BOYTOONS MAGAZINE #54 – Elegant Madness: BoysLove at its best!

Last year, Fraz and I decided that it was time to expand the Class Comics catalog of titles by bringing on board new artists and writers. We had become pals with the folks at what was then called Studio Plug n’ Play, and Tina Anderson, AKA Gynocrat in particular was someone with whom we got along swimmingly. It didn’t take long before we commissioned a Camili-Cat one-shot book from Gynocrat and her artist pal Caroline Monaco, AKA Kheelan.

The book entitled “Diplomatic Immunity” saw Cam and Lanor show us a new side of their relationship which to date had not been explored. The story was lovely and very charming, and the art had the wonderful Japanese Yaoi flare to it.

Since that time, Gynocrat and I have remained in contact, and she is always so kind to send along complimentary copies of new issues that she and her artist pals, now known to the world as ELEGANT MADNESS, have created. Each book is a pure delight of sublime story telling, clever dialog and beautiful, ink-rich illustrations. The latest project I received from Gynocrat was their Trigun Fan Book entitled “FUTZ”. I savored every page… but still, my understanding of Yaoi remained quite frankly somewhat underdeveloped. Soooooo… I went to the expert! I asked Gynocrat to give me an education, and this is what she had to say:

“Japanese Yaoi or what is called BL [BoysLove] is for women, by women. However, in the west, the genre appeals to gay men and so the creators of Western BL make stories that appeal to a genderless audience. In the west there are ‘traditionalist fans’ who only love ‘yaoi’ from Japan, and tend to rebuke anything that isn’t drawn with the Japanese aesthetic of impossibly beautiful men, or stories that are purely fantastical in terms of real life gay constructs.”

Women creating homoerotic BoysLove stories for other women? Well, why not! Men have been creating woman on woman stories for other men for years, haven’t they?

Tina continues on to say “Because most traditionalist fans have only been exposed to the ‘best of’ Japanese Yaoi, they ignore anything created in the West that isn’t impossibly perfect. This isn’t a bad thing; they’re just a market that knows what it likes. On the flip side are fans that dislike ‘Japanese yaoi’ yet are into homoerotic comics.”

Not all of Yaoi stories are made by women, for women – Just look at Iris Print’s latest anthology, When Worlds Collide–it’s got a gender equal team of creators telling homoerotic stories with various art styles. Tina Anderson is one of the creators in this book.

So, armed with a better understanding of the genre, I feel that I can now bring you a better, more informed write up on the good folks at Elegant Madness. Simply put, these are very talented people who create stories and art I like. I am a gay man, and their work appeals to me. Just because the genre of work they create is not as familiar to me as North American comics does not make it any less enjoyable.

Certainly, there are die hard fans of any genre who tend to stick exclusively to their favored kind of comics. That’s all fine and dandy, but think of what they might be missing.

Elegant Madness has a wonderfully sexy approach to BL that can certainly get torrid when the time is right, but that mostly approaches each story with a great deal of finesse. They are comics featuring men on men having sex, but the sex is never simply tossed in, and never overly graphic. Instead it is skillfully wrapped in a story crafted to ensconce you completely into the world of these characters that are far more complex than one might initially imagine characters in a comic that depicts sexuality could be.

Perhaps it is the feminine touch? Perhaps the fact that a woman is creating these scenarios is what makes them so romantic in a way? Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that we are not always in the mood for extreme hard-core gay comics, and this is why I turn to Elegant Madness. Sometimes I just want my Boytoons to be randy yet amorous. In fiction, I am a sucker for romance and the inevitable melodrama that always seems to surround it, and as a Gay man, I know I am not alone.

So for those of you who are not familiar with Yaoi but are curious, my advice is to begin with a tasty little dish from Elegant Madness– say perhaps their new book entitled “Only Words” . You’ll love the fact that the stories are always intelligent and compelling, and that the art (especially when created by Kheelan) is always candy for the eyes!

In the end, it would be an outright lie to say that I now completely understand Yaoi and all the specifics of the genre. But the truth is that I don’t believe I need to. I just know what I like, and certain things just grab me. Elegant Madness creations are one of those things. So whether theirs is a genre that predominately appeals to a specific crowd or not isn’t really the issue here, at least not to me, because I find it appealing!

Comments

  1. Hey Patrick!

    You know what? I love the fact that there are women doing Gay Homo Erotica for men. And do you want to know why? It’s because women can bring back the sensuality that we as men sometimes forget about.

    I remember Tina saying in one of your recent posts that there are some men who are fans of being just turned on. To a point I agree with her and I would be lying if I said that sometimes I felt that way myself. But reading works by women and even Lesbian ertoica really makes you think that sometimes sensuality is missing from male ertoica.

    I find that when sensuality is missing from male erotica we “program” ourselves to start living out what we read, to an extent. Even looking at Tina’s art there is a senusality about it that’s perfect and right.

    I’m not sure where I am heading with this, but it’s nice to see that women writers and artists can take the testosterone out of gay sex and inject it with something almost “spiritual” to the story.

    So, I guess I do know where I am heading on this, It’s o.k for men to be romantic with each other, through touch, kissing and just being close to the person at the time.

    I think it’s nice that people like Tina & Caroline are there to inject sensuality into what we read and it’s nice knowing that they are the kick in the pants that us boys sometimes need to remind us to go and buy a bunch of flowers and telling our partners just how much we love them with out it looking like a scene from a porn movie.

    Nice to see a post on Tina – she who makes dirty words using letters in Alphabet soup!

    Manny

  2. T Anderson says

    Thank Manny! I’m shocked this entry got any commnets at all. 0_0. Caroline’s art does reflect a certain masculinity, which I think, in part, is why she isn’t popular with ‘female fans’ of ‘BL manga’. I also tend to write our works with a bit too much ‘manly’ reflection, another thing that tends to piss off the ‘fangirl’ contigent.

    Thank you for the kind words, they are appreciated. Perhaps Patrick will take pity on us, and give us another opportunity to work with Class Comics again. ^_-

  3. Tina!

    You and Caroline have an amazing gift and talent, and it will go noticed in time and it doesn’t matter if your fangirl base get’s a bit pissed off with you either.

    You are doing something that comes straight from the heart and when things come from that special place inside you – then you know you are doing something right!

    Don’t ever compramise the way you choose to express yourself for anyone, life is to short for that. And if anyone questions you, all you have to remember is this “I am Tina, and I do things the way I do because I can.”

    Manny

  4. I think there is some beautiful art that comes from this side of erotica, but my preference leads me to enjoy wanton carnality as well and I definitely enjoy it when I can see both.

  5. Hello Folks…

    I hope you are doing well. Just wanted to say a great big thanks for the comments on this issue of BTM! Elegant Madness is truly a studio to keep an eye on! They are just brimming with talent! :o)

    I hope you check ‘em out ‘cause I am sure you will discover something wonderful!

    Hugz + kisses,
    Patrick XOXOX

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