Laila & Luther: If You Go Down To The Woods Today, You’re Sure of a Big Surprise

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Laila and Luther, Top Shelf Productions, Aaron Conley, 2014Here are some important things in the world of sex:

  • arousal,
  • desire,
  • active consent, i.e. the decision to get fucky made by all,
  • appreciation of each body involved,
  • a jolly good time, and
  • positive interaction following the deed.

Aaron Conley’s Laila and Luther, available free online at the Top Shelf site, has all of these things! It also has some more good news: it’s in a deliciously rich orange, it’s about a rather anxious werewolf, and the lady who drives the plot inhabits her body and her world confidently enough to get naked in the woods and feel just grand. No-one is idealised; everyone gets lasting satisfaction out of an unexpected opportunity for liaison.

Laila and Luther, Top Shelf Productions, Aaron Conley, 2014It’s a short comic, a five pager, and as mentioned the palate is limited to black/white/orange. I’m on board with this for several reasons: firstly, it reminds me of old Bunty issues. Second, it’s just “very Hallowe’en.” This orange is VIBRANT and sweaty, and (helped by the deft application of white highlights*) it glows with an eerie intensity. When the intercourse actually happens, at the bottom of the very last page (yes, this comic is mostly buildup, which I should have included in the Sex List perhaps), it’s seen in silhouette, taking up perhaps a twelfth of the panel. Low detail, almost no detail, outlines made indeterminate by motion. The face of the moon, surrounded by a rising howl, is what takes precedence — a gurning “aww yeaa” emphasised by flying leaves in front of it (this forest is all shook up). Is the moon a representation of the wolf’s momentum and lust, finding release in an amorous adventuress? Is it a naughty interloper within the story, peeking on the pantsless for added tittilation? Or is it US, viewer, you and I, the voyeuristic grotesque that “made” the story happen?

Whoever it is, it’s drawn very nicely.

*Of course, the orange is more likely to have been the part that was “applied” — the white probably existed already, as a blank page, before any of this happened. Conley’s confidence in knowing what to leave uncoloured: that’s something I admire.

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The rock that drops on your head. WWAC Chief Comics Ed. Find me at claire.napier@wwacomics.com

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