A Roundtable on Lost Girls. Hosted by P. Sandifier – Critical Analysis [Practice]

The nature and subject matter of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls [Moore, Gebbie.2006] is one that as a society, we shy away from discussing due to its sometimes uncomfortable, and deeply personal nature. ImageSext: A Roundtable on Lost Girls, attempts to break that silence by bringing together four different perspective on the book as a whole, in Sandifier’s own words “the single most important thing to do with Lost Girls [is] to talk about it” [Sandifier.2007:1] and that “talking about Lost Girls is like talking about sex: you’re never quite done.” [Sandifier.2007:10]

The discussions introduction explores previous attempts at discussing similar subject matters including the work of Linda Williams, such as Hard Core [Williams.1999], Tijuana Bibles, and Omaha the Cat Dancer [Waller, Worley. 1978 – 2006], providing a framework for the length and depth of the following discussion, as well as a template for some of the comparisons that will later be made. Rightfully so, the introduction also attempts to define pornography before beginning to dissect Lost Girls, castigating the “I know it when I see it” [Sandifier.2007:8] attitude. That the low opinion and hush tones Pornography is spoken with, is simply a result of a “fumbling inadequacy of talking about sex” [Sandifier.2009:9]. It is stated towards the end of Sandifier’s introduction, that each of the participates had read each other’s work, before submitting their final contribution, with participates referencing their colleagues at certain intervals. This inter communication between participants, helps to strengthen the notion that works such as Lost Girls, and even subjects such as pornography and sex should be openly discussed.

Kenneth Kidd’s Down the Rabbit Hole [Kidd.2007], the first of the accompanied essays, takes a more psychological approach when discussing Lost Girls. Choosing to discuss the Freudian implications of Lost Girls core appropriations, that of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [Carroll.1865], Peter Pan [Barrie.1911], and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [Baum.1900], particularly the paedophilic implications and accusations towards both Carroll and Barrie. Relating the pop culture position all three works hold in the public consciousness, and the multiple incarnations of each. Kidd quotes Booker when stating that “In the first discourse, Carroll is a sainted innocent, his books are joyous nonsense and Alice is his muse. In the other, Carroll is a paedophile, his books are dark allegories, and Alice is his obsession” [Kidd.2007:1], also mentioning artefacts and collectives, such as the child pornographer ring The Wonderland Club, to demonstrate that Moore and Gebbie are by no means the first to imply sexual undertones and content within these children’s stories. Kidd states that Moore and Gebbie’s interpretation is not a corruption of the original characters, but to allow them to become adults in themselves, “They rework key elements and themes to clever, often poignant effect, especially the shared preoccupation with innocence, desire and the problem of growing up” [Kidd.2007:2]. This is shown as a stark contrast to previous pornographic parodies, such as adult films and before mentioned Tijuana Bibles, believing that “Lost Girls succeeds not because it deviates from the originals but because it is perversely faithful to them” [Kidd.2007:2]. Kidd relates this to a term used in a colleagues article, Chris Eklund’s Magical Realism of the Fuck [Eklund.2007].

When discussing the three leads, Kidd describes Alice as “psychologically wounded yet sexually empowered” [Kidd.2007:4], referring to the portrayal of Alice’s molestation at the hands of Carroll, but here position as the ringleader in the books proceedings, initiating acts of sex and encouraging their storytelling. Moore paints Alice as someone who is affected by her past, even stating to have recently gotten out of an institution, but not one defined by them, her painful origin with the subject does not hold her back from enjoying it now. Notably, Kidd focuses much more heavily on the character of Alice, rather than Wendy or Dorothy.

Kidd attempts to explain the reasoning for using Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and The Wizard of Oz specifically. Kidd notes all three books place in the public consciousness, the idea that “Peter Pan, Alice, and Dorothy now also serve as poster children for queer theory” [Kidd.2007:8], and the time in which the books were written. Referencing Collins essay, History, Pornography and Lost Girls [Collins.2007], referring to them as “both Victorian and modern in its overall pornographic nature” [Collins.2007:1].

  • Barrie, J. (1911) Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Hodder & Stoughton. London.
  • Baum, L. (1900) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. George M. Hill Company. Chicago.
  • Booker, W. (2005) Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture. New York.
  • Carroll, L. (1865) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. London
  • Collins, M. (2007) History, Pornography and Lost Girls. [Online] ImageText Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Available from: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/collins.shtml [Last Accessed: 26/11/2016]
  • Eklund, C. (2007) A Magical Realism of the Fuck. [Online] ImageText Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Available From: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/eklund.shtml [Last Accessed: 24/11/2016]
  • Kidd, K. (2007) Down the Rabbit Hole. [Online] ImageText Interdisciplinary Comic Studies. Available From: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/kidd.shtml [Last Accessed: 24/11/2016]
  • Moore, A. & Gebbie, M. (2006) Lost Girls. Top Shelf Productions. Georgia.
  • Sandifier, P. (2007) ImageSexT: A Roundtable on Lost Girls. [Online] ImageTexT Interdisciplinary Comics Studies. Available from: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v3_3/lost_girls/ [Last Accessed: 24/11/2016]
  • Waller, R. & Worley, R. (1978 – 2006) Omaha The Cat Dancer. Kitchen Sink. Wisconsin.
  • Williams, L. (1989) Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the “Frenzy of the Visible”. University of California Press. California.
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