Thursday, 20 March 2014

Milo Manara and the joys of bottomless nudity

My influences include several comix illustrators, among them Milo Manara. I love the sheer beauty and fluidity of his lines, his pretty girls with their wavy Art Nouveau-ish hair, his sense of fun, the clever way he draws clingy, barely-there clothes. His themes, too, are right up my street: public nudity, embarrassed nude female, forced exposure, only one naked. Love love love.

Got to admit though, I find his graphic novels somewhat uneven. Quite a few of them have plotlines, if you can call them that, which are arty and, to be frank, a bit pretentious. Even the worst of them, however, usually has at least one or two sequences to get a exhibitionist/voyeur's heart racing, and they are always beautifully drawn. Of those I've read, probably the most consistent and enjoyable is Butterscotch, a whimsical fantasy about a hapless girl who meets an invisible man and winds up in all sorts of compromising situations because of him, even though he's head over heels in love with another woman.

It's sweetly funny and very sexy, and it also strongly features a little twist on the theme of exposure which I particularly relish: bottomless nudity.

The odd thing is that topless nudity doesn't do it for me at all (female topless nudity, that is. When it comes to guys, I definitely want to see their chests!). I think it looks cheap. I'd say a girl looks sexier in full bra and panties that just a thong, and I think a thong or posing pouch is just as out of place in an artistic environment such as a life class - here only full nudity will do for the appreciation of beauty and drama of the human figure.

Yet bottomless nudity is a different matter altogether. There's something so titillating about a tiny T-shirt being stretched tight in an attempt to cover peeping ass cheeks, or yanked at the front over a bare mound. And here Manara reigns supreme, forever being a fresh eye and a masterly hand to the same blushing predicament.

I'd love to hear about the erotic artists who inspire, excite or influence you. Please do get in touch!

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