When Filthy Figments was first tossing around ideas for a digitally published femme-centric erotic comic, a sports anthology was initially on the table, but “ultimately we put it on the back burner in favor of a food theme,” explains Gina Biggs, who runs the erotic comics site by women and non-binary creators with S.W. Searle. Eight years later and with eight successful kickstarters and over 9,000 pages of comics on their website, Filthy Figments is well on their way to yet another goal with the SCORE! Anthology, which is currently on Kickstarter.
Inspired by sports manga, the anthology promises the same strong narratives and well-developed characters that Filthy Figments prides itself on, with this book’s theme “looking at sexuality through the lens of heated rivalry and deep friendships,” says Biggs, who is the creator of Love Not Found, and will have a new story featured in the upcoming anthology. The definitely adults only stories will explore gender, queerness, and body image.
Like the name of the anthology itself, the various stories range from subtle subtext and innuendo to hitting it out of the park, all written and drawn by an impressive line-up of women and non-binary people. “Filthy Figments invites creators from their own digital division as a way to spotlight the talented people working with us!” explains Biggs. “Aside from the original members, the artists with us have sent us pitches during our open call for submissions. We usually do this once a year, so we can continue to shine a light on up-and-coming talent as well as our established professionals. Alongside Biggs, Jen Hickman (Jem and the Holograms – Infinite), Apollo (Enokan), Ariel Vittori (Little Waiting), Crystal Jayme (Hazy London), G.C. Houle (GCHoule.com), Jennie Breeden (The Devil’s Panties), Megan Rose Gedris (Rosalarian.com), Michelle Parker and Jey Pawlik (Dead City), Rica March (PoppyApples.net), Tsukiyono (Fine Sometimes Rain), H.Pueyo and Dante L., OliveOilCorp (Alone), S.W. Searle, Kecky, Booba, Cari Corene (Story of the Door), Amanda Coronado, Niki Smith (Crossplay), Natasha Ringor (Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon)
Some of these creators took a time out to chat about their own interests in sports and what the anthology means to them.
Where do sports fit into your lifestyle? Are you a sports fan? Player of the game(s)?
Tsukiyono (Break the Ice): I’ve never been much of a player of sports since I’d always rather be drawing, haha! That said, I enjoy watching sports, particularly figure skating and snowboarding. Those two things along with surfing are something I have never felt coordinated enough to do. The only “sport” I participate in is swimming. I enjoy snorkeling and exploring sea life.
G.C. Houle (Love of the Game): I was a nerd growing up, never did any sports! I started doing pole dancing in the last year though, and I love it. Turns out, the trick to sticking with a sport is finding something you actually enjoy. It’s been a great way to connect to my body, good for my mental health, and my local community is fun and supportive.
I’m not a sports fan… but my story is about hockey because as a Canadian I grew up surrounded by big hockey fans. Go, Habs, go!
OliveOilCorp (H-O-R-S-E).: I played a lot of soccer growing up, but eventually my passion veered from sports to drawing and art. These days I’m pretty content sticking to the role of spectator. My favorite sports to watch are tennis and basketball.
Jen Hickman (Ante Up): I played various sports as a kid, but as an adult not so much. And I didn’t really enjoy watching sports until I started watching esports! StarCraft was my first love; I learned so much about how to play better from watching and deeply enjoyed the crazy strategies players would use to mess with each other. For a hot second one of my brothers was in the Smash competitive community, so I also absorbed a lot from that.
Rica March (Dead Heat): I used to be really active when I was a kid — horseback riding, swimming, dog sledding — and then I had to have back surgery which meant no more sports for me! I still keep an eye on the Iditarod and go see a horse race once a year — my mom trained racehorses as a teen, so that part runs in the family.
C Corene (Unicorn): I did grow up playing a lot of organized sports (and also leisurely sports including croquet which features in “Unicorn”) and I think all the sports experiences taught me how to like sweating and enjoy working out. As an adult I walk and hike, because I enjoy fitness and need to straighten out my back after working at a desk all day. Yoga stretching also feels pretty great after painting for hours!
Ariel V (Touching Through Hoops): I was never a sports kid, I was too nerdy as well. But I did a little bit of classical dancing and the love for watching all the sports blending grace and strength and skill, stayed with me. Nowadays I just do yoga not to have drawing all day completely destroy my back!
