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Lost Girlsby Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie
"It's difficult to endorse a book of such potency without coming across as a letch; however there are larger issues being addressed (isn't that always the pornographer's apology?) in Lost Girls. Yes, the book wears its pornographic bona fides on its sleeve, but it never justifies the behavior of any of the characters....Far be it from me to say that if you have an aversion to graphic erotica that Lost Girls will change your mind. However, if you're not easily offended, there are visual and cognitive rewards to be had. All of this is a rather long way of saying that Lost Girls is a trip worth taking if you don't mind the scenery." Gerry Donaghy, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Can pornography be art? Can an erotic graphic novel have literary merit? Can both men and women enjoy explicit images? Moore and Gebbie set out to answer these difficult and ambitious questions in Lost Girls, a 240-page fully painted story that has been in the works for over a decade. Like he did in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moore revisits characters from Victorian fiction, this time children's literature. The three protagonists are fictitiously based on the familiar faces from Wonderland, Oz, and Neverland, who meet as grown women in a mysterious hotel in 1913 England. There, they embark on a journey through an erotic fantasy world of their own conjuring, all rendered in Gebbie's beautifully painted, full-color art.
"[Signature] Reviewed by Neil Gaiman. Almost 10 years before his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen took many of the figures of Victorian popular fiction on a remarkable romp, Alan Moore, in collaboration with underground artist Melinda Gebbie, began Lost Girls, with a similar, although less fantastical, conceit: that the three women whose adventures in girlhood may have inspired respectively, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Wendy and the Wizard of Oz, meet in a Swiss hotel shortly before the first World War. Wendy, Dorothy and Alice, three very different women — one jaded and old; one trapped in a frigid adulthood; the last a spunky but innocent young American good-time girl — provide each other with the liberation they need, while also providing very different (and, for this is a pornography, very sexual) versions of the stories we associate with them. We go with the girls, in memory, to the incidents that became the Rabbit Hole, Oz and Neverland. As a formal exercise in pure comics, Lost Girls is as good as anything Moore has written. (One of my favorite moments: a husband and wife trapped in a frozen, loveless, sexless relationship, conduct a stiff conversation, laced with unconscious puns and wordplay, moving into positions that cause their shadows to appear to copulate wildly, finding the physical passion that the people are denied.) In addition to being a master-class in comics technique, Lost Girls is also an education in Edwardian smut — Gebbie and Moore pastiche the pornography of the period, taking in everything from The Oyster to the Venus and Tannhauser period work of Aubrey Beardsley. Melinda Gebbie was a strange and inspired choice as collaborator for Moore. She draws real people, with none of the exaggerated bodies usual to superhero or porno comics. Gebbie's people, drawn for the most part in gentle crayons, have human bodies. Lost Girls is a bittersweet, beautiful, exhaustive, problematic, occasionally exhausting work. It succeeded for me wonderfully as a true graphic novel. If it failed for me, it was as smut. The book, at least in large black-and-white photocopy form, was not a one-handed read. It was too heady and strange to appreciate or to experience on a visceral level. (Your mileage may vary; porn is, after all, personal.) Top Shelf has chosen to package it elegantly and expensively, presenting it to the world not as pornography, but as erotica. It is one of the tropes of pure pornography that events are without consequence. No babies, no STDs, no trauma, no memories best left unexamined. Lost Girls parts company from pure porn in precisely that place: it's all about consequences, not to mention war, music, love, lust, repression and memory. Neil Gaiman is the author of the bestsellers Anansi Boys and American Gods. Films based on his books Stardust and Coraline are due in 2007 and 2008, respectively." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Moore's fiancee is an integral part of Lost Girls....And her very presence as a muse for Moore's tale defeats any argument that Lost Girls is sexist — a ridiculous assault, as Lost Girls is far more told from the female point of view than male." Blogcritics.com
"The work voices an impassioned defense of artistic freedom that stresses that fiction and fantasies aren't the same as actual events and behavior....Gebbie's delicate, painted style, rife with art nouveau references, somewhat mitigates the sensational subject matter." Booklist
"A beautiful dirty book 16 years in the making, writer Alan Moore and artist Melinda Gebbie's luminous (porno)graphic novel Lost Girls is to erotic literature what Moore's now classic 1987 Watchmen was to the superhero scene." Richard Gehr, The Village Voice
"So Lost Girls is shocking, it's lovely, it's ambitious, it's grandly clever — but is it any good? Yes: It's very, very good, if flawed. Parts of it are some of the most extraordinary stuff Alan Moore has ever written; parts of it made me want to tear my own eyes out." Douglas Wolk, Salon.com
For more than a century, Alice, Wendy and Dorothy have been our guides through the Wonderland, Neverland and Land of Oz of our childhoods. Now like us, these three lost girls have grown up and are ready to guide us again, this time through the realms of our sexual awakening and fulfillment. Through their familiar fairytales they share with us their most intimate revelations of desire in its many forms, revelations that shine out radiantly through the dark clouds of war gathering around a luxury Austrian hotel. Drawing on the rich heritage of erotica, Lost Girls is the rediscovery of the power of ecstatic writing and art in a sublime union that only the medium of comics can achieve. Exquisite, thoughtful, and human, Lost Girls is a work of breathtaking scope that challenges the very notion of art fettered by convention. This is erotic fiction at its finest. Similar to DC's Absolute editions of Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Lost Girls will be published as three, 112-page, super-deluxe, ovesized hardcover volumes, all sealed in a gorgeous slipcase. It will truly be an edition for the ages.
About the Author
Alan Moore is an award-winning writer who entered scripting in 1980. He entered the American comics scene in 1983 with DC Comics' Swamp Thing and the acclaimed Watchmen with Dave Gibbons. In 1988, Moore set up his own publishing imprint, Mad Love Publishing.
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