Things Go Bump In The Night In ‘My Monster Boyfriend’ [Fantasy Week]
It's Fantasy Week here at Comics Alliance, and many of my fellow CA contributors are writing about their favorite monsters. And I can respect that, but why would I choose one monster when I could highlight a book with lots of monsters instead? Especially when these monsters are all really, really sexy.
Published by Iron Circus Comics and edited by C. Spike Trotman, Smut Peddler Presents: My Monster Boyfriend has ten short comics about monsters and the humans who love them. Its highly successful Kickstarter earlier this year (paired with the femdom erotica comic Yes, Roya) raised over $160,000. There is clearly a market for comics full of sexy monster boys, is what I'm saying.
For me, half the fun of this book is in the unexpected choices for the monster love interests. Vampires and werewolves show up, sure, but there are also harpies, ghosts, mountain spirits, androids, and gargoyles. As the Iron Circus website puts it, “Hold on. It’s about to get weird.”
On the human side, the stories chosen for this anthology feature a wide variety of ethnicities, cultures, and body types. There are several fat characters and older characters who find love in this book; they’re seen happily exploring their sexuality while being treated with respect within the narrative.
On top of that, the book includes several queer characters, starting with a trans protagonist in the very first story ("Clutch" by Nechama Frier and Dechanique). What’s lovely is how matter-of-factly the queer representation is framed. While certain characters deal with internal conflicts, no one is ashamed of their sexual orientation. One of the gay characters briefly describes the prejudice he experienced in the past, but even that mention of homophobia isn't dwelled on in the scene, nor is it central to the story. Now, romance comics portraying intense struggles against homophobia could have been fine for this book (they certainly have their place), but it was refreshing to see an anthology avoid those tropes altogether for something different.
While these are monster stories, in line with the anthology's premise, none of the stories are horror, per se. The closest you’ll get is some spooky tension-building in certain scenes. Sure, that can make for fun around Halloween, but don’t open the book expecting gore or frights. The reason you read this book is because it's sexy.
And when I say My Monster Boyfriend is sexy, I do mean it's full erotica. It doesn’t shy away from nudity, and there is at least one sex scene in every story. Plus, with the weird creatures in this book, the sex scenes aren't all going to be vanilla. That being said, if you're new to erotica comics and nervous about jumping in, you can anticipate plenty of relationship building and character focus in these short stories before things get steamy.
There's also something charming about sex scenes where the characters are all really happy to be there. Most of the stories are sweet and cheerful, featuring a human and monster either falling in love, expressing love they already feel for each other, or simply giving into desire in safe and playful ways. Even in the book’s saddest story (Trotman and E.K. Weaver’s bittersweet "Sortefinde 12, 213-7"), the act of sex is a brief moment of happiness and comfort in a tragic tale of loss. It’s wonderful to see a set of stories whose tones and plots couldn’t be more different from each other, but that all agree that sex should be enjoyable for all involved.
At the core of why this works is the focus on consent. All of the stories have examples of enthusiastic consent, usually with partners checking in during the sexy times to ensure their partner is okay with what's happening before proceeding. Even the story that explores a human’s lack of consent in matters of magic (Jess Fink’s "Thirsty Work") frames that lack of consent as wrong, and the actual sex scene is completely consensual. It might seems like a small thing, but considering the potentially unbalanced power dynamic of a monster and their human companion, the fact that all sex partners are happily willing participants is so important.
A few more notable details in the anthology to look out for:
- "Lonesome Palace," by Leia Weathington and B. Sabo, has some beautiful color work, playing with mauve and orange hues for their newt spirit creature. Plus, the tension between their two characters builds beautifully.
- I’ve been a fan of Fink’s work for years, and “Thirsty Work” is another home run for her. I said it above, but she handles the consent issues involved with her monster character quite well.
- Savannah Horrocks brings an amethyst color theme to her story "Nebula," and her character design for the human protagonist is curvy and sweet. I totally fell for her art style.
- "Spoilsport" is the team-up of Gail Simone and Oglaf’s Trudy Cooper, and the story feels like a perfect combination of both their senses of humor. If you’re a fan of either creator, you should enjoy their collaboration quite a bit.
- Amanda Lafrenais’ “Face Value” has the cutest monster in it. I thought that was worth highlighting. It’s an absolutely adorable story.
Perhaps my only disappointment is that the title My Monster Boyfriend is literal; save for a genderless semi-fluid cave dweller, all of the sexy monsters in this book are male. There are in fact no lady monsters in the anthology, which means there aren’t any queer lady pairings either. And while I did truly enjoy the heck out of the stories we did get, might I suggest My Monster Girlfriend as the sequel?