Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Friendly Hostility

I came across this great little web comic by K. Sandra Fuhr, called Friendly Hostility, the other week, along with its progenitor, Boy Meets Boy. Obviously with a title like Boy Meets Boy it was the latter that initially picqued my interest, and so I delved into the three or so years worth of archived adventures of Harley, the pretty little punkass with his millionaire artist boyfriend, Mik, and a supporting cast including pet spiders named after Buffy characters, a landlady who's the daughter of Satan Herself, her hitman boyfriend and more. With a sense of humour that's part Calvin and Hobbes whimsy and part dry, acerbic wit, it hooked me pretty much instantly, and I have to confess I spent a couple of late nights sitting in front of the computer clicking the Next Comic link over and over and over again.

Sadly, that comic ended last year, but the artist has gone on to newer, better things. Friendly Hostility again sorta centres round a relationship between two guys, this time between the polyamourous Fox Maharassa (who has a tendency to refer to himself in the third person as The Foxman during his vain attempts to woo the ladies) and his cynical, "son of a preacher man", asexual-but-he-makes-an-exception-for-Fox boyfriend, Collin Sri'vastra. The supporting cast in this are, again, great, my favourite being Fox's uncle Rafi, the shortarse con-man (who at one point in the backstory laid out over the last year manages to lose Fox's sister, Fatima, in a poker game... to a family of cannibals).

I should, by all accounts, hate this as part of my general loathing for male/male relationships the way they're all too often portrayed by women for women. I hate, loathe and despise the softcore bisexploitative pretty boys of certain female vampire fiction writers, largely because I find the characters (pardon the pun) bloodless. Spunkless. Ball-less. There's too many pouty glances, too much sleek grace and androgynous ambiguity, where it should be shameless, sordid fucking, thank you very much. Screw the Goth posturing; those characters should be shagging each other up the arse to pounding techno music. Instead, it seems there's a gender gap that makes the work of Rice and Brite as alien to me as I suspect most girl-on-girl porn made for men by men is to lesbians, the characters existing more to fulfill the voyeuristic desires of the opposite gender than as even approximate representations of reality. Is this a female thing, this pornography of sentiment that shies away from the realities of cocks and arses because what women find most erotic are luscious lips, big doe-eyes and long embraces? Is the squelchy stuff just a bit too eeeeww! to be a turn-on? Answers on a postcard please.

But the thing is, while there's an element of cuteness, of coyness, to Fuhr's strip that might normally leave me muttering under my breath about bloomin wummin prick-tease sentimental sugar-and-spice nonsense, she invests the characters with such charm and wit that I can only give Friendly Hostility my whole-hearted endorsement. The purpose here is humour, not tittilation, and the end-product is sweet, not saccharine, with a genuine spicy bite to it rather than the artificial ever-so-slightly-saucy quality of that dreadful drech written to make 14-year-old schoolgirls twirl their hair and dream wistfully of boys with high cheekbones and perfect hair... two of them... together... yummy.

No, Friendly Hostility has Toaster-Macs, cannibals, Satanist conmen, a part-time supervillain called His Mind Kills who can pole-dance better than any girly... and if part of its appeal does rest in the playful-sexy way Fuhr presents the two main characters, well, that's more just an aspect of the slightly wicked, totally delicious Puckish spirit underlying the humour. And anyhing which has a non-hetero "calling him gay would just overload everyone's irony circuits" character like Collin, whose main ambition in life is to one day rule with an iron fist over a small South American country, is alright in my book.

I heartily recommend it.


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