Finally, a wordless graphic novel that fixates on all the parts of graphic novels you’re fixating on in any other graphic novel anyway.
Dale Lazarov is one of those names that should ring as at least vaguely familiar if you spend any real time on the internet or tumblr (especially in the darker corners with the cartoon and illustration porn, Animan, and the furries), and his choices of illustrators for his longer form work will definitely seem known to any long time MHD readers, since they’ve all, undoubtedly ended up in one Drawn to You post or another.
A few weeks back, Lazarov emailed me to ask if I’d like to review some of his newest works, and I was more than glad (and a little bit guyshy) to do it. He sent me review copies of four stories and his newest review on Lambda Literary (which you can read here) and I’ve been thumbing through these books on my iPad (naked in bed) ever since.
Pardners (one of the four stories Lazarov was generous enough to send my way) is especially great. I’m very partial to the heightened, cartoony (like carTOON, cartoon) reality that illustrator Bo Revel is able to create with his characters and surroundings. It’s easy to see the influence of illustrators like Robert Crumb and calls to mind a more detailed and specific version of Roscoe‘s illustrations for Handjobs Magazine. Unlike Handjobs though, the glorious, full-color panels here aren’t meant to accentuate a story, but tell every part of it. And it’s to Lazarov’s credit that they do it so well. My favorite sequence shows bulges and narrative, simultaneously:
As the writer (you still gotta write a story, even if you’re not using words to tell it in the final product) and art director, Lazarov shares a sweet and almost wholesome story about two country boys (steel guitars, cowboy boots, bulge-flaunting jeans, and all) who meet in a guitar store, and without a bunch of game playing back-and-forth find themselves naked in each other’s arms (as more grown men frankly ought to do). Presented on a site called stickygraphicnovels.com, you’d expect this to get dirty, and it does. In the most beautiful way possible. These guys totally go to town on each other for pages and pages, and Revel shows fucking exactly the way I like it – present and fun and smiling and sperm-filled (despite making it 35 pages without ever even showing a dick!). Pardners becomes a great title for this because as they kiss and push each other, they’re clearly total peers fucking and taking dick with equal enthusiasm. It’s fucking amazing.
The detailing in Bo Revel’s work is what make this story interesting to read and hot enough to get you hard. Without the attention to things like hairy chests with big, supple, and chewable nips, or the realistic and enticing shapes of these men’s packed-full denim bulges as they stand, sit, and dance, this would just be smutty comic work about two men who like to fuck. But Revel’s ability to convey these details along with expressive and emotive facial features on all of his characters, makes this all something much closer to capital-A Art:
You can find the full versions of Lazarov’s works in both PDF and hardcover here. It’s easy to spend some time on the ClassComics site too, since they all include image previews that would have been more than enough to get me off as a younger man. Although I’m glad to have the full versions to fuel that part of my imagination now.