If you’re unfamiliar with Milo Manara you probably haven’t read erotic comic books. He’s an Italian writer and artist whose art is synonymous with wide hips and big breasts. Humanoids is publishing an oversized edition of his 1998 book Gullivera this week, but is it worth your time?
Milo Manara’s Gullivera – Oversized Deluxe Edition (Humanoids Publishing)
So what’s it about? The official Humanoids summary reads:
After boarding an abandoned ship, the young and beautiful Gullivera encounters strange new worlds and exotic new people, from tiny Lilliputians to teasing giants and a few other titillating stops along the way… The erotic graphic novel adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s classic, Gulliver’s Travels, as told by the unique and playful pen of Milo Manara. For mature audiences.
Why does this book matter?
Manara is an amazing artist who can capture every inch of the human form in an almost photographic level of skill. He’s stuck his typical female character who loves to get undressed into the Gulliver’s Travels story with a bit of humor and flair only he could bring. The story is funny and Manara finds plenty of reason for the girl to take off her clothes. However if you’re looking for a very explicit sex story, then look somewhere else…this story is very nicely drawn, not sickly perverted, and is very funny, making this an excellent parody of the original classic!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The opening page.
First of all, if you’re not interested in erotic comics this is most likely not for you. The main character is given reason to take their clothes off and stand and lay in promiscuous positions simply to show off her body. That isn’t to say the book is pointless, but it’s clearly intended to be read by folks interested in looking at naked women or who appreciate the female form at the very least. This isn’t some kinky perverted book though–this is a fun and lighthearted little tale to pass the time and it’s softcore in nature.
It’s also a pretty fun little parody of the classic story. While the plot is certainly loose enough to send a planet through–a girl decides to sunbathe in a bay, loses her bathing suit, gets on a random sailboat that magically sends her to a world where tiny people live–it’s all an homage to Gulliver’s Travels. You have to wonder if Manara decided to do this book based on the image of Gulliver being tied down by tiny people which takes up the first third of this book. From there she’s hailed as a godsend to the people, puts out a fire (by peeing…okay that was a bit much), fights off a giant rat, and must escape some crazy lesbians who live on a flying island. It’s a wistful story that goes from one moment to the next, while never getting boring.
Oh, how coincidental.
The art is of course the main reason you’re going to pick this up, especially it being an oversized edition. If you enjoy a naked woman you can’t do much better than this. The main character is rendered in nearly every position imaginable, bending over and squatting every which way (even if it there’s a hokey reason for it). Anyone looking for an erotic read should be ready for some interesting twists and surprises as the protagonist does some crazy stuff along the way. Outside of the nudity there’s a lot to enjoy too. The mini-city that the protagonist walks through is incredibly detailed and gorgeous to look at. The sailboat and the waves around it are rendered beautifully too. This is the type of art that deserves to be displayed on museum walls. This story appears to take place over the course of an entire day and Manara imbues a sense of wonderment in the story with beautiful sunsets, crisp waves, and an atmosphere of a perfect holiday.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Obviously if you’re not interested in an erotic sort of tale steer clear of this. The erotic nature of the tale takes over too much at times. The story is also quite silly and almost too lighthearted for its own good. There are plenty of hokey elements that force our heroine to get into sexual positions. Ultimately the story serves to get her in these positions, but at times it’s so forced you are taken out of the story entirely and realize you’re looking at what is basically porn. It’s too bad Manara couldn’t make this a solid piece of fiction on top of being a beautiful work of erotica.
Love the detail.
A gorgeous book that is at times funny, exciting, and inventive. It can trip itself up to showcase the erotica, but for the most part this is a book that is so damn gorgeous an oversized edition is the only format that could do it justice.