Review: Sunstone Hardcover Volume 1

“This is the story of how I met the love of my life, that one person that compl…..”

“Wait, don’t leave yet! This book has lots of hot lesbian bondage sex!!!”

The opening gambit of this hardback collection from creator/writer/artist/logo designer Stjepan Sejic is a definitely an attention grabber.  But the truth is far more complicated than the seemingly two opposing poles mentioned above.

The story centres around two women, Ally and Lisa; one is a domme and the other a sub.  From their differing experiences and life choices they somehow make a connection over online chatting and other related fun.  They decide to meet face to face and that’s when things start to get interesting.   Before your minds drop to below gutter level, the interesting part is how well-rounded these characters are, how fleshed out the nuances of the first awkward date and the ongoing tension of a crush moving into something more, coupled with the horror of possible loss and minor discussions about sexuality.  All in all, some pretty heavy topics wrapped up in latex with handcuffs for a bow.

Ally is the domme, more experienced in the world of whips and chains; Lisa is the sub who is looking to move into a world that fascinates her.  Together, they learn about each other, albeit more about Ally as they move from friendship, budding relationship turning into full commitment.  Every element of starting a new relationship is on view, from ex’s, family, assumptions and meeting the friends.  Each element works extremely well throughout.  For those lucky enough to be in a relationship you may well recognise the steps, problems and insecurities that these two go through.  Still, there is a genuine warmth between Ally and Lisa that doesn’t fail to entice.

Stejepan Sejic is an artist who has been putting out some quality comics of late.  Sunstone exceeds any expectation you may have based on your thoughts of his previously seen work.  Here, the dialogue works given the characters real voices; the inner monologues work aiding the characters motives and thoughts, allowing us to reflect on our own real life experiences of love and finally, there are loads of honest-to-goodness thought balloons!  At this point, we should get round to the big tied up and gagged elephant in the room.  The bondage.  yes there is a helluva lot of it, with various poses, ties, underwear, nipple clamps and sex acts all on show.  However, this isn’t done salaciously.  In many ways the games that the two love birds play is more realistic than anything thought up on page or film screen in 50 Shades.  Sejic runs the risk of alienating the reader with the rules of play and impact of after care and the like.  However, given that one of the characters is new to the scene, allows for the exposition and as time goes by, you find the things that may have shocked you at the start of the book, seem completely normal at the end.

If you think the writing is good, then you are in for a treat when you start looking at the art.  Sejic’s figure work is beyond fantastic.  The guy can sure draw nubile figures of both genders.  Also impressive is panel layout, going from full-page, to over laid boxes and back again certainly helps to keep the reader’s attention.  Whilst this is all well and good, as a large part of this book is actually a love story, emotions need to be on show, maybe even more on show than the flesh.  Here Sejic is a true master of his form.  His attention to details, across the whole cast is impressive; and between Ally and Lisa their emotions are on constant show, leading to needs of a caress, a protective hug  or a confirming kiss of adoration.  There is no mis-step regarding the art.  The painted style of colouring gives the book a sophisticated look, whilst also catering to the demand of the “scenes” that are required.

I do have one comment that may seem as a negative.  With the open-mindedness on show, I was a little surprised by the lack of gay/bisexual males in the book.  This isn’t a major comment, but I do wonder how well the book would’ve been received if the couple in question was Steve and Bob rather than Ally and Lisa.

In the end, however, the affection that I have for the two leads, based on reading this book knows no bounds (no pun intended).  Theirs is a story of friendship, of desire and ultimately, of love.  Surely, regardless of gender, sexuality or any particular kink or fetish, we all deserve to experience that?

Writing – 5 Stars

Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars

SUNSTONE HC
Story / Art / Cover: Stjepan Sejic

 

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