Slipshine by Josh Lesnick et al., reviewed by Meaghan Quinn
Let's say you like television shows about how to cook chicken, because chicken is your favorite food. There are a million ways to cook chicken, and many of them are very basic and ordinary – these aren't going to be as interesting on television as the unusual ones. You might have a few favorite recipes, but you still enjoy watching chicken be prepared in a different way. What this boils down to is a wacky metaphor for how to approach pornographic comics as a reviewer and not a consumer. If you think of Slipshine as a TV cooking show, it would be a sort of multi-cook Iron Chef with everyone doing many different things to chicken, and some not cooking it at all. You might not want to eat everything they serve, or even watch, but it'd be a pretty awesome show altogether.
Slipshine is a collective of sex-tastic comics managed by Josh Lesnick, including several works which are his own. Almost all the material is "members-only", and the format is as much akin to that of porn sites than subscription-based comics sites like Modern Tales. Price varies according to the subscription package you choose, but is very low considering the amount of material currently available, and the voracity of updates per month. According to the site, 800 pages of material currently exist, and 60 new pages are added each month. There are approximately 40 comics – each in various stages of completion – in total, a free comic for non-subscribers, and a multitude of extras.
Of the many comics available, only a few are completed, finished works. There are many short stories, including some by Lesnick that tie in with his famous comic Wendy. The other shorts range from random sex, hot random sex, magical realism sex, bored sex, voyerism, all the way to a Yu-Gi-Oh parody. Yes. A Yu-Gi-Oh parody.
Best use of the phrase "send them to another dimension" ever.
The only finished longer story is Eisu's Oh My Devil. The devil in question is Azazel, a soul trader with tacky posters put up around town where desperate young girls can easily access them. The desperate young girl in this story is clever enough to work around the rules and get what multiple wishes in exchange for her virginity, not her soul. In consequence, she has to be Azazel's slave, and when another devil shows up, it's got enough convenience to be a sitcom. "Three's Company", no less. Oh My Devil starts off clumsy, but improves both in artwork and storytelling as it goes. It ends up being a tender love story, surprisingly enough.
The rest of the serials are ongoing, in two different updating classes. Some are regular (Sekilala, Hot Cake Theater, and Cherry Bomb), while the rest are classified as infrequent. Of the latter variety two stand out in their own peculiar way. Chiba, by Secret Agent 0069, is a sex, drugs, and guns comic, focusing on a trio of robbers who are unabashed in their penchant for marijuana and gettin' it on, wherever they are. The characters are unbelievable, despite being in a somewhat serious story, but that's the point. They are meant to shock ("Mario, aside from being an insatiable drug addict, is also a dirty fucking Communist.") and amuse ("Damn it's hot. I'm sweating like R-Kelly at a Girl Scout meeting.") in a sexy, sexy way. The art is some of the most crisp and professional of all the comics on the site.
Love is Neon Green by Mazohyst is on the other side of the spectrum, with wacky art, wacky writing and the Lord's sexual aid "bringing happiness to naked young ladies in need...". This brightly colored comic is a great representation of the humor mixed with sexual situations found aplenty on Slipshine. Two young ladies, drawn in an utterly adorable style, parody fighting games in their lovemaking before being interrupted by the aforesaid angel.
Other short comics on the site, like the unfinished Like Magic by GD-kun, have the same sense of weirdness amidst the sex and wicked humor, but none are nearly as successful as Love Is Neon Green. Excepting, of course, the truly nonsensical Dickfuck City by EVERYBODY. Everybody gets in on this one. Pikachu, Mojo Jojo… or actually, many of the authors of other Slipshine comics draw this comic page by page. The wackiness abounds. If you never thought porn could be drop-dead funny, the price of admission to this comic is well worth expanding your mind.
Not every comic is humorous, and unfortunately the more serious stories fail as often as not, if indeed there is any attempt at a story at all. Cherry Bomb by john j is easily the worst comic on the site if taken as a comic and not a sequence of images of f***ing. Sex is its goal through and through, with but a nod to situation, characters, or emotion. It's merely sequential sex, nothing else, with cheesy dialogue straight out of soft-core porn from the 70s. The Cherry Bomb comics are nigh unreadable except as pure pornography. One of the stories, "The Chance of the Last Year", starts off with some plot and some non-cliched characters, but deviates into "porn talk" pretty quickly, and you get back to the same-old same-old.
Sekilala is the crown gem of the entire site. The story is set in some mythical high school where the teachers are notably absent, and most of the classes seem to be run by senior student Neburi-sempai. Neburi is thus there to take under her wing new student Koneko Masura, who comes to school with a uniform entirely too small for her body and an uncontrollable exhibitionist lust. Her situation, and Neburi's attempts to do something about it, is what brings out the comic's humor and drama. Humor abounds, as in any Lesnick comic, and sneaks in any way it can – whether it be subtle hands-in-pockets or delayed reactions to conversations about Popeye the Sailor Man. The amazing thing about this comic is that despite the cartoony style and oddity of the characters, the situation and dialogue is so very high school and realistic, in a way that uncannily avoids stereotypes.
Hot Cake Theater by Tang, on the other hand, takes stereotypes and runs wild with them. Hot Cake Theater is a bunch of shorts – many simply one page long, using recurring characters as often as not – that spoofs a lot of conventional porn stories, including girls in sailor fukus and tentacle monsters. Tang's take on the classic Tenchi Muyo plain-boy-loved-by-alien-girls is a classic. The punch line is often unexpected and witty, as when a husband asks his wife to have sex with him blindfolded and ear-muffed. She expects he will do something wrong, like let another man in on the action, but no, it's all so he doesn't miss a moment of Hockey Night in Canada. Tang's art is by no means the best, but it has its own style and works well to convey what is going on. Unfortunately, typos and spelling errors make reading harder than it should be and can even ruin the joke.
The one comic on the site available for perusal without a membership is The Pet Elf, another Lesnick creation. Since it's free, it's not cared for in quite the same way as the rest of the site. The comic is a little sloppy, but it does give the reader a good taste of what's in store for them with a membership. It also shows off Lesnick's strange grasp of male and female anatomy. He bends figures to his own will, giving girls strange, tiny bodies with large hips and often large breasts that somehow make perfect sense altogether. The humor here is the same as with Sekilala and Lesnick's other work – peppered with violence, asides, and a lot of character interaction. What starts out simple and slightly contrived deepens and widens as it goes and is rife with characters changing due to circumstances and psychological factors.
As for extras, there are extensive pinup galleries by the artists included, with art of their own characters, random characters, and fan art of each others' work. There are a few wallpapers, though not collected all on one page. These are just icing on the cake of a very well maintained and constructed site. It is phenomenally easy to navigate, with directional buttons constant throughout, and the option of simply clicking on the comic to proceed for the most lazy who don't even want to move their mouse to keep reading.
Slipshine might only have chicken on the menu 'cause it's all they have in the pantry, but Lesnick and his chefs know how to prepare it in ways that are taste-full, entertaining, and certainly appealing to the eye. In other words, if you think that all chicken is the same, go take a bite out of Slipshine's plate. You may never think chicken is boring again.
Even if you're not really into chicken yourself.