Sunstone Volume 1
created by Stjepan Šejić
Blurb from Sunstone Volume 1 - German edition (translated):
"Sex nerds. Nothing else BDSM devotees are after all... behind all the masks."
Critically acclaimed comic artist Stjepan Šejić (Death Vigil, Ravine, Aphrodite IX, Wichblade) created a love story with a difference in Sunstone: Lisa's tastes have always been a little... different. Her desire in sex was to be tied up so she could give herself completely. A desire not easily fulfilled in relationships with social norms, which is why her love life has never been really satisfying... until she met Ally.
Ally seemed really average at first sight - she was successful in her job, owned a big house and had spent a loving childhood - but her dominant streak in sex made her something extraordinary, and for Lisa the perfect partner.
Sunstone is the first chapter of this often erotic, always entertaining, and surprisingly romantic love story originally published online.
Through a contribution of the german bondage maestro Matthias T.J. Grimme ("The S&M-Handbook", "The Bondage Handbook") I became aware of the first volume of the "Sunstone" series by Stjepan Šejić. The pictures I found of it on the net literally took my breath away. At that time, I had just blossomed into a real BDSM enthusiast (what that means, I'll describe here in the blog sometime) and frankly quite proud to have such incredibly horny experiences ahead of all the S&M muggles out there - who already shudder when a woman is tied up with handcuffs in the movies.
Today I smile about my sweetly naive S&M worldview from back then, but I'm also very glad to have enjoyed this phase so wonderfully cheerful and free. Anyway, back then it was still a tingling feeling for me to strut into a comic store and ask "Do you have the new volume of Sunstone?" The aura and posture of the nerdy counter man changed abruptly, I was eyed with fascination and then posture and voice changed and with a conspiratorial "Of course!" he disappeared and then brought the object of my (and probably his) desire to me at the counter. With self-confident-amused attitude I thanked, paid, winked at him again and then left the store with my booty - in the certain knowledge to have provided for intense fantasies ?
"Sunstone" is really like a miracle for me. Breathtaking drawings and a depth of text, thoughts, developments, impressions and experiences that completely captivate me again and again. So much could have gone wrong and degenerated into cheap cliché: Young beautiful educated characters, the wealthy dominatrix and the jobbing young lyricist, the kinky party scene... in fact everything screamed, "This can only be Kinky Play Kitsch!"...
In this context, the story of how "Sunstone" came into existence (which Stjepan Šejić describes in a wonderfully revealing and self-deprecating way in the first volume as a comic extra) is also exciting. At the time, the artist was in a creative crisis, jaded and empty, with no hope of a new awakening of his creative drive... completely burnt out. Then he remembered an intended project at the very beginning of his phenomenal career as a comic artist: a fetish comic.
The first drawings were made, clearly without the intention of ever turning them into a real story. And the fascination for the resulting, seized more and more possession of him. Under the pseudonym "Shiniez" (name inspired by the latex shine) he presented (in creative exchange and harmony with his wife Linda) on the creative platform "Deviant Art" his drawings and short strips, without any expectations. And the reactions were overwhelming, and rightly so! Fans were thrilled and asked for more, including the backgrounds of the protagonists of these wonderful artworks.
What were initially just a few beautiful fetish drawings became more and more a living cosmos. The characters came to life, changing in the process, taking on personality, background, depth and a charming sensual humor. Since it was basically the love story of two women, sexual nerds who find in BDSM the perfect cosmos to live out their passion, his wife Linda was involved especially when it came to portraying "typical female" in a believably intense way. As empathetic as Stjepan Šejić is, he is still "just a man" ?
Since "Sunstone" is a creative project of pure passion, the artist actually publishes his works and also the entire graphic novels for free on Deviant Art - an incredibly wonderful gift to the fans of his art!
Just how wonderful his work is is made clear by the fact that, although you can download everything onto your computer for free, the hardcover editions of the "Sunstone" story have nevertheless become international successes. For these editions, Stjepan Šejić revised his drawings, some of them heavily, but it's still significant that fans want to get this beautiful story home in print and enjoy it (as I did). You can even download the first volume as a print-quality PDF, which is identical to the hardcover version (only the beautiful extras are missing).
