Masamune Shirow and Brandon Graham: A Dirty, Dirty Pair

Major's goggles, Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell, Dark horse after Kodansha, 1991/2003
Another rude one! NSFW! No under-18s!

Porn comics! I wish I could say I’m a bigger fan of them than I am. Sex unbound from just about everything up to including the laws of physics and the capitalistic forces that keep real live porn mired in racism and misogyny! What a concept.  I’m sure there’s plenty of material out there for me somewhere, but more often than not it becomes a slog through repetitions of those same motifs, just exploded by the lack of other constraints.

Like the sequence in Ghost in the Shell that Claire broke down. I have a big attachment to The Major being queer, but whenever I look at those pages, I just can’t help but come to the same conclusion as Batou.

Shiro Masamune, Ghost in the Shell, Dark Horse

The women involved just look like weird, greased up slugs. Decidedly unsexy! But thankfully it reminded me of what I cherish about Brandon Graham’s porn work and a Dirty Pair fan comic of his that reads very much like a companion piece to the GITS scene. It’s a ten-page story about Kei piloting a robot suit to steal back copies of hers and Yuri’s minds. When she uploads the copy of her to the robot’s computer, it syncs with her own mind and floods her with vignettes from her sexual history. The rush motivates her to land the robot and fuck its dildo attachment, effectively fucking herself by proxy. Sheer brilliance.

Brandon Graham Dirty Pair porno doujinBrandon Graham Dirty Pair porno doujin

The fun of it all centers on how Kei, whose name Graham replaces with a key in dialogue, is both the subject and object as her sexual partner throughout is a robot running on an AI copy of her own brain. It’s unfortunate that the idea of a female character having sexual agency in a fan comic is enough to make the comic notable, but Graham takes it much further.

While all of Kei’s partners in the flood of memories are male, the entire comic defies both hetero and cisnormativity in pursuit of an imaginative and playful vision of sexuality. Kei describes impregnating an alien space prince among her memories of more vanilla sex, but things get really wild when she has a go with the robot suit, creating a feedback loop that gives her the full sensation of simultaneously penetrating and being penetrated. 

The visuals split into simultaneous concrete depictions of Kei riding the dildo and more lyrical cartooning of the overlapping sensations she’s experiencing. The interior depiction is particularly effective at depicting the increasing intensity of the synergy. It moves from an image of one version of her bending the other over to a hilarious composite of Kei sandwiched between a giant thrusting penis and cervix, both of which are intended to be hers. The head of the penis is cartooned to look like her face, serving the dual purpose of being playfully silly while also defying cisnormativity to identify it as her own.

The resolution after she climaxes is where the presumed homage to Ghost in the Shell comes in as Yuri arrives to pick her up. In the mad rush to get out of the robot suit and get herself off, Kei failed to realize she’d landed on a relay, broadcasting the encounter to the entire planet — much like The Major’s threesome was being surreptitiously recorded. As the pair blast off into space, the comic ends with the cover art of the broadcast being sold as “Kei in Go Fuck Yourself.”

Brandon Graham Dirty Pair porno doujin

It’s a playfully silly comic that has great fun transcending normativity without sacrificing the visceral appeal of gyrating butts and sloppily sucking mouths, which is an ethos porn comics could stand to see more of.

Véronique Emma Houxbois

Véronique Emma Houxbois

Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman cartoonist and writer last spotted in the Pacific Northwest. She regularly pens Transmyscira for Comicosity and Crown on the Ground for London Graphic Novel Network.