Teleny and Camille
- Dear Scholars,
I'm pleased to announce that my adaptation of the novel Teleny is
being published by Northwest Press -a new publisher focusing on Gay
graphic novels. Teleny and Camille debuted at Comic Con in San Diego
last month and was well received by fans and critics. It was good to
see the comic book industry so accepting of Queer content as well as a
larger expanded academic presence there. The works of Wilde and his
circle are still relevant and important to our history. It is my
sincere wish to bring new attention and new conversation regarding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Charles "Zan" Christensen, Publisher
Jon Macy, artist
A high-quality digital review copy of TELENY AND CAMILLE is available
to press outlets on request. Please contact zan@...
and a link will be emailed to you.
Adaptation of the "First Gay Novel" is First Release from Gay Graphic
Novel Publisher Northwest Press
Seattle, WA —Northwest Press, a new publisher devoted to printing
high-quality work showcasing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
stories, debuted its first book, Jon Macy's graphic novel, Teleny and
Camille, at Comic-Con International from July 21st-July 25th. This new
book is an adaptation of the anonymous Victorian erotic novel Teleny,
attributed to Oscar Wilde and his circle of writers and poets, about a
secret love affair between a wealthy young gentleman and an exotic
pianist. The book is available now from Last Gasp and will be
available through other distributors soon.
The graphic novel is framed with sequences set in the modern era, with
Macy explaining the reasons why he was drawn to the project, and
outlining some of the potential pitfalls. Though it's a period piece,
the novel avoids having a dry tone; Macy has attempted to evoke the
period without becoming a costume drama and keeping its audience at
arm's length. The characters in Teleny and Camille come alive as real
people, overcome and undone by long-suppressed passions.
"It's very historically accurate," says Macy, "but it's not just
another Victorian romp. These guys were aesthetes and they did
everything they could to be modern so. To some, the imagery might seem
too futuristic for 1890 but trust me, they were doing it at the time.
You might say that I show the Victorian London that they would have
liked to have lived in."
"One alteration I made was to tone down the more stereotypically 'gay'
dress. It's been over one hundred years since the trials of Oscar
Wilde, but we still carry the visual baggage. When they were
flamboyant and waved their flowers it was an act of rebellion. I had
to show their social protest in a way that hasn't had decades of hate
twisting it into something now ridiculed."
"I've always had an interest in unusual erotic novels," continues
Macy, "such as George Bataille's The Story of the Eye and Huysman's
Against the Grain and I had friends who would find and give them to
me. Teleny was one that an old friend thought I would especially like
and he was right. I was inspired by the intense hallucinations and
very dense descriptions of the love making. No where else would you
find erotic scenes describing lovers exposing their naked bodies to
the thunderbolts of heaven and luxuriating in a fiery rain of emeralds
and rubies. The language is gorgeous and the love between the men so
pure and intense."
The apparent goal of the novel—which was composed in secret by a
number of authors—was to create a work of erotica that aspired to be
literature, with a solid narrative, believable characters and rich and
varied cultural underpinnings. The result is a story steeped in both
sensuality and history, as the characters revel in the pleasures of
the flesh and draw parallels between their own illicit love and those
from Greek myth and elsewhere.
The book balances its literary aspirations with frankness about the
sexual escapades of its characters; their experiences run the gamut
from all-out horrific to near-divine, showing both the destructive and
redemptive powers of giving in to one's lusts. The main character,
Camille, constantly walks the line between seeing his love as a curse
or a blessing, and is frequently driven to extremes by the
overwhelming power of his love.
"I've always had a fascination with the elevation of erotic material
to the level of art," says publisher Charles "Zan" Christensen, who
also writes the erotic series The Mark of Aeacus for Class Comics.
"For such a basic human instinct, it seems that we routinely steer
clear of really exploring and being honest about our sexual lives, and
I think we're poorer for it. Teleny and Camille evokes the time period
and gives us a window into what life might have been like for gay men
in Victorian England, and reminds us of the vast distance we've come
in a relatively short time and the dangers of going backward."
Jon Macy was part of the early nineties black and white comics boom
with the series Tropo. It was followed by the erotic/horror comic
series Nefarismo from Eros/Fantagraphics. Since then, he has created
strips for gay skin magazines such as Steam, Wilde, Bunkhouse and
International Leatherman as well as the anthologies Gay Comix,
Negative Burn, Meatmen and Boy Trouble.
Teleny and Camille is a 248-page perfect-bound graphic novel. It was
made available for the first time at Comic-Con International in San
Diego at the end of July 2010, and is now available for order through
Last Gasp. It will soon be available from a number of other
distributors, including Diamond, Haven Book Distributors, and Bulldog
Books in Australia.