Jey Pawlik (Touchdown): I used to be big into sports as a kid – my dad would take me to baseball practice every week and I was pretty involved in a bunch at school. But it all started to go downhill when I broke a bone and dislocated my knee. I drifted away from sports and focused more on art – which is a lot safer in the long run!
Apollo (Godmodder): I was an outdoorsy kid always playing in the dirt and climbing trees and I loved to run. A lot. My elementary school nickname was Cheetah, haha. I played a little bit of soccer and softball until I got older and decided I wanted to play the drums instead. Even though I strayed away from sports a little bit I still had that connection from playing in the marching band at football games and stuff. I turned super goth and lost interest in sports almost entirely until recently when I thought hey! What do sports and smut have in common? Hot, sweaty bodies! Let’s draw that! So that’s about all I have to associate with sports at this point in my life, haha~ (I also recently fell in love with archery so I guess that counts too~)
If stories like these had been accessible to you earlier in your life, how do you feel they would have helped shape who you are now?
Tsukiyono: The sports part aside, I like the visibility this gives women who want to write or draw erotic comics. I’ve always been a fan of erotic romances, the fluffier the better honestly, but I never felt there was an audience or an outlet for it. It’s just really nice to see that yes there is a place for this, even if you are extra fluffy!
G.C. Houle: I’m so excited that we have stories about genderqueer characters, by genderqueer creators! That kind of visibility, presented matter of factly, would have been and has been immensely validating for me as an agender person.
OliveOilCorp.: I think the anthology, as well as Filthy Figments in general, offers a space for a range of body types to be celebrated and seen as desirable. When you’re just starting life as a new adult, it can be affirming to see people that look like you have a sense of sexual agency. Especially if your body and your beauty contradict conventional standards. That’s all I really want someone to get out of the comics I make for Filthy Figments: that if you’re round or brown (or both, like me!), you’re sexy as hell and you are in control of your sex life.
Jen Hickman: I got raised deeply religious. Pushing past a lot of “this is not for you” feelings when it came to sexual content plus a ton of ingrained shame took me years, back in my late teens/early twenties, and a lot of conscious effort. Reading stories like these would have alleviated the feelings of other-ness I always had when seeking out sexual content and finding that all of it excluded/ignored genderqueer/generally queer folk or claimed queerness but was either made in complete ignorance or dismissal of my lived experience in favor of some other audience. I get incredible joy from reading Filthy Figments stories- they’re authentic and lovely and very spicy and they feel like they are “for everyone” to their core.
Rica March: Growing up, sexy stories seemed to be divided into either mainstream porn or steamy scenes snuck into romance novels. Score! and Filthy Figments in general offer such a wide variety of stories in such a range of styles, and I think if I had access to that kind of representation in my late teens and early twenties I would’ve spent less time stressed about fitting into a heteronormative narrative. They’re unapologetically sexy, but still come with a strong story about real human experiences made by people who live those experiences.
C Corene: Gender stereotypes are my favorite thing to see being destroyed and Filthy Figments provides me with lots of good gender smashing reading material as well as the opportunity to create it. My whole life I have struggled with being born female, and I don’t feel this is an incorrect fit for me, but rather I’ve been angered when females must act and look a certain way in order to be accepted. I like to read about women deciding to be strong, and I like to read about men allowing themselves to be sensitive.
Ariel V.: They have helped shape me already by being available inside my head, even back then when what I read was the more mainstream erotica — when there was just a bit I could empathize with — or the japanese doujinshi all about my favourite characters. The push to create this kind of story shaped me just as much if not more than anything I’ve read, and reading others doing it in my same generation gives me more of a purpose…and lots more to read, to shape my present self as a storyteller and as a queer person.
Jey Pawlik: As a queer trans person — these stories mean a lot! I’ve made it a goal for myself to showcase all the characters I needed growing up, and characters I think I might need for the future too. Michelle and I picked older characters for our story because people need them. We need them.
Apollo: Since I was pretty active in sports earlier on in my life, I believe that if I had been exposed to more sporty content that didn’t just involve the preppy heteronormative tropes I would have seriously stuck to it. Art and sports just did not mix and “goth jock” was practically an oxymoron. It was just two separate worlds especially if you’re queer and your gender doesn’t “fit in” to sports cliches. If I had more diverse influences I would have totally grown up to be that hot, gay af, nonbinary, goth jock.
The SCORE! Anthology kickstarter is up and running, so be sure to check it out, as well as these previews of some the comics created by the contributors above.