Black Wade
by Franze and Andärle, historical (2009)
Bruno Gmunder Verlag Gmbh, $33.99, ISBN 978-3-86787-036-8


Written, illustrated, and colored by the Italian creative team known as Franze and Andärle, Black Wade - subtitled The Wild Side Of Love - is an illustrated work of erotica featuring a style that is disturbingly similar to that of Disney cartoons.

We meet clean-shaven Lt Jack Wilkins who starts out as a promising officer on board an English ship bound for home. Because it is carrying gold from the colonies, it soon comes under attack by nefarious pirates that look like they are members of the Fabio Appreciation Fan Club. Jack, who is having some private time in his cabin, playing with himself while daydreaming of his fiancée (who then morphs into a big penis aiming for his mouth... honest!), is caught by surprise and is eventually captured by the crew. He is first raped by the captain, Black Wade, but it isn't long before he's begging for more.

But we all know it can't last. The first mate Marak is jealous because Jack is getting from Black Wade what he has always wanted but can't have. People are looking to hang Wade. And Wade finds himself falling in love with Jack, which he believes will only weaken him, and therefore he has to get rid of Jack.

I hope you won't be reading this book for the writing because the prose is the result of what happens when Dame Barbara Cartland discovers sex scenes and slash all in one go. Well, here's a sample:

Jack: Ahh... Slower... Go slower!

Wade: Relax. I don't want to hurt you... I just want to make you feel good...

Jack: Yes... ohh... your cock is so big!!!

Wade: I'll stop if you like...

Jack: No... don't stop... I beg you... ohh... yes... like that!

Wade: And now see if you can feel all of it inside you!!!

Jack: You're opening me up inside!

Wade: Feel my cock sliding in and out... yes! I want to fill you up with my seed!!!

Jack: Yes... fill me up!!!

Wade: Shit! Do you feel me coming inside you!

Jack: Yes... I'm coming too! Ahh!!!

But perhaps you want to take a look at this book because of the illustrations. The artwork is explicit - all the details on the banana splits and chocolate sundaes are clearly visible on the banquet table, let's just say - and the guys are pretty handsome if you have a thing for clean cut Disney cartoon heroes. I personally think that while the illustrations are certainly nice to look at, it's a pity that the authors-cum-illustrators opt to go for the stereotypical yaoi route and come up with a bunch of pirates who apparently shave their armpits, chests, and groins so dilligently that they are as hirsute as a Ken doll with some random strands of hair attached electrostatically at the groin. These guys bulge in all the right places even through the coarsest materials of their pants, but they are oh so adorably Pornographic Actor Ken in all the ways that count. And therefore, it's hard to fully appreciate all that maritime rocking and thrusting when I find myself tilting my head to carefully study Jack's carefully groomed pubic fuzz and wondering how he manages to keep himself so trimmed and tidy when his hands are all tied up and there is no razor nearby within reach.

Jack starts out as a typical uke, but unlike his Japanese counterpart, he doesn't have eyes as big as dinner plates with stars shining in them. Black Wade starts out as a seme but the boundaries between top and bottom blur considerably by the last page. Apparently love makes you a democracy when it comes to sexual positions, heh. There are some stylistic differences, but Black Wade is comparable to a Japanese yaoi story nonetheless due to the various tropes fulfilled faithfully by Black Wade and Jack. Still, there are plenty of cuddling and post-coital emo brooding to make this one a romantic rape pirate fantasy.

Black Wade is a very pretty book for anyone who likes illustrated gay erotica, and I certainly have no complaints with the artwork apart from the fact that the art is too pretty for a story set in the seas. The story could be better, but let's face it, I don't think anyone cares about the story when it comes to this one. All in all, it's... well, it's not something I get to own every day, especially considering the country I am living in - no, don't ask me how I managed to get my hands on this, because I need to protect the identity of my accomplices - so it's a nice kind of novelty, I guess.

Now, how am I going to keep this book away from prying eyes? The hardcover size makes it a bit too conspicuous to be merely hidden away at the back of the bookshelf near the history textbooks...

Rating: 76


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