Lulu, adapted from the plays of Frank Wedekind, is the story of a truly free-spirited girl, unencumbered by society’s stipulations on what is right what is right and proper for lady. Set in a painter’s studio, Lulu is sitting for a portrait commissioned by her overbearing husband, Goll. It looks at her interactions with the men in her life and her overall world views.
Her decrepit husband, tries to control her, even forcing her to change her name to Nellie as part of their marriage contract and she fears that he will kill her if her sexual indiscretions become evident to him. Despite that she has no issues striping down and changing in front of two men who she is not married to or flirting with them either. When one man chides her for not wearing underwear, which allows her breasts and the shadow of her public hair to remain visible she counters her remark by saying she would rather have gone without any clothes at all because her costume is itchy.
Unlike many female characters who are engaged in her lifestyle, wrought with open sexual encounters, she is not manipulative. Unlike many women in comics and pop culture who use sex to get ahead, Lulu, is seeks out the things in life that are to be enjoyed and is naïve as to why other people don’t do it more often. She makes no attempt to manipulate the men she’s with or gain anything with her feminine wiles outside of her own pleasure.
Completely in black and white and beautifully shaded, the art is hyperbolized without making a mockery of its subjects. Lulu is beautiful in both traditional and non-traditional ways. She is curvy and perky in all the right places. Her face is interesting. Instead of being what might be defined as traditionally beautiful, her face in interesting and expressive. She is open in every sense of the word.
The book also contains some bonus materials such as concept art and sketches which are a nice glimpse into writer and illustrator John Linton Roberson’s creative process.
This one of for the 18+ crowd as it contains both male and female full frontal nudity and depictions of sexual acts. Even so the book feels erotic in nature. Not trashy or pornographic. Instead it raised questions about sexual repressions, especially in regards to women, and societal views on the appropriateness of both sex and nudity.
The story leaves you waiting to see what will happen to the Lulu and the painter, now that their stories are irrevocably meshed together. It deviant and thought-provoking with beautiful line work and the perfect read for someone looking for a comic outside of mainstream.