January 24, 2014

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KM Szpara on 4 Comics from Dale Lazarov

[Editor's Note: These comics feature adult themes. You have been warned. -Rob M.]

Review by KM Szpara

Two naked, hairy men ride a cherry red motorcycle through the sky while their clothes fly off in their wake. Their plot is spelled out on the cover page: The Welcome Back Fuck, scripted by Dale Lazarov and illustrated by Drub. It's hard not to share the characters' smiles as they sneak inside to make good on the comic's title.

The frames don't keep to themselves, either. Balls hang over white space and cum splatters from one page to the next. I'm oddly fascinated by the plump feet and grape-like toes that Drub thrust into my face on page nine. I didn't know I had a thing for feet until just now.

Lazarov never forgets that men are comprised of more than their cocks. They're thick calves, curved eyebrows, and bald spots. Drub doesn't skip a vein or hair, or tuck an asshole away from anyone reading over your shoulder. This isn't one to peruse at the coffee shop or stash inside your math textbook.

My favorite panel features the goateed man grinning at his lover, covered in splotches of cum like a car in bird shit. And he returns the favor a panel later, shooting his load across the page onto a waiting smile.

It's this attitude that links all of Lazarov's comics. The next two, Steam and A Good Wank / After Hours, come from collections titled Nightlife Nos. 4 & 5, respectively. Steam is set in what other authors might paint as a seedy bathhouse. But Lazarov opens with a ginger protagonist smiling at a smooth blond, in the middle of a man-wich.

The ginger holds his hand up to block cum flying at his face as if the mohawked man shot his squirt gun in the wrong direction. Whoopsie-gasm! Don't worry, mohawk man gets it in the face a page later, so karma.

Steam gives a better sense of Lazarov's character diversity. His 'porn stars' vary in age, color, size--well, except cock size, but who's measuring? I'm actually surprised not to encounter any transgender men in the bathhouse, since every other color of the queer rainbow is represented.

The protagonists meet by the pool, as the brunette thrusts his (frankly magnificent) upper body out of the water. Ginger watches him help himself into his wheelchair then leans in for a kiss. But I can't go any further without crediting illustrators' Bastian Jonsson (art) and Yann Duminil's (colors) attention to detail.

When you're reading a comic that is so explicitly erotic, without any dialogue or much plot getting in your way, it's easy to overlook details in favor of SEX! The brunette in the wheelchair has appropriately skinny legs opposite his bear-like chest and arms. And the Greek black-figure style art not only decorates the walls, but often mirrors or highlights the action between the couple.

As in The Welcome Back Fuck, the entire body is celebrated with armpit licking, nipple pinching, finger sucking--even a good old fashion round of '69.' It's not often such sexually versatile characters are featured, both taking turns penetrating and receiving--you name it, they're doing it.

On the final page, we see the two holding hands at a restaurant named for Petronius, ancient Greek author of The Satyricon. Details.

A Good Wank / After Hours, another in the Nightlife series, features not only the same artists, but recurring characters. The naked cast seduces me on the cover page. I know I've seen the younger protagonist's pink mohawk before in Nightlife No. 4, where he was also chatting up an older man. In this comic, we seen him in action.

The two meet up with a bit of a 'handyman porno' plot setup. One second they're sorting the mail, the next they're crotch grabbing, discussing vinyls, and tearing off each other's clothes. Page nine features the most gleeful lubing I've ever seen. The younger man wrings all of it out like a mischievous kid with a tube of toothpaste. As a reader, I almost want to clap him on the back. You lube that cock, sir!

After their night culminates in a pinwheel of cum on page thirteen, After Hours transitions to A Good Wank, featuring the men from the cover. I should confess now, this one's my favorite, in part because I'd like to hop into bed alongside the protagonist. We first see him removing his horns after a night working Steam's bathhouse. He waves goodbye to his co-worker, giving zero fucks about his massive bulge that I'm already excited to see in a panel or two.

He ogles every man his bus passes en route home. When he gets inside, he feeds his cat--have I mentioned he's my favorite?--cracks open an erotic comic, and lets his imagination go to town on his dick. His personal protagonists are the man riding his bike in red spandex and the Euro moped driver.

The fictional orgy flexes their biceps and pours beer onto cocks and drinks form an asscrack-luge. Lazarov hits every position known and makes up a few of his own. When the protagonist orgasms, so do his imaginary friends. Just in time for the cat to join him for bed.

The last comic, Bulldogs, strikes out on its own. Lazarov works with two new illustrators, Chas Hunter (concept art/layouts/cover) and Si Arden (art/colors). Hunter's watercolor-esque cover gives the Scottish 'bulldogs' such realism, I have to stop myself from running a hand over their sculpted pecs.

The opening sequence features pinup stills of the Scotsmen hurling weights and rocks, while flashing their tightie-whities. It's a wonder they can even hold their dainty water cups without crushing them.

The detail that most catches my attention, though, are their kilts. The plaid patterns don't move with the fabric. At first, it distracts me because I know that's not right. But as it continues from panel to panel, it grows on me, like this gem of pop art amidst traditional Highland Games.

After the competitors congratulate each other on a caber well-tossed, they sneak away to, well, toss each other's cabers. I'm not making these puns up, they're clearly illustrated. After a few high school locker room 'I'll show you mine' panels, the action progresses to the craziest '69' pinwheel ever to defy the laws of physics.

Unlike my favorite cat-owning masturbator from A Good Wank, I'm not getting off on this comic. But I don't think I'm supposed to. The threesome pose like hairy cherubs or, more accurately, Norse gods. I half expect Thor to join in the next panel, though I'm not sure he could keep up with the acrobatic positions they cycle through in pursuit of orgasm.

By page twenty-seven, they've shed their kilts for colorful condoms--another pop detail. But in the end, as in all of Lazarov's comics, the characters come with fountains of semen and smiles on their faces.

And that's the takeaway, here. You probably won't get attached to the characters or drawn into a deep plot. But Lazarov and his collaborating artists are well-endowed when it comes to diverse action and characters, and an overall sense of sex positivity. Three things art could always use more of, and it's good to see them here.

You can find Dale Lazarov's comics at his VERY NSFW site.