At MoCCA Festival 2010 this past April, I had the good fortune to stumble on the StarFighter booth amidst the hundreds of other indie comic exhibitors that filled New York’s Lexington Armory with throngs of geeks and comic-loving hipsters. The sleek professional style of Michelle Palumbo's art and setup contrasted the displays of her fellow exhibitors.
A large poster with one of the main characters, Cain, caught my attention immediately, as did a t-shirt bearing his likeness. As I flipped through the book and spoke with the effervescent but humble author, I realized with each page I turned that I held one of the most beautiful porn comics I've ever seen.
Gay porn, that is.
StarFighter is a sci-fi yaoi adventure comic about two pilots, Cain and Abel, who are driven to each other by military assignment and sexual lust. Cain is an abrasive and uninhibited fighter pilot with violent sexual habits. He is paired with Abel, a shy space navigator occupied by self-doubt and awkwardness. As Cain and Abel enter their shared quarters in uncomfortable silence, Cain breaks the ice by pinning Abel to the wall and biting off a piece of his lip, exclaiming in a cavalier manner, "It’s not a bite. It’s a scar. Everyone will know you belong to me now."
Even from a heterosexual standpoint, StarFighter’s sexual appeal drips off the page. The book expresses itself so vividly through its art that the text--which remains genuine, succinct, and void of clichés--is supplementary to the story. Palumbo articulates so well through her characters' body language that the story flows with cinematic grace. The plot is rather sparse, but Palumbo develops a rich and enticing environment for these characters through design and ambience.
From the original Battlestar Galactica-esque starships and sleek black spacesuits to the expertly executed play of light and shadow, StarFighter makes up for a shallow plot with visual stimulation.
Although my reading of yaoi is fairly limited, this niche market's primary readers are women. I don't understand it necessarily, but whatever gets more people reading comics the better. However, StarFighter is not for all ages by any means, as its depiction of sex is very graphic. StarFighter is strictly an 18+ book.
Nonetheless, age-appropriate comic art fans would be remiss to not check out StarFighter. Even the more discerning reader should give this title a try--if not for the art, then for the pleasure of handing StarFighter to your friends and watching their faces contort in shock and surprise with every page.
Starfighter is available directly from the publisher at www.starfightercomic.com.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at Stevenmbari.Wordpress.com.
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