Finally, some controversy I can get behind! All the comics controversies lately have been about DC Comics dropping the ball on their depiction of female characters — and rightfully so, because Jesus Christ guys, it's not that hard not to objectify women — so it's refreshing to have a potential to-do that won't result in bad press for comics. This time, it surely means good press for a quality indie comic that people wouldn't otherwise hear about. This time, it's all about dogfucking.
Creators Sam Humphries and Steven Sanders self-published the self-contained Our Love is Real earlier this year to acclaim, blogger buzz and WTF Internet infamy ("Hey, it's that comic about dogfucking!"). All that worked in its favor, however, as few short months later they got major-label distribution from Image Comics, so Humphries and Sanders have a second shot at making heads a-splode with a sci-fi comic about an unconventional subject. Even the book's shape ain't like a "normal" comic — it's a square! Like some weirdo webcomic collection or obscure minicomic.
Y'see, Our Love is Real takes place in the future — a scant five years after scientists find a vaccine for the AIDS virus — where it's become legal for people have sex with animals. Well, at least dogs, though the term "zoosexual" at least implies dolphins (they're smart!). Our hero, the dogfucking riot cop Jok, is responsible for quelling (to put it lightly) protests from vegisexuals demanding equal rights and mineralsexuals trying to spring what they consider "sentient beings" from jewelry stores. That is, until he meets an intriguing woman named Brin who likes to have psychic sex with crystals…
That's a fucking bonkers idea for a story in any medium — one made even more bonkers because Humphries and Sanders present their subjects without a lick of judgment. Most people will find dogfucking gross, but in the world of Our Love is Real, it's a simple fact of life. People want to have sex with what they want to have sex with, and maybe things would be a little bit better if you let that person have sex with a plant.
But the comic isn't really about having sex with animals or vegetables or minerals, even though that's the part that will stick out to everyone. ("The hook," we writers call it.) It's a sci-fi story — and a short story at that, something Vonnegut might enjoy, were he into comics and not dead — and therefore there's meaning behind the futuristic dogfucking. It's hard not to look at Our Love is Real as some allegory for the state of modern sexuality with all the names changed. Let me regale you a moment: in Our Love is Real, there's a scene of locker room banter where our hero (who, I remind you, regularly has sex with a dog) gets teased by his buddies for liking a girl. It's about as wrong as mocking someone for bedding other dudes, right?
For all its dogfucking (or, perhaps, because of it?), Our Love is Real is surely a mirror held up to our society, a parody of the Conservative idea that if we allow the gays to marry, then we'll let a men marry a trumpet (but only one, because, y'know, we generally frown upon bigamy). It's also a cheeky, delightfully perverse take on a batshit insane idea that doesn't throw its bizarro characters under the bus (too much, at least). Fuck other comics, and take that phrase however you'd like.
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his
comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his other comics at his Tumblr, Sequential Fuckery.