Feb 15, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 721: Dragonring #1, 1986

https://www.comics.org/issue/69308/

There isn't a lot of writing online about Barry Blair and Aircel Publishing. I keep seeing vague references to criticisms of Blair's art, based on his predilection for illustrating characters as quite young and androgynous, and then putting them into sexual situations. I can see it in the few Aircel comics I've read by him, and it brings up the notion of the sexuality versus the sexualization of underage people. It's certainly not something I want (or feel qualified) to get into here, but it's worth noting the difference between those two things. Many kids grow up feeling embarrassed by sex, and feeling thoroughly put off by what happens to them during puberty and adolescence. Were we to educate more fully about facets of sexuality during their formative years, these sorts of things might not be quite as awkward. On the other side, sexualizing children (that is, layering one's own sexual desire on an underage person) is not okay. Did I really have to say that? But that leaves us with wondering where Blair lands on that spectrum. As I noted, I haven't read a lot of his work, but perhaps as I see more of it, I'll be able to make clearer conclusions. Hopefully they'll not be gross.

Dragonring is intriguing. As I've been making my way through this quarter bin collection, I've found a few gems that I think I may pursue. Dragonring is one of them. Guang Yap's creatures are Lovecraftian in the extreme, and the pulp adventure style of the story (complete with kid sidekick and bumbling comic relief) is quite good. The GCD tells me that, over 2 volumes, there's 18 issues, which gives the story ample time to develop. And, hopefully, I'll be able to find them for every bit as cheap as I found this one.

A man is hired to transport someone to an island that that person has just inherited. There's a weird temple, filled with odd characters, and there's monsters underneath it. And it's set in China. Couldn't really get more pulp if it tried.

To be continued.

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