It probably doesn't matter much to Sleazy Slice artist/editor Robin Bougie, who proudly categorizes his nervy work as "filth," but his seven years-running porno comics anthology hasn't ever really received the credit it deserves.
See, long before art-porn that's as much porn as it is art got absorbed into the post-Tumblr alt-comix scene, Bougie had already handed pages of his anthology over to Josh Simmons (including The Furry Trap standout "Cockbone"), published rarely translated oddities from artist Shintaro Kago, and investigated bizarre fuckbook ephemera like a deeply offensive sixties curiosity titled, "Squaw Cunt." Certainly, something like Thickness could not have made the game-changing entrance it did without the obnoxiously un-P.C. and oft-troubling groundwork already laid down by Sleazy Slice.
That's not to slag off Thickness, which provided a safe space for some of our best comics artists to investigate sex on their own terms, separate from, though occasionally nodding to pornography, all the while highlighting queer voices like Edie Fake and introducing Gengoroh Tagame to plenty of Western readers. But therein lies the problem with this (relatively) polite porn, you know? It's giving people exactly what they want. It's all rather safe. Meanwhile, stories in the still ultimately sex positive Sleazy Slice aim for discomfort and often leave you outraged and occasionally wondering if throwing dough at this thing was wise. We need this kind of #problematic work right now!
And so, the seventh issue of “the anthology that squats on your eyeballs and poops in your brain” is a typically varied compendium of good-bad taste, with plenty of trippy smut, outré XXX imagery you won't find anywhere else, and a few clunkers that yet manage to muster up a measure of charm by virtue of their sheer weird ass-ness. As usual, the book begins with new work from Bougie. Here, it's "Badass Assassin," a collaboration with Maxine Frank about seeking revenge on a hatefucking member of the one percent named Don Piano by way of an Inception parody gone spy movie pastiche.
Together, Bougie and Frank expertly mix photo-referencing with icky, lumpy detail, sketching out bodies that look and behave like real bodies (the way that Don Piano's gut hangs down near his sad dick, for example, is viscerally hilarious or horrifying, depending on the page). "Badass Assassin" reimagines conventional porn, full of violent sex and verbal abuse, if only it at least deigned to indulge a "have your cake and eat it too" mentality that allowed the women the possibility of taking control. Not to mention, the inclusion of a healthy BDSM relationship between the two heroes gives the pitch dark comedy a little bit of earned warmth.
Technically adroit illustration fuels many of the contributions to Sleazy Slice #7. Two pin-ups from John Howard (a beyond buxom space lass and a retro-licious librarian lady with a scorpion tale and rap video ass) appear on the inside cover and and a few sci-fi poster homages from Wes Crum, best known for Anal Intruders From Uranus, provide a nutty indecent interlude. They suggest characters designed by Wally Wood and Basil Wolverton for a never-to-be-produced flick, as directed by Tinto Brass from a script by Rory Hayes.
"Menace of the Moon-Matrons" from S.C.A.R.—the husband and wife team of Steve Carter and Antoinette Ryder, who've appeared in every issue of Sleazy Slice—continues their John Carter of Mars riffing. Here, some handsome astronauts get stranded on a craggy planet run by Amazons riding dinosaurs and are turned into babies with big heads and even bigger dicks, resulting in an almost impenetrably dense adventure tale chock full of body horror.
Along with "Menace," the most imaginative and rewarding contribution here is Hans Rickheit's sexually explicit take on his Cochlea and Eustachia characters. In this one, the precocious, anarchic twins discover a strange steampunk'd sex machine, resulting in a parasitic orgy. Both S.C.A.R. and Rickheit's work here is powered by an understanding that the freedom allowed by porn comics doesn’t necessarily have to turn towards the titillating all the time.
Oh yeah! This issue is also fleshed with 10 freaking pages from Bougie's skeezy sketchbook: a woman with a wooden stake shoved through her vagina; a large-breasted woman with a fish for a head jerking two dudes off; and a Nazi screaming at two emaciated Jews gnawing on her ass, to name just a few of the rather rough drawings encountered. The compounding of images like these is overwhelming, though it also captures a broad spectrum of filthy musings, for better and worse.
Then there's Carl's lame "Giving Head," the least properly filthy, yet most offensive contribution in #7. "Giving Head," features a woman describing a dream in which she is guillotined and the orgasm she experiences upon waking up. It's an idea that has the potential to be a goofy rumination on pleasure and pain, but turfs out by relying on a stupid blowjob one-liner in which the dreaming woman is the butt of the joke. Shit's just not funny. Then again, the inclusion of something this lunkheaded is refreshing: It highlights Sleazy Slice's chaotic collating, which feels like a respite from all the carefully considered "curation" we're drowning in right now.