Chester 5000 is a porn comic by Jess Fink, featuring the bedroom escapades of the eponymous sex robot built by a Victorian era inventor, who, having failed to tend to his wife's intimate needs, decides to create for her the perfect playmate. A lot of sexual intercourse ensues. Then Chester and his mistress fall in love. Hilarity ensues. And more sexual intercourse.
Porn in comic book form is nothing new, from the X-rated works of R. Crumb and other underground cartoonists back in the 60's, to the multiple current imprints dedicated to publishing exclusively sequential schtupping (most notably Eros Comix, which, due to its success, begat its parent company Fantagraphics the somewhat unflattering distinction of "the house that porn built"). And most of it is, for better or worse, exactly what you'd expect.
Following the mainstream success of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls, the hardcore tale of children's books' characters gone wild, alternative comics publisher Top Shelf is back in the smut-peddling business to try to rectify that, with yet another clever take on a genre that is not exactly known for its cleverness. And personally, I think it even improves on its predecessor in two key areas:
While Lost Girls was unabashedly pornographic and did not shy away from depiciting even the most frowned-upon of sexual activities (neither minors nor farm animals were spared), it was hardly titillating. Melinda Gebbie's artwork was gorgeous and a great pastiche of the many different styles that Moore's script called for, but it did nothing for me on a visceral level. And if the art didn’t harsh your boner, it may also have been the wordiest smut the medium had ever seen.
In storytelling terms too, Moore's slavish adherence to form and structure made the book as tediously predictable as most its low-brow counterparts. For example, once Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was shown tumbling in the hay with the obvious Scarecrow stand-in, the reader knew to soon expect similar pun-laden erotic encounters with - yes, you’ve guessed it - the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man equivalents as well.
Miss Fink's artwork in Chester 5000, on the other hand, recalls the graceful line of the best Playboy cartoonists, and she imbues the proceedings with a genuine sense of fun and excitement that other purveyors of porn in general, and robo erotica in particular, lack (a certain Mr. Wood comes to mind). The book itself is silent, which in the hands of a lesser cartoonist would be a recipe for a disaster, but Fink's masterful control of body language and facial expressions, and her use of symbolism, add depth to what would otherwise be a series of bland in-and-outs.
Even if porn isn't your thing, or you think sex with robots is creepy (in which case, why exactly are you here?), this funny and lighthearted steampunk sex-romp warrants a look for its positive approach to a genre dominated by misogyny and ugliness. Sexually healthy men, women, and especially couples, should get a huge kick out of it.
Click here to buy Chester 5000 from Amazon .
The publisher provided a copy for review.