Sunstone, by Stjepan Šejić

Stjepan Šejić is an impressive and prolific illustrator, a comics’ artist who has earned all my admiration and respect. He brought me to tears a few times with his superb artwork. His greatest work so far – the comic book Sunstone – managed to literally make me cry over several pages. And since it had only happened to me twice before, with Video Girl Ai and Bourgeon’s Passengers of the Wind, it reinforces the reason for me to talk about it.

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Above all, Sunstone is originally a webcomic that Šejić created in parallel with his usual comics and illustration work, classic comic books such as Witchblade, X-Men or The Darkness. But Alysa (my angel) and I became major Sunstone fans.

Sunstone is a touching and intimate romance story between two young women who are drawn together by common desires to experiment BDSM. If you think this has anything to do with Fifty Shades of Grey, first, know that I despise you deeply and, second, that this is pretty much unrelated – and that’s the whole point. The book speaks about what a BDSM relationship really is: an intimate search and a matter of taste. Pretty much nothing else than pleasure games – often funny, always touching, sometimes surprising – but games, always. In Sunstone, the “perverse” aspect of BDSM is shown in its most positive, touching, amusing, funny, and intimate light: two women who are happy to share a passion and satisfy their desires in the most healthy and pleasant way possible.

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Besides BDSM, there are also issues of love, affection, tenderness, changes of heart, the impact of relationships and acquaintances, the difficulties of living such a passion. The intimate history of a couple in all its ordinary and not-so-ordinary aspects. Sunstone is about that and nothing more – and there lies its genius.

With the help of his wife, Stjepan Šejić succeeds in diving into the beauty, the simplicity, the humanity and the depth of this relationship, into its turnabouts, without indulging to the easiness of a scandalous or unhealthy relationship. Lisa, the submissive one, is the strong-minded one and the domme, Allison, is the most fragile and socially inept, with a major geek streak. A strong symbolic role swap, not very surprising for those who know how SM and D/s relationships work.

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In short, Sunstone is smart. It is a lovingly simple and intimate story, with great art and a fascinating narrative, to boot. To my eyes, this is a major achievement: the theme is so easy to distort and misrepresent, but Stjepan Šejić manages to masterfully put into spotlight with great taste. It is a comic book that is deeply touching to Alysia and myself. I can only recommend you to check out the online webcomic panels, or better yet, to order the books that have just been published (the first two volumes are out, the third one should be here soon).

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Thanks to Xavier Devenoges, Stéphane Gallay and Matthias Wiesmann for their help to english translation.

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