Who's have guessed that some of the most sexy, humorous, and intelligent erotica would come in the form of a comic book. XXXenophile, written and pencilled by Phil Folgio (who's done everything , came out in the late '80s through early '90s and is a wonderful example of the fusion of sex and fun.

At the start of the collection XXXenophile: Big Book O' Fun Folgio describes the comic book thus: "A Lighthearted, but Informative Treatise upon some of the more Esoteric and Abtruse aspects of Human Sexuality, and how they can be Improved for All Concerned with the simple addition of Penguins, Marshmallows, and the occasional Sock Puppet. No, Really." For this book, the esoteric and abtruse is the stuff of fantasy. Not just sexual fantasy, but also impossible fantasy that the comic book format can easily portray: demons, dryads, robots, aliens, clones, duplicates, the monster under the bed, gods, goddesses, djinn, World War Three, "The Cat of the Curse-People," computers, robots, cyborgs, dragons, curses, witchcraft, centaurs, the monster under the bed, and why planes really fly.

Where XXXenophile really stands out is its intelligence and humor. Far from being just another collection of nekkid people doing fun stuff, the stories (the series is comprised of self-contained short tales, except for the full-length medieval fantasy Heart of Stone) are constructed intelligently, demonstrating in a short space how to write a smart, complete erotic tale. (Kudos also for taking Peter David's point about the dark nature of Red Sonja's origin and turning it around to a positive in "Blue Opal.")

As for humor, take this opening to the aforementioned sword-and-sorcery story "Blue Opal": "In the Third of the Darkening Years of the reign of Lestrel the Babyslapper, all of the Known World was in turmoil. The Matriatchs of the Corporate States had renounced the ancient 'Treat of the Blind Carp'; the mountain Tribes were overcoming their fear of being at ground level; the Master of the Gutta-Percha Throne had begun his mad jihad against the color Orange; and the Warriors of the White Deserts were tracking sand all over everything. Through it all strode one who would be a legend, if she had anything to say about it: Blue Opal. The Sword Broad with the Broad Sword." Not exactly what you'd expect to find in an adults-only story, but it works very well. Foglio's art also manages to be both sexy and goofy.

Sadly, the XXXenophile books are no longer available in print (neither is the fun little XXXenophile card game that came out -- which I have all the cards and an uncut card sheet from), so to find them you'll have to scour the local comic stores or Internet (and the latter'll charge you a goodly amound for 'em). Fortunately, the comics can be found in online formats through the official website. And in the world of adult entertainment (or any entertainment, for that matter), the XXXenophile blend of sex, humor, and originality is terrific!

Overall grade: A+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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