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3 min

Building a gay comic empire

Art, porn and Patrick Fillion

'WE DON'T LIKE THE P-WORD': Patrick Fillion's comics offer readers a world of orgies, over-gorged members and killer morphing cock rings. It's a world of art, he says, not porn. A world where Naked Ju Credit: Xtra West files

“I tend to err on the side of good taste,” says comic artist Patrick Fillion, his face a model of sweet composure, his voice light and unaggressive. You would think we had the wrong man.

Where is the Fillion who draws such over-gorged members on countless cartoon men? Where is the Fillion who creates orgies as front covers and doles out rim jobs like handshakes? Where is the Fillion who envisions aliens probing the urethras of hapless victims and demons being slaughtered mid-fellatio by killer morphing cock rings? Could it be this mild-mannered man who errs “on the side of good taste”?

Perhaps the disconnect makes sense. Fillion’s line, Class Comics, has sparked international interest precisely because he isn’t the pornographer you’d expect him to be. In fact, “we don’t like the P-word,” demurs Fillion, 32.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is art.

For the uninitiated, Fillion’s comic world includes Naked Justice (a red-haired superhero who wears only gloves and thigh-high boots); Guardians of the Cube (a Justice League for Fillion’s heroes); Deimos (a demon-centric milieu of dark sex complete with brooding hero); Camili-Cat (half-man, half-cat, all sex-god); and Rapture (a new anthology series.) Fillion’s comics, then, have something for everyone-so long as everyone likes hairless, well-endowed men with identical, perfect musculature.

The body-fascist element is problematic for anyone keen on diversity. But it’s hard to argue with success. And this past year, Class Comics has risen to the heights of the gay comic world.

In 2005, “we focused on the Bruno stuff.” That “stuff,” as Fillion puts it, constitutes a dozen books (not counting translations) with Bruno Gmünder, the international powerhouse for gay erotic publishing. H&O Editions in France has also picked up Fillion’s work this year.

From the publication of his first comic (Felinoids #1) in 2001, Fillion has rocketed to success.

And then there’s the action figures. Fillion’s eyes light up at the prospect. “We’re in talks with people,” he smiles. “I’m a huge fan boy [comic geek].”

Always on the job, Fillion recently bought up a series of dolls from Little Sister’s as “research.”

As other publishers ship Camili-cat and Naked Justice to London and Berlin, Fillion’s own company has plans of its own. Fillion hopes Class Comics will begin to operate like “a small gay Marvel Comics. I like sharing with other artists-it’s very inspiring.” Already, certain issues of Class Comics include work by guest artists.

Is this a Vancouver-based, gay comic empire?

Port Moody-based, anyway. Fillion moved to the peace of the suburbs recently, where he’s been delighted to discover other homos down the block. He spent his childhood in Prince George, which might explain the desire to return to small-town life. It might also explain why hetero men, when they do appear in his comics, tend to be evil anti-heroes.

Not that anyone in Fillion’s world of drooling phalluses and sex-driven narratives is a paragon of puritan virtue. What must the conservative right think when they see (and you just know they’re reading Naked Justice under the covers) superheroes fucking their enemies into submission or captive cat-men being experimented on by aliens-and loving it?

The future only holds more envelope-pushing for Fillion. Some of the boundaries outlining his created world will be toyed with, too. Body-types will loosen a little next year-the forthcoming Cube #6 features a not-so-in-shape bear type.

Baby steps, Mr Fillion. Some day, dare to dream, we may see a hairy ass. Or (do they still exist?) a dick smaller than 12 inches.

But Class Comics is not necessarily interested in coddling the politically correct crowd.

“I don’t enjoy being supremely political,” says Fillion. And that goes for both gay rights stances and notions of inclusiveness.

Comics are comics. And art for art’s sake is as queer an aesthetic as you can find. Fillion’s books are built from a particular world, with a particular mise en scène of horse-hung Adonis types who just happen to fight crime on the side.

Those who haven’t already had the privilege of checking out Fillion’s work won’t be able to avoid doing so in the near future. Nor should they want to. Class Comics are increasingly sophisticated and the distinction between porn and self-reflexive artwork has never been more clear.

For example: An evil, nut-crunching Jack the Stripper knocks out poor Naked Justice in issue #2. Jack proceeds to fondle our hero’s cock, whispering “Gay men all over the world dream of having access to your legendary lovestick, while I must cling to the shadows, eclipsed by your substantial schlong. Well, no more, I say!”

Naked Justice, barely retaining consciousness, murmurs drunkenly, “Can’t help it…Born this way…”

Now that’s art.