Dark Horse has continued its commitment to publishing the complete library of work by Italian illustrator Milo Manara. At 67 years old, one would expect Manara to have diminished some in skill as well as esteem. However, neither of these holds true as he continues to be active in the art world today. The stories being published by Dark Horse range in age from 40 to 20 years old, but still seem fresh today.
And, oh yeah. They are hot.
Manara has always had a thing for drawing beautiful women. No matter the subject, Manara brings beautiful women to the forefront of the story. Some of his stories were too steamy for regular publication and found themselves published in small press, underground comics, and gentlemen’s magazines. The second collection of such stories has recently been published by Dark Horse Comics.
As much as I enjoyed the first volume, the second volume of Manara Erotica is far superior. To begin with, the storytelling is better. Yes, as hot as a book with erotic content should look, the real key to erotica is the story. the story should lead to character development, interesting situations, and opportunities for people to take of their clothes. The first two stories in this volume explore mysticism inspired by the Kama Sutra as well as recount a Greek myth. While sex is at the center of each story, there is plenty of plot and characterization along the way keeps the reader interested. Sure, you could just look at the pretty pictures of naked men and women, but you would be missing out on everything else.
The second half of the book is dedicated to Manara’s time on the adult comic strip, Jolanda de Almaviva. Jolanda de Almaviva is a countess who, during her travel to meet the Governor of Maracaybo is kidnapped by pirates. The rest pf the serialized adventure tells of her ongoing trials and tribulations. There is plenty of swashbuckling action as clothes and limbs are removed easily and often. Anyone looking for deeper meaning in this “epic” will be disappointed. However, as far as serialized adventures go, it isn’t bad. The piracy aspect lends itself to visits to exotic locales where Jolanda and the rest of the crew are subjected to all kinds of adventures…and their clothes come off.
What is most interesting about the strip is Manara’s art. While most of the art in this volume was given plenty of space to breathe, the art in Jolanda is cramped. Each page of this volume re-presents four pages of Jolanda as originally published (each original page consisted of only a panel or two, but was published in pocket-sized books). Manara takes the opportunity to make each panel as interesting as possible, filling the backgrounds with plenty of detail. However, when the clothes come off, he is careful not to add too much which will distract from the natural beauty of his ladies.
I had some concerns after reading the first volume of Manara Erotica. Many of the stories involved mind-control and women who are not necessarily pleased with being taken advantage of. It was clearly a male-driven fantasy. However this volume eschews all of that and focuses on interesting and well-told stories.
Manara Erotica vol. 2 is a fine addition to any collection of erotica. It features well-crafted stories and striking art by a true master. You can order your own copy of Manara Erotica Volume 2: Kama Sutra and Other Stories (and get 47% off!!!).
You can check out an entirely safe for work preview of the book here.