So, I wanted to diverge a little bit here and feature one of my other Kickstarter guilty pleasures… Comic books.
I’ve backed quite a few comics on Kickstarter and so far, they have been really amazing. Not to mention, they have all come with some pretty kick-ass perks. This week’s Tuesday spotlight is no different and I am incredibly excited for it to be printed and in hand.
Also, just as a brief warning, some images in this post are NSFW. So, if you are at work, use your best judgement… Or just be really sneaky.
Romance, Robots, and Hot Sex!
Today’s spotlight features book two of Jess Fink’s webcomic series, Chester 5000 XYV. This series is Victorian era sci-fi, with panel illustrations inspired by the style of early erotic photography.
Book one of the series chronicles the budding romance between Pricilla and Chester 5000. A woman who knows what she wants, Pricilla is a character bursting with desire and sexual needs. Her husband Robert, not sure how to satisfy her fully, creates Chester 5000 XYV to attend to the needs he cannot. Though at first she is unsure about the metal man, his attentiveness as a companion and a lover easily win her over. What starts off as sexual desires being fulfilled, soon becomes an unlikely love connection. The story follows the pair through the start of their burgeoning romance, nighttime rendezvous, marital turmoil, and reconciliation.
Book two, Chester 5000: Isabelle and George, is a continuation of the story, this time going back to the roots of how the characters meet. Isabelle (who also makes an appearance in the first book) is an orphan who is constantly under the heel of her matron. George is a brilliant engineer and inventor, about to make an amazing breakthrough. The two meet and love unfolds, weaving a story filled with intimacy, friendship, taboo desires, government wickedness, and ultimately, happiness. Pricilla, Robert and Chester have their parts to play in this story as well.
What This Comic Offers
The stories themselves are without much dialogue, but the illustrations are able to convey so much more than words ever could. Jess Fink is able to accurately depict the passion between new lovers, along with the sadness and doubt that comes when a lover’s touch is no longer reciprocated. Sci-fi aside, the characters are incredibly real, deep, and relatable. Their emotions are easily recognizable and they are often things we see in ourselves: Lust, desire, doubt, mourning, and exaltation.
This comic runs the gamut of feels, and in between, Fink creates playful and erotic love scenes. One of my favorite things about these, besides their content, is the design around each panel when they occur. To explain, I will throw some comic book vocab at you. The lines that separate each panel are called gutters, and in Chester 5000 XYV, the seemingly straight gutters transform into these whimsical, curvy dividers whenever something erotic occurs. They appear to have this fluid motion, wild, as they twist and turn around each pornographic panel. By themselves, the gutters remind me that sex, desire, and love are not rigid, but are often malleable and uncontrollable.
Fink’s depiction of sex is incredibly gorgeous. Each stage of intercourse is captured with exquisite detail and emotion. For fans of illustrated erotica, this is definitely a comic you should be reading. If you are a fan of sci-fi, you will find all kinds of nerdy goodies wrapped up into the story. From Chester’s functional add-ons to the several steampunkish invention diagrams, you will not be left wanting.
Another thing that is really great about this series, is that it is empowering and non-linear. Fink presents love, unimpeded by the constraints of social norms, allowing her male and female characters to express their desires, however they may manifest. Sex, in American society, is (for some very strange reason) still very taboo. The century may be different, but many attitudes towards sex and its expression are still very uptight and closeted, just like it was during the Victorian era. Chester 5000 XYV is able to create a place for readers to indulge in fantasy without any guilt.
If you’d like to take a look at more of the series before you back this campaign, you can begin here.
The pledge levels for this campaign range from $10 to $350 USD.
The $10 level will get you a PDF of the book. You can read the webcomic for free, but the PDF will be formatted like a book and will not have all the additives that a web page would. For $18 you will get the PDF of the book, as well as PDFs of two other erotic comic books, Fawn and Valentines. All pledges above $10 will receive the PDF of Chester 5000: Isabelle and George.
At $20 you can grab your copy of the hardbound book, and $25 will get you the book and a set of stickers. For $30, you can get the book, the stickers and a pin.
There are two pledge levels for $45. The first will get you book 1 and book 2, stickers, and a pin. The second $45 level trades out book 1 for a tote bag (seen below).
Retailers get a 5 book option for a pledge of $50. At $55 and $75, you get the book, stickers, a pin, and a signed bookplate is added. The only difference between these two tiers is that the $75 level includes the tote bag as well.
For $90, you get everything. You get both books, stickers, a pin, the tote and the signed bookplate. The last tier is the $350 level and it includes everything in the $75 level, plus you will also get an original painting done by Jess Fink. The most popular level seems to be the $45 for both books option, and a close second is the solo book for $20.
There are currently no stretch goals for this campaign.
About Jess Fink
Jess Fink is an illustrator and graphic novelist. Her work has been featured in various anthologies, as well as the Museum of Sex in Manhattan. She’s been illustrating and creating comics for over ten years and has produced several impressive titles. Her other comics include: We Can Fix It, Kid With Experience, Valentines, and Fawn. She has also done illustration work for several other projects, such as Adventures Into Mindless Self Indulgence and Nerd Disses: A Significant Quantity of Disrespect.
Jess’s designs have also been featured on several t-shirts from Threadless, and she also designs and sells jewelry on Hey Chickadee! If you want to know more about the story behind the Chester 5000 comics and how she got into the erotic side of graphic novels, she does a great little interview with Jenna Busch (I’m pretty sure it’s her) on Newsarama.
After binge reading the webcomic, I can say with certainty, that this is a must read for comic and erotica fans alike. The stories are told through beautiful illustration, the characters are relatable and the sex scenes are steamy as Hell.
I’m not a fan of webcomics normally, mostly because I find it difficult to read them. Not because they are poorly done, but because I prefer to have a physical copy of anything I’m reading. So, whenever I see the opportunity to get a physical copy of a comic, especially in a hardbound book, I go for it. And this is one hardbound book I don’t want to miss out on.
As of writing this, the campaign is completely funded, with 17 days left left to make your pledges. This is definitely a great project to support, and if you can’t back it, you should still check out the comic anyway.
**Also, thanks to Jess Fink for giving me permission to use some panels from the comic for this post.
Was this helpful to you? What other information would you like to have seen? Have suggestions for future Spotlights? Would you like me to do a review/preview? Please leave a comment below, or head over to my contact page to send me an email, tweet or Facebook message. Thanks for reading!