So this is not a book to review, exactly. But, since I’m doing posts on all of the books I read — even now, in my lesser state this year — I figured I should at least mention Brandon Graham’s smutty 2006 “graphic” “novel” Pillow Fight , since I did read it.
Graham, like a lot of comics-makers starting out in the Great Smutty Comics Boom (lasting roughly from Eros’s birth in 1990 to the utter apotheosis of the Smutty Internet and the near-simultaneous Great Recession), did smutty print comics at the beginning of his career. This was one of them; it followed the similar album Perverts of the Unknown, which I haven’t seen. (He did other, non-smutty early work, too — that was pretty common, and probably still is these days, though the smutty stuff now tends to be password-locked at places like Slipshine and Filthy Figments, so it may be easier to keep the two strands of career separated without using pseudonyms.)
So Pillow Fight is a short, album-format comic, published as part of a sex-oriented imprint (NBM’s Amerotica), and the plot and characterization is all sex-comic stuff — the point is to move smoothly through a bunch of sex scenes and have some humor and general story virtues along the way as well.
Our main character is Jem, a young woman being sent off to boarding school after her parents walked in on her in flagrante — Graham does not describe exactly what she was doing, or with whom, but it was clearly very steamy, and “with whom” might have been a multiple-choice answer. But she arrives at this unnamed school for “naughties,” quickly meets her new roommate Bones, and first witnesses a scene with said roommate and soon after has sex with that roommate herself. And so it goes on from there — it’s a short book, and the point of this kind of thing isn’t plot to begin with.
Graham has his usual punny jokes — both visual and spoken — though his work was cleaner and less cluttered this early in his career. (He wasn’t cramming in as many visual jokes and pun labels at this point.) The jokes tend to be up front in the narrative in this book instead of half-hidden off to the edges.
But the point is to be a sex book, with nubile young women enthusiastically doing every last thing the young Graham could think up. Graham’s line was zippy and precise by this point; it’s drawn in basically the same style he still uses now. It’s mostly of interested to big fans of Graham (like me) digging up the last disreputable corners of his oeuvre, or for people who really really like naughty schoolgirl stories.