Title: Sunstone Volume 2
Publisher: Top Cow Productions
Writer: Stjepan Sejic
Artist: Stjepan Sejic
Cover Art: Stjepan Sejic
There are so many graphic novels and comic books about various subjects nowadays. This is an awesome thing. The best part is that the variety is not limited by one person’s imagination. I mean, I should have imagined that somewhere on this planet someone wrote a comic series on BDSM. First, it’s important to define BDSM. This term encompasses a wide range of activities that may or may not include bondage, discipline, submission, sadism, and masochism. While there is this huge interest in all things BDSM due to the success of “50 Shades of Grey,” I find that “Sunstone” avoids the usual clichés and deals with people.
I became familiar with Stjepan Sejic’s work on Dynamite’s adaptation of “Battlestar Galactica.” Initially, I thought he was actually Marc Silvestri and didn’t realize it was Sejic. I was impressed because while he was influenced by Silvestri, his artwork stands out. I was happy to see him work on “Rat Queens.” Any reader will initially be drawn to his artwork. The colors work very well. His splash pages are tasteful and definitely bring out the emotion in the scene. Even the minor details, spring out. Some of the splash pages are just superb.
Sejic’s jumps right into the relationship of Ally and Lisa. Ally is the dominatrix or “domme” and Lisa is the submissive or “sub.” Their relationship is brand new, only two weeks old, and they met via the internet. Like any new, fresh relationship there is going to be a honeymoon period. The thing is that BDSM requires more trust than the average relationship. Not just for the sub but for the domme as well. It is clear that both Ally and Lisa were not their true selves in previous relationships. This is the first time the both of them can truly be themselves.
“We all wear masks in public,” explains Alan to his business partner Chris. This quote tells the essence of this story. Ally, the domme, wears this mask of dominance and arrogance. As she gets to know Lisa, we see the chinks in her armor. We soon learn that Ally is as vulnerable as anyone else. Eventually, she admits to a secret that Lisa learns from a complete stranger.
If you expect to see T&A on every other panel, this is not the series for you. If you expect to read sex talk followed by whips and chains, this is not the book for you. Some might argue that this trade is borderline porn, but it isn’t. What I enjoyed about this story is the dialogue. Sejic gives every character, no matter how minor, some dialogue that is integral part of the story. If this was written with just prose and no pictures, it still would have worked. Even the banter between Ally and Lisa works so well. I can’t express how wonderfully written this series is. Sejic makes the story about relationships more so then BDSM. All relationships operate on several levels of trust. For many of us, this trust takes a long time to build especially after many failed relationships. Sejic demonstrates this through the dialogue between Ally and Lisa.
On top of that Sejic doesn’t stereotype folks who are into BDSM. I think this is important. Sejic focuses on how people want to explore and how its more than just sex. Sejic opens up a world to people without asking the reader to judge. This is a very difficult thing to do even in this medium, but Sejic really scores with this attempt.