Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lost Girls Hardcover Review

Lost Girls
Top Shelf Productions
320 pages
$45.00 (2009) Over-sized Hardcover
$75.00 (2006) Vol. 1-3 Hardcovers w/Slipcase
ISBN 9781603090445

Contributors: Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie, and Todd Klein

Reprints: Taboo #5-7 (of 9); Lost Girls #1-2 (of 2); Lost Girls three-volume slipcase edition

Synopsis: On the impending eve of the first World War, the lodgers at the Hotel Himmelgarten, an upscale Austrian hotel, seek rest and relaxation.  They comprise a truly interesting group:

  • Lady Alice Fairchild has lived in self-imposed exile running a family-owned diamond mine in South Africa for many years.  Her family sent her to watch over the mine and stay as far from England as possible due to her  lesbian tendencies.  Eventually tiring of her mock-stewardship she sells the mine, packs her belongings and moves to the Himmelgarten.  
  • Dorothy Gale is a young American girl from Kansas abroad on vacation.  She is seemingly innocent and wishes to see the world after a humble upbringing on a farm.  She inherited money from her mother and leaves her father and step-mother behind to travel.  Her innocent appearance masks an adventurous soul and she is a sexually inquisitive girl.
  • Wendy Potter is married to an English businessman named Harold Potter.  She enjoys a life of proper drudgery complete with repressed sexual fantasies.  The couple are on vacation for a few weeks before heading back to their boring lives.  She is a caged tigress with a secret past.

Dorothy's sexuality awakens amid the chaos of a tornado
The Hotel Himmelgarten is owned by Monsieur Rougeur, a heavyset dandy who appreciates fine, pornographic works and has compiled a book of them with copies left in each room.  The lodgers slowly become acquainted with each other and tell stories of themselves.  Lady Alice first befriends Dorothy and they share some opium and a sexual escapade.  Later Wendy discovers the two going at it and becomes intrigued.

The three women tells stories of their past as girls - Alice's first sexual encounter with a family friend in front of an expansive mirror, Dorothy's first orgasm during a frightening tornado on the family farm, and Wendy's meeting with a wild boy named Peter to fornicate in the park.  They each awoke to their sexuality at a young age and form a powerful bond centered around sexual acts in the present.

Their stories continue - Alice tells of the sexually overpowering Red Queen, Dorothy of the Cowardly Lion (and Tin Man), and Wendy speaks of the man known as Hook.  Each story becomes more lewd and disturbing, but they revel in the freedom to finally share their stories and bodies.  The political climate of Europe and the impending first World War threaten to shatter the idyllic bubble surrounding the Himmelgarten.  
Wendy and her husband Harold's shadows are
the only ones getting any in their relationship

Pros: Highbrow graphic novel porn, Moore takes a risk and comes up with an interesting work, great story concept turning the stories of famous female literary characters into sexual adventures, very nice hardcover edition

Cons: Too long, scenes/situations which may be in poor taste and offensive to some (i.e. incest, underage), overly tongue-in-cheek (or tongue-in-take-your-pick), art is a bit soft and vague

Mike Tells It Straight: Alan Moore describes Lost Girls as pornography and I completely agree.  The three women and everyone they come in contact with become involved in some form of sexual acts.  Moore continues with his concept of taking famous, fictional literary characters whose rights have passed into the public domain and adapting them to his own original stories (started with the successful The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series).  I was thoroughly impressed with his writing and story concepts taking each girl's tale and twisting it into pure debauchery.

Alice violated by a family friend escapes into a mirror in her mind - going "through the looking glass", Dorothy's wild sexual self awakens in a tornado and she fornicates wildly on the farm, and Wendy (with her two perverted little brothers Peter and John) meets homeless street urchin Peter who introduces her to a lawless den of lewd children living in a public park (along with the creepy old "Hook" watching them).

The three women bathe together and tell stories
Gebbie's art is soft yet complex with loads of creative panels.  It all seems very nice as the three women and other characters are getting off.  The only drawback to this book is too much of a good thing tends to dull the enjoyment.  I thought the first volume was quite clever with all the naughty sex parts and wonderful portrayal of these innocent, familiar girls.  Then the second volume continued with even more extreme sexual behavior, but it seemed to drag on.  By the third volume Moore was 'upping the ante' with even more sordid sexual tales and the book was actually difficult to finish.

Moore and Gebbie create a fine graphic work, but be warned about the explicit nature of this book - it's real pornography with a soft, lovely haze about it (kind of like that found in a hookah lounge).  Graphic sexual acts are portrayed and this book is only recommended for mature readers.  Don't buy this for your underage cousin - he'll burst into flames from the intense friction of masturbating so much.  Seriously though, I enjoyed the naughty translation of Dodgson's Alice, Baum's Dorothy, and Barrie's Wendy, but was a bit overwhelmed by the length of the book.  I suggest reading it one volume at a time and giving a break between volumes of about a week.

TO BUY and Recommendations: