This is a porno. I know that it’s labeled as an erotic comic, but it’s actually just pornography. The thing is that erotica has a story, a narrative, some point to the sexual act other than just the sexual act. Pornography is all about the sexual act. Sure there might be a situation that’s set up prior to the sex, but at the end of the day that set up is not important or a driving force behind anything other than creating a setting. In Sticky, it’s the act of buying a belt. Its two pages of a man flashing his abs while selling a belt inter-cut with the characters undressing. The entire rest of the story is sex, graphic sex considering it’s a comic book. I say that as someone who has read several volumes of Milo Manara’s work, which I also believed was graphic at times.
And you’re right, that’s probably a matter of taste and obviously my taste finds it to be a bit much. I go back to the pornography argument because there are panels that actually support this. There are scenes that show the character’s POV, there are scenes in which we’re shown extreme close ups and wide shots. It’s the medium shots that suddenly take a different angle on the page; a noticeably different angle. Suddenly it’s no longer an attempt at art, but rather pornography. The view of the act becomes the focus of the panel rather than the characters and that’s what separates this from erotica and makes it pornography in my opinion.
Speaking more to the art, I wish that I could say that it portrays the human form realistically, but it doesn’t. The characters are reduced to having different hair styles and looking like underwear models. Now, this is somewhat typical in erotica to have beautiful people, but I have read some stories that attempt to include all shapes and sizes of human beings. Sticky on the other hand plays to stereotypes more than anything. The thick line work only serves to highlight the muscular physique and place more emphasis on the sexual act and I would even guess that some of the scenes are photo referenced.
Numerous people are quoted with praise for the issue/series in the description on Comixology and I can partially see why. This issue is bold and likely nothing like this has been produced or distributed on this scale. It’s a novelty almost. Because the thing is, I don’t know what other purpose it serves. In Click! by Milo Manara, the story is about women taking control of their sexual identity, to be in control of their sexual desires. Sticky is about looking at a belt and then having safe tantric sex.
For me, if pornography is your thing then that’s fine. We talk about porn parodies on the site, not for the sexual acts performed in them, but rather their abilities to tell a story or at the very least the characters and the costumes that they included in them. I’m sure that some comic book readers are happy at the existence of Sticky and that’s fine. But I have to wonder if it’s given a free pass due to the content being somewhat controversial, because at the end of the day a comic should tell a story. Whether that story has words or not, doesn’t matter, but it should have a story all the same. If you were looking for the shortest story in the world Sticky would be a strong contender: two people meet and have sex for several hours… maybe they share a connection there too, but that’s not something the story tells us.
I will point out that I was given a review copy of this from Comixology. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth your money or not and feel free to leave a comment on what you think because this is again my opinion of the material. Keep that in mind if you decide to tell me that my opinion is wrong.
Writer: Dale Lazarov
Artist: Steve MacIsaac
Release Date: 6/19/13
Available on Comixology
UPDATE: I have closed the comments. Thank you all for the comments, but it's becoming more of an internet argument than anything else and we all know what it's like to argue on the internet. I gave the review I wanted to and I treated the material with respect and went in with an open mind and that's all I can do. I have reviewed a variety of material over the years and so I will not justify my opinion further because I believe the consistency of my criticism speaks for itself. In fairness to this issue I did refrain from scoring it on our usual system because I felt that it would give casual readers a bias-ness towards the overall review and the title. Thank you again for the comments as I have heard your feedback and it will influence my decision on what to review in the future, but I don't think this is the right place for the discussion to take place. As I said on the original review, but will clarify and reiterate, it's up to the individual to decide for themselves on whether this series is right for them.