Comic Book Review: Sunstone
Thanks to “Death Vigil”, I’ve been introduced to the wonderful writing and art of Stjepan Sejic. “Sunstone” is the first collected version of his DeviantArt strip. This graphic novel is a late contender for best graphic novel of the year because underneath all the sex, there’s a deep and completely honest romance.
Ally and Lisa meet through an internet chat room. Ally is a domme (the dominate person) and Lisa is a sub (submissive). Ally and Lisa are not completely closeted about their sexual preferences but have understandably had a hard time meeting others that share their same kinks. The entire book follows them as they meet up for the first time and share a weekend together.
From the very first page, Sejic outright says what I, and probably many other readers, are thinking. This is a lesbian BDSM story. How much of this is really going to appeal to me? All of it actually. The BDSM is just one aspect of this. “Sunstone” is really the story of two women who bond (heh) over bondage and find that their attraction goes a lot deeper than their kinks. Sejic writes an incredibly relatable story. Ally and Lisa are awkward, second guess everything and are nervous. This story is all about them meeting in person for the first time so think about all your first dates. You’re scared, are pretty sure you’re going to blow it and do way too much to make a good first impression. Sejic really taps into these basic fears of a first date and it makes these characters even more charming. There’s a ton of humor that comes naturally from the situation itself. It’s effortless.
As mentioned, this is a BDSM story and there is a lot of foreplay and sex. Not just visually but in the way they speak to each other. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is often and fairly criticized for the passive nature of Anastasia. She is the sub in that relationship but her and Lisa couldn’t be more different. Lisa is a sub because of her own fetishes with bondage. She genuinely enjoys this sexual experience. She’s not improperly propositioned by Ally to let her spank her and tie her up. Ally is loving in her role and never does anything abusive to Lisa. Unlike “Fifty Shades of Grey” there’s nothing icky. This kind of story is not for everyone but at it’s basic level, there’s nothing truly anti-feminist or cruel that happens here. The way BDSM is presented in “Sunstone” is respectful and for someone who knows nothing of this lifestyle, my eyes were opened. My own preconceptions were thrown away as I saw these two women open themselves up and begin a healthy sexual relationship. As a feminist, a woman, and a comic fan, all I can ask for in sex scenes is that women involved are in control and that’s exactly what we get here in “Sunstone”.
Sejic’s art in “Sunstone” is out of this world. It’s simply gorgeous. First off the character designs are wonderful. Ally and Lisa are both beautiful women but their proportions and looks are realistic. Sejic styles them very differently and if you’re a fashion fan, you’ll enjoy the different outfits he dresses them. I’m not talking about just the sexual attire either. Their actual clothes look like stuff hanging in my own closet. The art is very grounded showing the range of Sejic. “Ravine” and “Death Vigil” are so fantastical and otherworldly. It’s kind of cool to see him do something much more reserved. Again, since this is a book with a ton of sex, I have to admit to it being very sexy. It’s not done like a porno where it’s so graphic or hardcore. Of course, we see things happen but a lot of it is implied. It never go off the rails. Sejic is also one of the best when it comes to facial expressions. It’s like watching actors in a movie where no one expression repeats itself.
“Sunstone” is completely unexpected and surprising. It’s a book I’m glad I gave a chance to. “Sunstone” is heartfelt, honest, sexy and beautiful. It’s almost perfect. Don’t let the subject matter decide if you read this or not. You’ll be pulled into this world immediately and you’ll never look back.