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Angelface #1

Angelface #1
Benoit Prévot
Class Comics
$8.10

Note: This review contains NSFW images at the end of the review.

Set your “way-back” machines to 1922. The place is London. Our main characters are a pair of down on their luck thieves named Red and Alan, nicknamed Angelface, who also happen to be lovers. They’ve just managed to nick a huge jewel heist and barely escaped capture by the cops. It’s a dream come true. The problem is they don’t share the same dream. For Red, the jewels represent a chance to live a better life with Alan, who secretly has dreamt of a luxurious life in America. The story advances as naïve Red grapples with the reality of his lover’s deception, racing about some of London’s seedy haunts in search of Alan. A tip sends him speeding on his motorcycle toward the docks to watch the ship Alan is aboard sailing into the Atlantic. While Alan relies on his angelic looks to seduce a variety of men (and using the opportunity to steal) Red realizes his plan to catch up with Alan by shoveling coal to the engine of another boat. It isn’t all hot sex and high society for Alan. While onboard the fair-faced man runs afoul of on older gentleman from whom he stole. Soon the ship arrives at port in New York City. Once ensconced in his mansion, The issue concludes with the wealthy businessman gloats and leers at dressed-to-the-nines Alan. Just what nefarious and lusty purpose is in store for Alan’s future?

Prévot’s art style is sketchy and energetic with an aesthetic owing to European illustrative tradition and one that I find really enjoyable to look at. The by-gone setting of a 1922 London in Prévot’s story is lent reinforcement by his choice to use sepia tones, evoking the glamour of Trans-Atlantic ocean liner travel and upper crust wealth and the grime of the working class world which Red and Alan so desperately want to escape. Often characters in erotic gay comics fall into either the twink or bear categories—both of which are fine—but a little variety in body type is nice. Prévot’s men are big and strapping, all taut muscles ready to be displayed and enjoyed by each other and the reader. And Prévot puts these men in  several hot sex scenes.

Contemporary gay culture sometimes leaves me with the impression of being unaware of homosexuality before Stonewall. The historical backdrop reminds that no matter how strongly society tries to repress homosexuality it has existed throughout the ages. Exploring the lives of real or fictional gay men from the past is something that greatly interests me, and was a big factor in my delight of Angelface. While the plot may not be the most original, Prévot managed to make me care about his characters. Red’s naïveté is overshadowed by his determination to track down and confront Alan over his treachery. Alan is easy to despise for his betrayal and opportunistic thievery and still I found some pity for him because of his turn of events.

All these factors helped to create a believable setting that added interest to the story rather than merely serving as a distracting backdrop for porn. Angelface is easily a new favorite erotic comic for me, up there with François Peneaud’s and Carlos García’s “Brother to Dragons”. Take some time to check out the artist’s website and then order the book from Class if you like what you see.

Want to see more images of Angelface #1 and previews of the just released second issue? Go here and click on the top graphic!

July 1, 2010
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