So, upon hearing that I was going to have to wait until 2007 for LoEG, and because I had birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, and because my comic book store had me down for a $20 discount on my next purchase, I wound up buying (with cash, thank you) a copy of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls.
The art is beautiful.
The writing is subtle and nuanced and well-phrased, as always.
The scenes are perfectly realized and beautifully, lovingly executed. Moore has gone a long way out of his way to make sure that everyone knows he understands that pedophiles are fucking perverts. The book is structurally perfect, just like Watchmen.
But I'm still not sure I want the damn thing in my house.
It reads very well, certainly. There's a great deal in it that is thought-provoking, and as one of the more erudite guys who works at my comic book shop said, "It's about how we mythologize the childhood experiences that make us who we are," which I think is totally fascinating. Certainly, Moore is not the first guy to deal with sexual awakening during childhood among children - it's not even (I discovered to my horror) the only book I OWN that contains thoughts on that awakening; there's a great Ray Bradbury story about a guy who has his first sexual experience at fourteen. That story is not at all titillating and it's kind of sweet. But it is fundamentally different from Lost Girls. How?
Lost Girls has pictures.
I am disturbed and upset by the pictures of the physically mature (but still underage) kids fucking. I am REALLY disturbed by the pictures of adults raping children (it's fair to say that this part of the book, at least, is not supposed to be sexy, but it's still there on the page). Nothing in the book is covered up coyly, like Jon's penis in most of Watchmen (or the rape scene in Watchmen, come to think of it). The whole thing is exposed - presumably, Moore and Gebbie want to discover something by exposing sexual activity in all its forms - and I do mean ALL its forms. Pretty much all the characters engage in pretty much every sexual activity with pretty much all the other characters, which results in some interesting stories, certainly. Moore clearly thinks that non-consensual sex is wrong, and that pedophilia is evil (but we knew that from Top 10, right?). The question this book poses to me goes like this: Given that the images are created without models, is it morally responsible to produce images of underage people having sex?
I'm going to go with probably not, actually. It seems to me that, honorable as his intentions are, Moore's book is a hop, skip, and a jump from producing images of children that are meant to titillate and arouse adults. That, frankly, is wrong. I don't think those pictures are actually in this book, but it creates the possibility for them to exist.
What do other people think?