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Jesse's Book Nook

Leyland Publications

leyland1.jpg - 11.05 K Sex sells. Though this truism applies to many commodities, it seems to be especially true in the case of lesbian and gay reading matter. Books that appeal to our minds and our hearts --books of great literary, historical or political value--don't sell as well as books that excite our loins or tickle our funny bones.

Most best seller lists bear me out. According to A Different Light Bookstore's web site, 1997's best selling book bought mainly by men was Wonder Bread and Ecstasy, Charles Isherwood's biography of porn star Joey Stefano; the best selling book bought mainly by women was Hot Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For by cartoonist Alison Bechdel; and the best selling "book that goes both ways" was David Sedaris's humorous Naked.

ADL's 1998 list was strikingly similar: the best selling men's book was the Adam Gay Video Directory 1998; the best selling women's book was The Indelible Alison Bechdel; and the best selling "book that goes both ways" was David Sedaris's Naked.

Obviously gay men like porn, lesbians like Alison Bechdel, and everyone likes David Sedaris! The other books in the lists show a similar preponderance of erotic confessions, photo books, and humor books.

Previous Reviews from the GayToday Archive:
Meatmen: An Anthology of Gay Male Comics, Volume 22

Sex Between Men

Policing Public Sex

Related Sites:
Leyland Publicans & Gay Sunshine Press
GayToday does not endorse related sites.

One publisher that has tapped the public's appetite for gayrotic literature is Winston Leyland of Gay Sunshine Press and Leyland Publications.

I am sure Leyland would agree that his erotic titles far outsell his multi cultural literary anthologies, as admirable as the latter are. The cream of Leyland's gayrotic collection are the Meatmen series of gay male comics.

meatman1.jpg - 26.08 K What makes Meatmen so popular with gay readers, myself included? For starters, the men of Meatmen "live" in a homoerotic paradise where there is no disease or bigotry, and where every man is hot, hung and willing.

Furthermore, comic characters "can" do things that real people cannot or dare not do, not even in adult videos. Everything goes in the world of Meatmen, from "unsafe" sex acts to inter-species couplings and even rape, just so long as the characters "are" over 18 (not even Meatmen can defy that taboo!) In other words, Meatmen act out most cherished, deepest fantasies.

Most Meatmen volumes are still in print, and can be acquired from Leyland's catalog and web site, if not your friendly book seller. Meatmen Volume 22 ($16.95), the latest in the series, is more of the same, only more so.

Like its predecessors, Meatmen 22 takes us from a world of AIDS, hate crimes and antigay referenda into an erotic universe of men. One look at the cover story, about the deflowering of an 18-year old virgin, and you know you are no longer in the real world.

Everyone is accessible in the Meatmen paradise, from the "straight" blue collar workers in Joe's "Drive shaft" to Farraday's "Very Personal Personal Trainer."

Of course, when you look like John Blackburn's Coley, the "star" of Meatmen's most popular, continuing series, you can have anyone you want!

If anything, Meatmen 22 showcases the full spectrum of gay cartoon art. Though some of our most beloved artists - Tom of Finland, Etienne, Jerry Mills - are no longer with us, a new generation of cartoonists have emerged to replace them.

This new crop of gay cartoonists fill Meatmen 22 with new and diverse images of men-loving men that go far beyond the sanitized images of gay video porn. Zack, the creator of the aforementioned cover story, is one such artist, and if "Bike Boy" is any indication of his talent then he has quite a career ahead of him.

Artists like Belasco and David Barnes give us erotic images of African-American men that have been missing for too long. And what can we make of Osze and Jay Hawkins's surrealistic, otherworldly images of monstrous man-sex?

More familiar are the humorously erotic cartoons by Gerard Donelan and Kurt "Murphy's Manor" Erichsen, clearly a change of pace from their more familiar, nonsexual cartoons.

Leyland's contribution to gayrotic literature covers all literary genres. Fantasy and science fiction lend themselves well to gay male sexual writing, since they often describe worlds where homosexuality is accepted or valued.

leyland2.jpg - 14.24 K Such is the case with Apprenticed to Pleasure and Conjuring the Flesh ($14.95 each), "Erotic SciFi Novels" by Brandon Fox. These gay "sword and sorcery" novels endeared themselves to gay readers worldwide with their depictions of a planet where homosexuality is an acceptable way of life, and same-sex love is literally the source of magic.

Though the sex is intense and explicit, it would be unfair to dismiss Apprenticed to Pleasure and Conjuring the Flesh as mere stroke fiction. In fact, the fantasy and sword-fight elements of the books are so well-crafted that they could stand on their own apart from the sex - though, of course they don't.

In his first two novels, Brandon Fox has created a fascinating fantasy world, one which I trust he will continue to develop in future novels.

I should point out, for those who seek links between art and life, that Fox based one of his characters, the sorcerer Thane, on Slovakian porn star Lukas Ridgeston. Perhaps Fox knows something we don't know. This might explain Ridgeston's "magical" appeal, and the almost "mystical" hold he has on men all over the world!

I won't say much about Cocksuck Academy: An Erotic Novel by Luc Milne ($14.95), also by Leyland Publications. This tongue in cheek (if you pardon the expression) tale is about a school that teaches the art that Monica Lewinsky made famous.

leyland3.jpg - 9.94 K Those who read Milne's first novel, The Milk Farm, know what to expect from this book. The reader will get a better bang for his money with Daddy's Boys: Erotic Short Stories by Kenneth Harrison ($14.95). In my humble opinion, Daddy's Boys is simply the best collection of gayrotic stories since Greg Nero's Musclesex (also Leyland's).

As the stories' titles tell you, there are all kinds of "boys" here: "Daddy's Boy", college boy, birthday boy, "New Boy in Town", suck boy, horny boy, and "Blow Job Boy". Get the picture?

There's no indication that these stories previously appeared in magazines or anthologies, though a writer of Harrison's caliber couldn't just pop out of nowhere. In fact, the only disappointment about Daddy's Boys was the cover.

Though I worship the ground Kristen Bjorn tapes on, his Russian Komissar does not fit well within the spirit of Harrison's short stories. In this case, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

All of these books (plus Musclesex) are directly available from the publisher, Leyland Publications. If your local book store does not carry them, you can order them from the publisher at P.O. Box 410690, San Francisco, CA 94141. Please add $2 per book for postage and handling.


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