Casey's Reviews > Lost Girls

Lost Girls by Alan Moore
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May 28, 12

bookshelves: 2012
Read in May, 2012

I have no problem with porn - as long as everyone is legal and consenting and earning a decent paycheck, let’s all get down with our bad selves. And in my juvenile days of becoming such a super-awesome sex-positive person, I thought I was very cool to bring up sex, very specifically, in inappropriate situations. Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior! Since then, I’ve learned. Sex is something everyone does in their own ways, and everyone has their own secrets and deviances behind closed doors. The people who shout the loudest against gay marriage are fucking the poolboy while on meth; the same people who ate up Twilight’s Mormon sexual abstinence are now buying buttplugs and ballgags because of 50 Shades of Grey.

Alan Moore, in his Monster House deep in Crazywoods Mountain Forest, never got the memo that we’re all pretty open now, or even the memo that Anne Rice was born, and aims to do the same thing for fairytale princesses that he did for the superhero mythos 30 years ago. I understand he and his wife, Melinda Gebbie, started this book in the early 90’s, before the internet was really a thing, and when Bill Clinton had barely been president, and they didn’t want to let all that work go to waste. But, man. This is the sort of book I would’ve found brilliant at 19. (“See, they’re having a really boring conversation in the foreground, but against the wall, their shadows are fucking, man! If you don’t get it, it’s because you’re a PRUDE!”)

There could’ve been something here, which is the big shame. Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy gathering together at an Austrian hotel on the cusp of WWI. Rephrasing their fictional adventures as sexual awakening of three young women around the globe. Written by Well-Respected Comic Writer Alan Moore, with art by Feminist Artist Melinda Gebbie. So why is this so terrible? Is it the art, which seems to be evolving, and yet never getting better? Is it the distinct lack of subtlety? Is it that it’s so concerned with shocking and titillating the audience that all characters are constantly having sex? Is it that it takes itself so damn seriously as a Work of Erotic Art while sticking to the same old sexual tropes about women, such as Alice being a lesbian because she was raped by a man? (Her eventual awakening leading her to understand that women can be just as cruel as men, and eureka! Maybe she’s not a lesbian after all!)

An example of the subtle prose and art (at the start of book 2, narration by Wendy’s husband, writing a letter to his boss about the women in the hotel):
“Sort of chap who pays attention to clothing. Very commendable.” [CU of Dorothy’s beau, Rolf Bauer, masturbating onto her shoe]
“Military life has so many drawbacks.” [Dorothy draws back her nighty to sit on Rolf’s face as they 69]
“Having to start at the bottom.” [Rolf’s face next to Dorothy’s bottom]
“All that spit and polish.” [Dorothy with a mouthful of Rolf]
“I mean, the international situation being what it is...Things could blow up in our face at any moment.” [If you need a description of what’s happening in this panel, perhaps you’re the audience this book seeks. In other words, he comes in her face. GET IT?]

Art and pornography by all means are comfortable bedfellows. They are both meant to elicit a reaction from us, to dig deep to the core of our humanity. They can be dressed up in finery, showing off our most idealized imaginations, or they can be crudely real, holding the mirror to life as it is. Art can be pornographic. Porn can be artistic. It is when one pretends to be the other that it is truly dirty.
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