Comics Time: Sock

Chris Day, Conor Stechschulte, Mr. Freibert, Matthew Thurber, Neal Reinalda, Molly O’Connell, Emily Johnson, C.F., Zach Hazard Vaupen, Sam Gaskin, Ben Stiegler, Erin Womack, writers/artists
Conor Stechschulte, editor
Crepuscular Archives, May 2011
40 pages
Buy it from Closed Caption Comics

In which the Closed Caption Comics crew and selected associates get freaky. Billed on the cover as a collection of “ADULT STORIES AND IMAGERY,” Sock proceeds in the mighty CCC manner, albeit a pornographic variant thereof. Editor Conor Stechschulte and Noel Freibert go in their customary horror direction, with Stechschulte employing a less dense than usual style for an Evil Dead referencing story of a woman sliding down a hill while being taken advantage of by the flora, and Freibert using his customary in-your-face explicit dialogue (“I’m just experimenting with the corpses, running tests”) and gutterless panel layouts for a “straight forward sex-death comic” that relies equally on puns (holes, bones, and boxes figure prominently) and dream logic to conflate the two impulses. The flipside to their ugliness is elegance, and here’ it’s provided by Chris Day’s almost rebus-like typography and decontextualized presentation of sexual imagery (a whip, a boot, a big black circle, the legs and crotch of a woman in black underwear and garters); one of C.F.’s always convincingly delivered portraits of women in bondage, all thin lines, bound breasts, tile floors, and lovingly delineated spit; and a wordless, benday-day dotted strip from Erin Womack, which convincingly uses corn cobs and ropes and fountains in tandem with drawings of figures in embrace and ecstasy as stand-ins for the more explicit stuff found elsewhere in the anthology. Zach Hazard Vaupen even gets a good gag strip out of the idea of anal sex, which you’d think would be impossible in our assfucking-fatigued society. None of this is a turn-on per se — erotica it may be, but pornography, then, not so much. However, its most effective contributions earn that honor by coming across as genuine transmissions from artists about what they consider sexy, from Day and Womack and C.F.’s poetically understated images to a simple, funny pin-up from Neal Reinalda that simply puts a photo of Nicki Minaj and her cartoonish physique back(side)-to-back with a drawing of Jessica Rabbit. A wise woman once asked, “What do you consider fun?”; when it works, Sock answers.

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