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Friday, April 29, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fearful Hunter review by Sean McGrath

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Let’s the basics out of the way first: Jon Macy’s art in “Fearful Hunter” is superlative. His “Teleny & Camille” was great, but he has (as he should) gotten stronger, more Macyesque imagery on the page. Boffo. And basic number two: the erotic charge of the story is part of the story and not the only story or, worse, filler to bring the book to an even number of pages. I read comics for the stories; I read to get off. Macy has kindly brought two of my hobbies together. Again, well done.

But here’s what I really love: Macy has created intriguing characters in the couple of Oisin and Byron, two men who in the real world I would probably start a betting pool over how long and in what way their relationship would implode. Yes, I know this makes me a horrible person. Still, I found myself pulling for these two to come and stay together.

Oisin is a druid apprentice, taught by the older Tavius, who is full of plots and snares like Old Nick himself. Oisin wants to be a druid, but is distracted by what he is told he cannot have: a life involving other people. Magic requires that he be dedicated only to his work of safeguarding the Natural World. Still, he is fascinated by the wolfboy Byron, and is in earnest to heal Byron’s “sad heart”. Because that always ends well.

Byron, the wolf-boy, is magickal, hot, and as sensitive as a ficus. If I knew someone like this, I would definitely call him on a lonely Friday night after a contempt-filled watching of “Smallville”, but then shuffle him out the door after the deed was done and before I could hear how painful and difficult his week had been (which, yes, I know makes me a horrible person). Byron’s sensitivity, however, isn’t from the oh-so-common “my man done me wrong” syndrome that I’m certain anyone reading this article can relate to. Since he mates for life, there’s never been an emotionally stunted, abusive ex that swims in his subconscious, telling him that he’s worthless. He is simply fearful. And emo. So. So. SO emo. Which makes me wonder what it is that Oisin sees in him, or, more importantly, what Macy sees in him (he is, after all, the eponymous character). Of course, not every love story (and this is a love story) has to be peopled with noble characters of deep-set virtue who are not only self-aware and pithy at an early age, but who have a love like no man or woman has ever know handed to them for no better reason than Destiny has declared they be the Luke and Laura of their age. Flaws like Byron’s (and Oisin’s for that matter) make their story far more worthy a read, mostly because there is no guarantee here that love will conquer all, despite what Shea, the werefox, promises.

What I enjoyed most about “Fearful Hunter” is the world Macy created to house his people and their stories. Like Charles de Lint’s urban fantasies, our and the sidhe world aren’t countless dimensions apart, but literally right next door to each other. Neighbors, classmates, acquaintances could be fey and one would never know. Tavius and Oisin’s keep is a cavish affair, deep in the forest and underground, where they practice magic that should light them up like a Fukushima crab to even non-magical folk. Yet they are practically unknown to the nearby townies. There is a sidhe bar that is in plain sight of every slack-jeaned punk within a hundred miles (have I mentioned the care with which Macy draws men’s asses?) hangs out in with the Cousins that is just part of the fabric of this world. No walls or wardrobes separate Humans from the Others. In fact, it seems that only one’s unwillingness to see what is right there in plain sight is what keeps these peoples apart.

Jon Macy’s “Fearful Hunter” series comes highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lambda Literary SF reading.

Help Justin and I celebrate comics being taken so seriously by coming down next Tuesday to the SF public library 100 Larkin St. Meeting room A and B. Reception 5pm, reading starts at 6pm. There are fifteen authors all reading, very briefly, from their books. It's a great party in a posh setting so come on down.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Arch Druid

The first scene is all about the plot to separate Oisin and Byron. The Arch Druid also has his own dirty experiments he's conducting with his helpless apprentice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More bad behavior

Yes, another apprentice about to be raped by a god. It's a theme.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fearful Hunter chapter three first sketches

Opening scene with Tavius and the Arch Druid plotting their evil plan.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review of Fearful Hunter two on Gay Comics List

The second issue of Fearful Hunter takes us deeper into the mythology of the druids, showing us the price they all pay for their powers. Over the course of this 68-page installment, Jon Macy takes the time to draw lots and lots of (gay) sex, far more than in the previous issue. And he manages to integrate those scenes within his larger discourse on love and need.

Oisin the young druid is finally introduced to the god of his mentor Tavius, a many-tentacled entity who’s fond of human males. Cue the scene with Oisin being penetrated from every orifice. But what could be seen superficially as what’s now a trope of erotic comics becomes in the hands of Macy a comment on the differences between gods and men, where raw desire meets unquenchable lust. For Tavius has never been able to forget the sensations of his first and only sexual meeting with his god, and that makes him less than a complete man—while Oisin seems protected from the effects of the gods’ lust by his love for Byron, his all-new boyfriend the werewolf. The beauty of Macy’s writing is that this protection isn’t shown in a cheesy or naive way, but as something that’s as adult as Tavius’s behavior toward this god is childish, in its refusal to grow beyond the shadow of his father/lover holy figure.

Another aspect of this issue also proved that Jon Macy has thought a lot about his characters: Byron, who’d only be shown as rather carefree, now shows that he’s deeply insecure, fearing that Oisin will soon leave him, and that in his youth, he wasn’t a typical werewolf, to say the least (you’ll even learn where the title of the series comes from). I thought that was an interesting development, since it adds to the external threat of the gods (and of Tavius’s designs on both Oisin and Byron) an internal threat that the young lovers have to face.

Macy’s art is as lush and sexy as ever, with its depiction of a luxuriant forest and of impressively male gods. The sex scenes between the men and the gods vibrate with an energy that feels as dangerous as exhilarating, and the tenderness of the pages with Oisin and Byron making love is carried both by the poetic text and the sensual line that shows the male body as an integral part of nature.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the extremely cute back-up, set in the same world, which shows what happens when a magical young fox steals the underwear of a hunky, hairy farmer. It brought a big smile to my face.

Whether you just like hot, gay sex in your comics or whether you’re attracted to intelligent love stories, this second issue of Fearful Hunter1 should make you happy. It certainly made me happy.