One of the big releases of the year, Lost Girls, from Top Shelf, is presented in three oversized hardcovers within a slipcase. Although it comes with a hefty pricetag, it's well worth the $75 for this deluxe presentation. Moore and Gebbie set off on an ambitious venture with this project, hoping to reclaim pornography as art. And while it is tastefully presented, I think John Cameron Mitchell's film Shortbus was more successful at integrating pornography into his artform by establishing fully-realized characters with real dilemmas and feelings. The three girls featured in this graphic novel are fairly flat, as their characterization comes pretty much from the same angle every time - that of their sexual history and desires.
Lost Girls gives a glimpse into the lives of Wendy, Dorothy and Alice, relating the events from their sexual escapades to make them fit the stories of Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz and Alice In Wonderland repectively, in grounded, more life-like versions of the fantasies that depict characters from each story as sexual partners and voyeurs. The three girls who come to meet each other at a hotel come to be friends and share their stories with each other as a relationship blossoms between them, culminating in an all-out orgy and some interesting revelations.
Gebbie's art in this book is beautiful. She tries her hand at different techniques that keep the story fresh and interesting, while Moore weaves a tale that seems pretty epic by its conclusion, complete with some genuinely erotic scenes. The creators aren't very shy about broaching the subjects of incest or sex with minors, and show no consequence to fornicating without protection, but as is stated in the story, fantasies are all right because we know they are fantasies. It would be appalling for a mother and child to have sex except within our imaginations, but we must be free to tell these sorts of stories nonetheless.
All that being said, this isn't a perfect work by any means. Toward the end of the third volume, the story does grow a little tired, and the gasping amid storytelling gets a little annoying, as does the same phrases the characters call out in moments of passion. But this was a really interesting, beautiful project put out by the husband and wife team that is an instant classic, and belongs on the bookshelf of every serious collector. I enjoyed this book immensely. A