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The Mary Sue Interviews Artists of Smut Peddler 2014

Interview

“It’s about an alien who crash lands on Earth and a lonely mechanic from an all boys college who helps him fix his ship,” says Jess Fink of “How You Gonna Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm?,” her submission to adult comics anthology Smut Peddler.

Spacecraft repairs might not seem like the setting for your typical porn, but Fink’s story is a perfect fit for Smut Peddler 2014, the latest installment of the erotic collection created by artist C. Spike Trotman. Specifically woman-centric, the original Smut Peddler launched on Kickstarter in 2012, earning $80,000 and coming out to great critical acclaim. The 350-page volume proved once and for all that erotic comics focusing on women’s sexualities could sell, and it wasn’t long before a sequel was planned. Smut Peddler 2014 received almost ten times its original goal, clocking in at an impressive $185,000.

The collection, available to Kickstarter backers in August, was created by writer, artist, and publisher (with her imprint, Iron Circus Comics) C. Spike Trotman. Since 2003, Smut Peddler has stood apart for its commitment to giving women a voice in porn, and Fink believes wholeheartedly in its message of accessibility. “The fact is women like erotica,” she says, “but many feel, as I felt when I first started looking for erotica, that there just isn’t very much of it that is made for women.”

Fink is no stranger to erotic art. She’s the creator of adult comics like steampunk robot-themed Chester 5000 XYV and We Can Fix It!, a tale of time travel. Smut Peddler’s inclusivity is something she’s tried to put forward with her own work. “There should be variety in porn, and the erotica that Smut Peddler proudly showcases is trying to create a safe space for people whose sexual desires are often overlooked.”

For Erika Moen, primarily known for Oh Joy, Sex Toy, a weekly webcomic (and soon to be book) review of all things sexy, the anthology serves to “fill the gaps not being fulfilled by regular, mainstream, made-for-straight-white-cis-men pornography.” Her story—a comic called “Easy” about best friends Jack and Sean, who meet Margot at a bar and bring her home for “seven pages of boning”—was featured in the original anthology, with the characters coming back for a second go at each other for 2014.

For both Fink and Moen, the sex positivity of the anthology is a major asset. Moen in particular was “delighted by the premise of Smut Peddler,” stating that it’s “not easy to find well-drawn porn comics that show all the participants giving enthusiastic consent, with a focus on lady pleasure.” As far as she’s concerned, “everyone should be enjoying themselves.”

Danielle Corsetto also feels like Smut Peddler is a safe place for sex, an important quality for a comic creator looking to flex their erotica muscles. Corsetto, the brains behind the very popular Girls with Slingshots, wanted to show her fans what would happen if she had room to draw explicit sex scenes, free from the self-imposed family-friendliness of her regular strip. “Putting it in an anthology—hidden among other creators and behind a pseudonym—seemed like the perfect way to try my hand at drawing a smut story, without bringing too much attention to it,” she says. “[I] just wanted to dip my toe into it. Just the tip!”

Erotic art has been a mainstay for much of human history, but given the current male-gaze seeped mainstream comic industry, it’s refreshing to see a more varied and true-to-life representation of sexuality gain traction. Smut Peddler is riding the wave of made-for-women porn that is appearing “as fast as we want it to exist,” says Corsetto. And the sheer variety of those reading it is reflected in the content being produced. Corsetto’s submission? All about a couple the morning of their wedding and the groom’s open-minded pre-wedding gift to his bride. Corsetto won’t say much about it, teasing with the phrase “happy poly couple.”

And if weddings and bar hookups aren’t your speed? How about a story that takes place in a village frightened of witches, featuring the sorceress who terrorizes them and the virgin meant to appease her ravenous appetite? That particular tale is brought to you by Megan Rose Gedris, who has been drawing porn comics professionally for years and saw Smut Peddler as an opportunity to take part in a project “about what women want, for once,” as well as a way to broaden her reach. “Any time you can be accepted by such a well-received publication, it can only add to your legend.”

Gedris, whose previous work includes Meaty Yogurt and I Was Kidnapped by Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space, has long used comics to explore and learn more about her own sexuality. “I would draw dirty little comics for myself before burning them so my parents couldn’t find them. I loved reading other people’s dirty comics, too. It seemed more inviting to me than photos or videos. They had stories, and I like stories.”

The contributing artists are nothing if not excited to be a part of a fresh look at erotica, to the point where the focus on women seems like icing on the cake (a cake that is probably hiding a be-tasseled dancer). “I like portraying sex as fun and human,” says Moen, “not unrealistic androids doing things that look like they’d be uncomfortable in real life.” Corsetto, for her part, thinks everyone can benefit from the safe, smutty entertainment. “There’s a lot of porn out there that you may consider to be ‘for men’ that isn’t terribly male-friendly when you get down to it.”

It’s clear that the artists have their own reasons for banding together for some good, filthy fun, but all can definitely agree with Fink’s ringing endorsement: “These books are unbelievably hot and sexy!”

Alyssa Favreau is a freelance writer and designer based in Montreal, Quebec. She is the assistant publisher at Maisonneuve magazine and also has a blog, Unfridged. Follow her at @AlyssaFavreau.

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