While the book & recent movie of 50 Shades of Grey may have become a hollow, sexual throwaway experience……something like Sunstone takes the same themes and adds real heart to a title that appears in the “Erotic/Romance” category.
Initially released as a webcomic through Deviantart Top Cow/Image Comics saw sense and brought Stjepan Šejić’s creation to print with Volume One introducing us to our two main characters Lisa Williams & Ally Carter as their online relationship takes a leap forward to the next level and beyond. Both with very particular sexual tastes as Ally yearns to dominate and Lisa is more than willing to be submissive…….their desires to meet and take things further play a key part in what turns out to be a surprising tale.
The fear & excitement of a new relationship may be daunting enough but to see this first time same-sex experience for them both go far beyond a normal level of trust and into new territory is far from a sordid affair. In fact, the lesbian couple become instantly endearing as while steering clear of an all-out sex-fest and instead focusing on the intimacy between the new couple. OK, there’s leather, chains and more involved as you’d expect from a BDSM tale but Stjepan manages to handle the whole subject with an air of humour, tenderness and honesty that makes this release more enlightening than arousing.
The overall outcome is a story of real love with a frank look at what part sex plays in this and any relationship. There will be those that will probably boycott this for the erotic tagline but if they do…..then they’re missing the whole point. Lisa & Ally represent a strong same-sex couple who fully accept each other and understand what drives each other…..albeit from the opposite sides of a kinkier coin than other relationships depicted in comics. That in itself is a breath of fresh air which reflects a higher level of maturity than any previous depictions which are either too over-the-top or a crude caricature of some preconceived stereotypes.
What we end up with is a story that breaks the mould and we should be thankful that the likes of Top Cow & Image are willing to look outside the mainstream and bring us stories that are different, smart & bold in their willingness to tackle real issues for a change.
Volume one is available now and Volume Two is due for release later this year.