Story & my thoughts
Ally is beautiful and so successful as a software developer that she can afford a nice house and various extravagances. The latter include the S&M furniture and (latex) outfits that her close friend Alan designs and implements for her. Ally and Alan, moreover, are computer game nerds who can lose themselves completely in fantasy worlds. She appears as a dark-haired, sophisticated, fascinating person full of BDSM desires. But at heart, Ally is an incredibly lonely person who can only dream of ever realizing her dominant fantasies. It is already hinted in the first volume that she and Alan were once a couple who also practiced intense S&M games, but it didn't work out because they are both dominant.
Lisa is a young, intelligent, creative woman with sassy red hair and a lot of unfulfilled desires. She writes erotic fantasy stories and ekes out a living as a counter girl. Like Ally, she's looking for something special in her life - especially a way to finally live out her submissive BDSM passions.
These two longing beings meet while chatting online and quickly discover that they have a lot in common. But the uncertainty is great whether the online fascination can also be transferred to the real world. Real BDSM is largely based on total trust, without which true devotion is not possible. Finally, Lisa takes heart and confesses to Ally that she would like to meet her. And Ally invites her to her house (and has Alan build a bondage bed that matches her deepest dreams).
Two women who have been into men, and both assume that this will all be a series of intense sexual kinky S&M adventures at best, are portrayed with all their hopes and fears and insecurities. And in doing so, real and human in a way that simply charms - I'm head over heels in love with both of them! And fate begins to play its wonderfully wild and sensual game with the two, who - despite all reservations - fall hopelessly for each other and fall head over heels in love.
Watching them and sharing how they struggle with their inner constraints and insecurities, how just embarrassing situations lead to more and more connectedness, that is so wonderfully described that I can only bow before the artist full of gratitude for this enchanting work. And since I have lived and live both sides (Dom and Sub), I know only too well that the inner dialogues described are of enchanting truthfulness.
I love the "Sunstone" graphic novels probably more, than everything else, that has been published in the matter of BDSM so far. Exciting for me is also my reception of this intense story in the change of my own development. When I devoured the first volume, I was still a heterosexual maso-sub. Today, on the other hand, I am a lesbian maso-sad dominatrix. As a result, I can empathize with the characters incredibly well and have been able to live through and enjoy "Sunstone" from both perspectives over the years. And no matter which of the two sides (Dom or Sub), they are true in any case.
As incredibly beautiful as the drawings and designs - especially of the latex outfits and tattoos - are, the truly fascinating thing that captivates me so much about "Sunstone" is the "inner space" of the characters. Stjepan Šejić does not succumb to the temptation to describe sex and sessions explicitly, much is merely hinted at - and thus lets the reader's imagination run wild all the more. Some panels are comparatively simple and give so much space to texts that describe the thoughts and communications of the protagonists that one almost has to do with an illustrated book. And then again one is confronted with drawings of such richness of detail, such fetishistic fantasy and liveliness that it literally takes one's breath away. This unique mix, in my opinion, lifts "Sunstone" far above anything comparable and is of unmatched depth and sensuality - and truthfulness.
"Sunstone" was published in germany by Panini Publishing in a great translated edition as a wonderful, noble hardcover album. The paper and print quality is perfect and everything is just right here. After devouring the story of Ally and Lisa's first meeting and their budding love, you are treated to more beautiful paintings (to call them drawings would not do them justice) and the aforementioned, delightfully self-deprecating comic story in which Stjepan Šejić describes how "Sunstone" was born. And once again proves that from the greatest depth often arises the most beautiful.
Publisher: Top Cow Productions and Image Comics
Author & illustrator: Stjepan Sejic
shiniez on Deviant Art:
The first story as PDF on Deviant Art:
Why I of all people write a blog about passion, sex and everything around it? Because until a few years ago I myself was still incredibly clueless, preferred to put myself in cuddly dream worlds and was a sweet, yet inconspicuous sexually almost completely inexperienced cutey.