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The Most Deviant of Virtues

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tomorrow sees the release of Deviant Virtues, from Regis Loisel and Rose Le Guirec. UK Liaison (and erotic scholar), Tim Pilcher, weighs in with his thoughts from across the pond.


Regis Loisel is one of Europe's foremost comic creators who has established himself with such epic fantasy sagas as The Quest for the Time Bird (translated as Roxanna by NBM in the late 1980s) and his reworking of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan (Soaring Penguin). While both series featured adult themes, swearing and sexual elements, it wasn't until Deviant Virtues that he fully embraced the erotic genre.

What makes this book unique is his involvement with his wife, Rose Le Guirec (AKA Marie-Hélène Loisel). Until now Loisel had written most of his own work, but bringing his author-wife on board was a masterstroke of foresight.

Sexologists generally agree that men are aroused by visual stimuli, either through video, photos or imagery of all kinds, whereas women's arousal is more imaginative and driven by prose (as seen in the plethora of romance and erotic novels, most recently encapsulated in the phenomena of 50 Shades of Grey). What the husband and wife team have managed to do with Deviant Virtues is to appeal to both markets by cleverly blending both prose and imagery to create a unique story form. The book isn't quite a novel, but neither is it a purely illustrated book, but somewhere between the two.


Divided into three stories constructed around the central theme of ceremonies and rituals, the first tale, The Offering, is probably the most familiar to fans of Loisel's previous works. This sweet fantasy tale reads like an illustrated poem which has two simultaneous narratives—one in prose, the other in pictures—which compliment each other and provide a moving twist at the end.

In The Bonfires of St. John's Eve, Le Guirec uses the prose as introductory text and as chapter breaks, before Loisel moves in to complete the story in a series of silent comic pages that focus on the erotic aspects of the tale. This original form of pacing allows the reader to immerse themselves in the sexually charged scenes without being encumbered by word balloons or distracting text.

Finally, Ceremony explores the darker, deeper psychological aspects of sexuality, examining the dynamics of submission and domination. This is told in a more traditional illustrated story format with Loisel's artwork peppered throughout Le Guirec's prose, occasionally exploding into an orgiastic double-page spread of "deviance".


Like all excellent erotica, Deviant Virtues allows the reader to safely explore these fantasies, transposing themselves to the roles of the protagonists without fear of repercussions. Unlike most erotica it does so whilst appealing equally to both men and women. One wouldn't expect anything less from the perfect creative bonding of husband and wife.

Tags: Across the Pond