The first chapter Sylvan Migdal's NSFW webcomic Curvy
reveals something I've long suspected: we live in Boring World. Out in the multiverse, there are dozens of worlds, each with a different theme -- Candy World, Pirate World, Superhero World -- and we're stuck in this ordinary world where vegetables are good for you and kids can't become mermaids when they grow up. But when Boring Worlder Anaïs meets the licorice-flavored runaway bride Fauna, she gets to experience all the non-boring wonders the multiverse has to offer, and learns that every themed world has one thing in common: everyone has crazy amounts of sex
(suggestive images follow).Curvy
is a comic that, admittedly, took me a couple of readings to appreciate fully. When I first discovered Curvy
, I performed a hasty archive binge and got the gist of the story: Anaïs is a high school student who's biggest worry is that she's going to fail her physics test, right up until Fauna falls out of an inter-dimensional portal... right on top of Anaïs. Fauna, it turns out, is the Despoina, the princess of Candy World, and she was promised in marriage to the crown prince of Smart World. (The people of Smart World named themselves and were too stupid to know better; everyone else just rolls with it.) Not content to live out her days among the morons, Fauna hightails it to Boring World. Anaïs is immediately taken with the beautiful candy princess, and soon the two are on the run from Fauna's magic tutor and a Pentagon agent who's mistaken them for Kyrgyzstani terrorists (because terrorists plausibly come in licorice now).
Oh, and people are having sex on nearly every page. When Anaïs isn't watching her prison guards get it on ("No! Bad hand! We need to escape!"), she's having a close encounter with candy cane tentacles:
Or doing nothing particularly sexy while other folks are getting friendly in the background:
And yes, many of the sex scenes in Curvy
are particularly explicit. It's a funny comic, but there's a porn sensibility. Characters break apart and come together in new carnal combinations. There are long, lingering shots of both Boring (with a capital B) and otherworldly genitalia, and so many girl nipples that I had to really hunt for these (marginally) safe-for-work scenes. It's just that in between the magically endowed dildos and water nymphos, there's transdimensional exposition and loony pirate battles.
On that first quick reading, I feared that the sexy stuff was Curvy
's main gag, that the whole joke was in watching people go at it in the background. Cute, but not something that heats up my loins when it pops up in my RSS reader. But, as it turns out, Curvy
is made of funnier stuff than that. When I reread it more slowly, with both hands on the keyboard, I caught all the sly jokes Migdal places in her comic that often have nothing to do with sex at all.
In fact, one of Curvy's chief strengths comes from Migdal's wonderfully strange world-building. In Candy World, two people aren't married until the groom unwraps his sugary bride. Pirate World features a mer-person who is both transgendered and transspecies (people just have trouble accepting him as human with that tail). Corporate World is an uber-Randian nightmare, where even a kiss requires money changing hands. And after Anaïs touches down in Super City, she's handed a themed costume and sent to sidekick for a superhero with a pec window.
All Anaïs wants is some simple, worlds-shattering sex with Fauna, or, barring that, a ticket home with no one trying to kill her. But video game logic dictates that she'll have at least a few more themed worlds to travel before she can defeat the big boss and liberate the princess. And porn logic dictates that she'll bed plenty more interesting people before she reaches the final castle.