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‘Smut Peddler’ Editor Spike Trotman Talks the Joy of Female-Created Sex Comics [Sex]


The porno comics anthology Smut Peddler started life as a series of minicomics put together by Carla Speed McNeil, Trisha L. Sebastian, Johanna Draper Carlson and Sean Bieri. Each comic contained a series of “tasteful but titillating” tales of erotic encounters. More recently, cartoonist Spike Trotman has taken over the reigns, pulling together a trade-length Smut Peddler anthology. The anthology is still in progress, but Trotman took some time out to talk to us about what she looks for in her pornography and why she’s spotlighting erotic comics made by women.Each Smut Peddler submission features at least one female creator as a writer and/or artist, and Trotman’s project has attracted folks like Chester 5000 XYV creator (and ComicsAlliance contributor) Jess Fink, DAR and Bucko‘s Erika Moen, Curvy‘s Sylvan Migdal, TJ and Amal‘s EK Weaver and Gunnerkrigg Court‘s Tom Siddell. In addition to Smut Peddler and her webcomic Templar, Arizona, Trotman also has her own book Poorcraft, an artists’ guide to living frugally with illustrations by Diana Nock, in her queue.

ComicsAlliance: How did you end up taking over the Smut Peddler project?

Spike Trotman: I got involved in Smut Peddler cuz I’m nosy and persistent! I bought two of the original minis years ago, back before I made comics professionally. For years afterward, “When will the next Smut Peddler come out?!” was my part if my routine con table banter with Carla Speed McNeil. I’d just jabber and gush about how great the original minis were; Thisseriously went on for years.

Finally, one year, Speed told me I should just make my own Smut Peddler. Initially I laughed it off, but later, I began to wonder aloud (or rather, online) if I could pull that off. Eventually, I ended up emailing the original editors of the minis (Trisha and Johanna) and asked them if they would be cool with me trying to revive the book. They were better than cool with it, they wanted to get involved, too!

CA: You require that all contributions include at least one woman on the team. Why do you want to focus the anthology on female creators? Do you feel there’s a particular way in which smut created by women is different from smut created by men?

ST: I took a little heat for insisting at least one woman had to be involved in each submission, but now, having edited the anthology and with the book about 95% complete on my hard drive, I can say it was the right decision. There is definitely a way women approach erotica that differs from what you might consider standard output. Smut Peddler has a lot of stories where the centerpiece of the relationship is the emotions being experienced by the people involved; that’s not something you see very often in mainstream porno, which tends to focus on mooshing body parts together. If I were to start dealing in broad generalities, I’d say ladies like context. It’s something women who make porn tend to include, and its absence from porn by male authors and creators can be distracting. Guys (broad generalities again) don’t tend to care WHY the sex is happening. And I wanted some assurance, however imperfect it may ultimately be, that the WHY of the situations would matter, and, as a result, would wind up being sexy to a female audience.

CA: What did look for in the Smut Peddler pitches?

ST: What mattered to me was a good set-up. The sex had to make sense (or at least not be distractingly absurd. No paying the pizza boy with a handy unless you have a REALLY GOOD REASON, dangit.) I like for the situation to feel sincere. Not necessarily “realistic;” Smut Peddler has loads if sci-fi and supernatural stuff. But like the people involved really would bang if no one was watching; it’s not just for our benefit.

CA: What types of smut do you think need to be represented more in comics?

ST: I think too many women — not as many as a few years ago, but still, too many — think porn in general isn’t for them. They think they don’t like Debbie Does Dallas (or whatever) because they don’t like porn as a concept. That’s like watching Ishtar, hating it, and deciding you don’t like comedy, period, because THAT was a comedy and you didn’t laugh once.

There needs to be porn our there better tailored to appeal to women. That’s why Smut Peddler had to come back.

CA: Can you tease any entries that you’re particularly excited about?

ST: Oh, wow. I am so thrilled about some of these submissions. There’s one about two guys that are “just friends.” One’s this mopey pierced emo type, and the other’s a jock who recently experienced an injury hellacious enough to put him in crutches, the kind with forearm braces. There’s another story By EK Weaver, the creator of the webcomic TJ and Amal, about TJ’s previous relationship. And another story about one woman telling another a fairy tale that strikes close to home.

CA: I know it’s still early, but do you have any sense that you’ll do more Smut Peddler anthologies?

ST: Oh, it’s still too early to tell, but I would LOVE to put it out every two years. As long as people are willing to buy, I’m willing to be an amoral porn-pusher.

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