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When I was young and had just begun to discover my sexuality, I had a partner who subscribed to the magazine On Our Backs, a women-run erotica magazine whose tongue-in-cheek title was a wry response to the publicationoff out backs, which regularly printed the work of anti-pornography feminists of the 1980s. At the time, the images in On Our Backs were the most raw, unabashedly honest snapshots I had ever seen of alternative sexualities. For my own part, On Our Backs succeeded in not only mirroring my own sexual desires, but also producing a few new fantasies in the process. By the time the magazine was bought out in 2006, it had under its grommet belt a number of now legendary contributors, including Susie Bright, Pat Califia andTristan Taormino. I mourned the loss of such a radically exciting (and indescribably sexy) publication.
Mourned, that is, until SALACIOUS Magazine launched its first issue. In between its shiny pages, I found new beginnings for a queer erotic dreamscape: personal comics addressing sexual journeys and self-exploration, sexy photos of scandalously hot people playing house or just playing around, burly leatherdaddies in full gear, daintily blowing out sweet little hearts onto the surrounding ground. In short, a erotic cornucopia of kinked, complex and counterculture images. Just the sort of thing to get the mind whirling and the juices flowing. Upon finishing the first issue, I sought out editor and comic artist KD Diamond, to hear more about the inspiration behind the magazine, as well as its plans for the future. After all, if I’ve found a new magazine of alt sexuality to leer at, I want to make sure it will be around for a while! Here’s what KD had to say:
Sarah: Tell us a bit about the driving forces behind the magazine. Who is SALACIOUS?
KD: SALACIOUS Magazine is a hearty ship with 10 individual, diverse board members, steered by me as their captain. You can meet everyone here at our editorial page. I’m the founder and art director, but I really rely on my board to keep the project strong.
Speaking for myself, I’m a nerdy art-kid who’s also a sex geek. With these powers combined, I create sex comics.
Sarah: What was your inspiration for the magazine?
KD: I’ve always been a huge believer that comics are the best tool to talk about gender and sexuality. There are so many great serial comics, comic books, and illustrated stories about queerness and sex and gender – it’s hard to say which one specifically influenced and inspired me. I knew I wanted to create something that combined feminism, queerness, sex, and comics.
Sarah: Who personally inspires you as an artist? Who do you read and look at?
KD: Well, Tom of Finland, I love his work – it’s iconographic by this point. But his painterly style, and hyper-sexual imagery is just wonderful to me. Also, Ellen Forney, her illustration work is so gorgeous, and she does a great job telling stories. One of my favorite books on my shelf is “Lust,” the illustrated personal ads from The Stranger she did. AndAlison Bechdel. As a queer woman, and as a comic artist, it’s hard not to feel Alison Bechdel has really influenced my drawing style and story-telling.
To list off some more, Roberta Gregory; Phoebe Gloeckner; Lynda Barry…not necessarily queer or sexy imagery, but women drawing comics. Great stuff. Lynda Barry’s “One Hundred Demons” is just incredible, and Phoebe Gloeckner’s “Diary of a Teenage Girl” is dark, intense and wonderfully drawn.
Sarah: What are your goals in presenting the queer community in a manner that is sexually charged as well as visual? Do you think this has the potential to socially normalize queer sexuality?
KD: It’s all about blowing the lid off the mystery of sex (no pun intended, really!). I think there’s this mainstream concept about what queer sex looks like and the truth of the matter is, it’s totally unquantifiable. Sexually charged visuals are as old as the sun. I’m using this tried and true method as a ways of making sexuality accessible. Knocking it off its awkward pedestal, down to something grittier and much more real, if you will.
Sarah: What are your hopes for future issues?
KD: It’s been great to test this opening issue on the world. I think for future issues, folks can expect more illustration, and an even broader spectrum of gender and race.
Sarah: What have you been discovering about the queer community, as you travel around for the launch parties?
KD: We are so very segregated! Still! I love cross-pollination, and part of the reason I use “queer” to describe my politics and my sexuality is that joyous combination of a little bit of everything. There’s no script or boxes for the word “queer” – for any LGBTQIA-XYZ word, really. Part of what makes SALACIOUS a powerful project is our intentional and purposeful approach to queerness and sex. There is no one way to define us. I hope that the more air-time the mag gets, the more we’ll all come together. Queers are incredible in the ways that we collaborate – I want more of that.
Sarah: And also, would you mind describing some of the SALACIOUS parties – I’m very interested!
KD: The parties totally vary depending on who is organizing them! Something to know about me is that while I’m an artist, I also come from a non-profit community organizer background… I really don’t believe in parachuting into someone’s community and telling them how to do things. So, what has made the parties so wonderful, successful, and diverse, is that they each have their own local flavor! SALACIOUS co-sponsors, supplies magazines and art, and then the party will look different however that particular community wants it. In Brooklyn, it was a sexy awesome dance party calledQueerspondance co-sponsored by BrooklynTheBorough.com. In Portland, Oregon, it was a drag and burlesque and spoken word night run by the local feminist bookstore, In Other Words. In Oakland, it was a live demonstration/workshop called IRON SLUT: Sex Educator Showdown featuring Reid Mihalko and Madison Young, co-sponsored by Femina Potens. They vary immensely, and they’re all pretty rad! (Find more about the Launch parties here).
To find out more about SALACIOUS Magazine or to obtain an issue, visit theirwebsite.