Published on September 11th, 2015 | by Duke Of Havoc0
Sunstone Volume 3 Review
Stjepan Sejic returns to the world of BDSM and kink with Sunstone volume 3 from Top Cow Productions. If you are one of those rare unicorns who frequents this little blog regularly, you will know that I have previously reviewed volume 1 and volume 2 and we even had a chance to chat with Stjepan about his life as a comic book creator.
To bring you up to speed if you haven’t heard of Sunstone, it is a sex-positive book about a couple who form a “friends with benefits” relationship with a bit of a twist. You have Ally, a very successful business woman who also happens to be a Domme and you have Lisa, who writes erotica and at this point is still finding her feet. They meet in a chatroom and over time they earn each others trust and decide to meet. That is pretty much it but with collars, paddles, restraints and ball-gags. No seriously. This is what some would class as a “NSFW” book but christ, I cannot sing it’s praises high enough. There is no objectification; sex isn’t treated like a dirty word; the characters are fleshed out and the art is simply gorgeous. If you are already thinking about buying them then go to your local comic book store now or maybe click here to order them online.
Moving onto volume 3, Ally and Lisa have been together for around three weeks, although it feels much longer to us as their chemistry is fantastic and it has also been nine months from volume 1 to 3. There are two themes or plots in Sunstone volume 3 which are: someone with vanilla tastes treading very lightly into the world of BDSM; and the relationship between Ally and Lisa strengthening and becoming more than they first anticipated.
We start off meeting Anne, a tattoo artist who has a lot of friends in the scene but doesn’t really swing that way (otherwise known as vanilla). We get to see her slowly become more interested but also make the fatal mistake of googling BDSM. Like anything you want to research, Google isn’t the most ideal way to go about it. You will pretty much always end up with the extreme stuff which Anne herself does. Sidenote: if you are very interested and want what is pretty much the guidebook to BDSM, you can’t go wrong with Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns. It is a little dated but the fundamentals are there for anyone curious about the scene or is already involved but wants tips and advice. Ahem. Where was I?
Ally and Lisa’s relationship is flourishing and they act more like a couple than “friends with benefits” with each passing page. This certainly starts to cause each of them anxiety as neither intended to go beyond the physical but with the amount of time they spend in each other’s company and in the manner in which they do that, it is easy to see why they fall for each other so quickly. They each turn to their friends to try and make sense of it all and again we are spoiled with honest and open chats between friends. The dialogue just feels so bloody natural. It’s adults in the 21st century having a discussion about sex, love and romance. I’m not sure what else you could want from a comic book.
It is also great to see the world of Sunstone expanding. We get to see the secondary and tertiary characters fleshed out a bit more as Ally & Lisa become more comfortable with their casual relationship and hang out more, with the friendship groups starting to overlap. Lisa’s brother shows up (quelle surprise, he is a redhead) and we get to see the origin story of Cassie and Tom (Sejic’s doppelganger) who are also a BDSM couple.
I could almost recommend this volume as a sort of “So You Found Out Your Friend Is A Kinky Sod” guide. You get the impression that Sejic has had these sort of conversations himself and explaining: why people choose to submit, why they enjoy pain and why it is fun, is something that he and members of the BDSM community have to pretty much repeat ad nauseam to anyone who finds out they have a kinky friend.
One of my favourite moments is when we get a neat little meta montage of Ally & Lisa trying on some gorgeous outfits and it’s here where the careful laying out of pages really pays off. I have waxed lyrical in the past about certainly pages in Sunstone and this volume is no different. It’s the little touches like the aforementioned montage starting with the frames laid out on material with corset lacing down either side. I’ve gone back and reread volume 1 & 2 for this very purpose because the writing is so damn good that you sometimes miss the little details. You also get some pages where Sejic has clearly invested a lot of extra time. The guy’s art is gorgeous but you can tell when he has put extra effort in. It takes on a whole new level of detail and it is reserved for very intimate moments which draws you in even more.
I cannot recommend this series enough but I appreciate it isn’t going to be for everyone. Stjepan is a real gem in the industry and is helping to change how women, the human form and sex is perceived in comics. Go buy it. Now.
If you haven’t already and you are reading this in September 2015, why not enter our amazing Sunstone competition? Stjepan has kindly provided us with a sketch for one lucky Consumer along with a copy of this very book. Two runner-ups will win a copy of Sunstone volume 3 as well!
Artist & Writer: Stjepan Sejic
Book design and layout: Tricia Ramos
Published by: Top Cow and Image Comics