Top Cow/Image recently released the third volume of Stjepan Šejić’s Sunstone which has proven to be something of a revelation in its grown-up approach to the basics of love, life & sex, and while this may well reside in the “Romance/Erotica” category for its content there’s no denying that this is far from a title that should be hidden in any niche.
Volumes 1 & 2 have already brought Ally & Lisa beyond that first hurdle of becoming a Sub/Domme pairing and while a friendship has grown from the trust demanded by the BDSM lifestyle……the feeling of relief, acceptance & belonging has never been more real for them both. The social circle surrounding Ally & Lisa has grown and we delve into those characters further with this release as Anne begins to appease her curiosity with a Google search for BDSM (not advised) and we see more of couple Cassie & Tom’s first meeting, wedding then venturing into the same BDSM life.
It’s added to a bit further in this book with the introduction of Lisa’s older brother, Mike, who is going through his own relationship turmoil and his reliance on Lisa adds just another element of real life into the mix. These additions to the roster are introduced to help build a more realistic world around the two central characters which it truly does, helping cover a full range of outlooks & approaches to the turmoil that’s building around Ally & Lisa. The pair have become deeper involved in their roles and while the same levels of doubt exist in them about every other area of their relationship, the sexual element seems to be the most straight-forward thing they have to deal with. Although even that becomes more complex as the outfits & role-play takes on a far more powerful significance for them both. The twists and turns of their lives play out with the same air of honesty as we’ve seen before and Šejić seems to achieve something rare in most comic books out there by having us invest our time and actual give a damn about what happens to them.
Now the naysayers will tag this as pornographic or even pervy but that means they have either just looked at the images within or haven’t even read the book to fully “Get It” – because while this is definitely a book for the adults, the focus of the book is something everyone can relate to. It’s got every element you would expect from a love story and while it may not be your a-typical airbrushed Hollywood one, it’s made all the more important by the natural elements of fear, doubt, hurt, lust and everything in between that gets sparked from real life relationships. The relationships that shape us, the ones we experience every day and the ones that make life worth living.
That makes this volume and the two previous ones a joy to read, providing that same escapism that we get from any comic (or other medium) and weaving us into the story as we get caught up in the thrills and fun that’s playing out – I laughed out loud a few times on this one too……just hold out for the snoring 😀 The only frustration with a book like this is that there’s a gap between volumes being released but that’s a testament to just how good this is. The writing is exceptionally well-balanced with a natural feel to all the characters and their lives together which doesn’t offend in anyway but instead to follow that up with art this good seems like the ultimate tease……but in the very best way possible.
You can read this for the titillation you’d expect but the message within the love story is just as complicated and natural as any you’ve seen in or out of comics. Glorious to look at and one to shout about & recommend rather than hide away or keep secret. Kudos to Top Cow/Image again for bringing this type of title to print and having the faith in great creators to produce great titles.