People have asked me: what are my influences?
Here are my comics influences:
1) Henry, the comic strip, taught me that you could tell a story in visual gestures and actions without using dialogue or captions and with a great deal of charm and wit. It also taught me that readers fill in the moments you imply occur between the panels. It also taught me that every panel has to add something to the previous panel rather than just merely reiterate it unless there's a narrative, character-based or thematic purpose to the repetition.
2) The "Write Your Own Comic Page" feature in Sugar & Spike comics taught me that you can trust people imagine their own dialogue if the storytelling (the body language, the facial expressions, the choice of moment, the composition of the frame, etc) imply what it is. This totally saves me from writing bad porn dialogue and captions for the gay erotic comics I write.
3) Silver Age comics taught me that characters had to have "empathic charisma" -- that they had to have a likeability and interpersonal chemistry that is appealing and that you aspire to have. Do you really want to see people fight crime and/or have sex with each other if they are not likeable and/or don't like each other as people? I don't.
4) Sci-Fi and Western comics of the 70s and 80s taught me that a rich and textured setting -- what comics call "backgrounds" -- are part of the mood and sensuality of a comic. This is why I am always confused when manga-style comics completely omit "sense of place" since place communicates so much about the story and characters. Even if sometimes my comics present idealized settings to go with the utopian nature of erotica, they are still meaningful rather than incidental.
5) Indy comics of the '80s and 90's taught me that character-based stories are in the little details.
6) For good, bad or indifferent, my sisters' romance comics also influenced me. They were forbidden for my gender so I had to sneak looks at them...
7) Tom of Finland taught me that gay erotic comics smile. smile emoticon
8) ILYA’s (Ed Hillyer’s) gay-themed comic strips taught me that vulnerability, tenderness and wit between gay men can be integrated in a homoerotic context. And that you can use the representation of gay sex to reveal character while still tweaking multiple homoerotic buttons.
Here are my non-comics influences:
1) Luis Buñuel taught me how society shames people for its own benefit. You have to own your sexuality or it’s exploited.
2) Vladimir Nabokov taught me the difference between eroticism and cruelty, selfishness and generosity in sexuality.
3) James Joyce taught me there’s poetry in sexual choreography and feeling, that the orgasm, both in spectacular and intimate terms, is affirmative.
4) Rainer Werner Fassbinder taught me how hungry people are for validation as total beings in the face of prejudice.
5) John Waters taught me that you can be warm, irreverent and filthy at the same time.
6) Jeanette Winterson taught me that you can use sexuality to write about big ideas in subtle and subversive ways, and use big ideas to write about sexuality in subtle and subversive ways.