Mediocre: Sex in the Comix
Directed by Joëlle Oosterlinck
Produced by Gilles Berthaut, Loïc Bouchet, Thibaut Camurat
Starring Jennifer Caban, Robert Crumb, Ralf König, Aude Picault, Milo Manara, Zep, Bastien Vives, Bernard Joubert, Tim Pilcher, Suehiro Maruo, Aline Kominsky
Symmetric, feminine exemplars of Manara's neoclassical gracility, R. Crumb's Rabelaisian ribaldry rendered with thickly lurid strokes, interspecific prurience imaged in Maruo's metaphoric horrors, anecdotal candor in comedic cartoons by Zep, König's jocularly hirsute homoeroticism, elegantly aristocratic eros swelling to tender consummation in monographies courtesy of Picault, and Vives' shamelessly sportive indulgences are among the salacious styles summarized in this brief, overproduced yet informative introduction to sexuality portrayed in sequential art. Under her nom de plume Molly Crabapple, artist and author Caban's as creepily cute as chafing, but a capable narrator in spite of her more irksome affectations. Interviews with the aforementioned artists and lightly animated exhibitions of their imagery exposit both to newcomers as sufficiently as vignettes in which Caban, comics historian Joubert and some of their subjects recount historical phenomena such as interwar and wartime pornography, incipient queer and feminist works in independent postwar publications, Tom of Finland's gregariously ithyphallic hypermasculinity, violent raunch of the '70s fumettis, the peculiar censorship of hentai, Aurélia Aurita's sketched autobiographical exploits, and climacterics of French interdiction. Oosterlinck fulfills her initiatory objective in shy of an hour, but could've documented more within this topic's breadth had she shot less of her capering host. Their folly and vanity are nearly negatived by a profusion of interviewees' insights, none more significant than that this illustrated medium legally, affordably, optimally provokes and assuages the lubricous imaginations of its creators and audiences as no other can.