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23 June 2011 @ 10:07 am
On request from a friend....  
Alright, so last week I went on vacation, almost to the tip of the thumb, to stay in a little bed-and-breakfast with some friends. It was beautiful, we got away from the city, and away from everything associated with it. The food was good, the air was fresh, and the place was quiet. We decided to drink that night, and they brought Mr. Daniels and Mr. Jameson. And rum, which I feel is absolutely disgusting. Turns out that my friend Alex was right--whiskey is the archenemy. I didn't realize I'd drank most of the bottle, and wasn't aware that I was inebriated until I got up. Thankfully, I was fine the next morning.

Anyway, I had a friend express an interest in reading gay/yaoi comics. Unfortunately, she has the problem that so many have that, in that she's come across a few, mostly things like Gravitation by Maki Murakami (which seems to be one of the "initiation" comics for many fans of Japanese comics) and was frustrated. She's kinda like me; when she reads about gays, she wants them to actually be men, not twinks who look like girls.

So, since I seem to be the expert among our friends about these things, I offered to help out. Unfortunately, some of the titles I'll suggest got licensed in the U.S., but never actually published, so I'll have to provide scanlations of them to friends. But I'll start with ones that are either free or have been published.

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Starfighter by Hamletmachine is an online comic which is also available to buy in print. It's hardcore, and the plot is almost secondary, but I love it--Hamletmachine really is an erotic artist first (and if you look in the "extras" section, you'll find sketches not only of male/male, but male/female and female/male; no discrimination there), but her characters actually have characters, and we've already had two of the tops fight over one of them, and I'm still waiting for The Battle of the Twinkies, in which one of the main character beats the shit out of anther one.

  Teahouse, like Starfighter, is an online comic also available in print. This one is more softcore (think Queer as Folk level), with a variety of different pairings and a much lighter atmosphere. Even if I weren't totally in love with the characters, the artwork is absolutely beautiful, with a sort of Victorian setting and stunning details in the settings.

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As for comics that were created in Japan and published in the U.S., I would recommend any of Toko Kawai's work. The artwork is more endearing than gorgeous, and the characters are often tortured souls in some way or another. Most is softcore, with the exception of Bondz, which is a collection of short stories. She never does that annoying thing that some Japanese artists do, where they draw the hand but not the cock; with her, it's all or nothing.

If I were to be specific about one, though, I would recommend Loveholic as a good starter. It's a story about an ad-man and a free-lance photographer that he always insists on working with, and they seem like they never get along. I won't give too much, but I will say that, in keeping with her sad-backstory-style, both have had problems with love in the past. The first Toko Kawai I read was called Cut, but I'm not sure that one is so much for the faint of heart (but then, I was like...fourteen when I first found it, so I don't know so much anymore.)

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Finally, one that I loved, and never seemed to get published, was called Kiss Scandal. It's set in the United States, in which one of the senators (young and handsome, of course; he's a total stud) is in a (quiet) relationship with his personal assistant. The title pretty much says what the plot is. It's short, one-book, but totally worth it if you can get it.

And I liked Tokkaido Hisame a lot. It was silly, set in feudal Japan and steeped in folklore. Shinto priest Itsuki has been in love with his best friend, demon-slayer Hisame, since they were very little, and never misses a chance to hit on him in some way. I never saw the end of the story, since they took it down once it got licensed, but as far as I saw Hisame never gives in. Itsuki is pretty content to just be with Hisame, and is extremely protective of his innocent and trusting friend.

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That's about it, as a few starters for people interested. If  I find out that either Kiss Scandal or Tokkaido Hisame have been published or have been posted on another website, I'll come edit this post.

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