into more hands and Oni isn't just a comics-printing giant, we're all local and Portland based, so with this deal we're making work happen with both our peers and friends alike, and, well, thats just plain awesome. We couldn't be happier.”

Limerence Press is printing Moen and Nolan's Oh Joy Sex Toy Volume 3Kickstarter books, helping the creative team reduce costs. The unique and limited-Kickstarter edition cover will be exclusive to Kickstarter backers, and serve as the books that Moen and Nolan sell directly online, at conventions, and at book signings. A separate Limerence Press cover will be distributed to comic shop retailers, bookstores, and specialty shops—avenues previously inaccessible to the creators.