Lost Girls

I finally read Lost Girls, but I’m not sure I have a lot to say about it. It was exactly what I expected, from the descriptions: three volumes of pornography featuring Alice (of Wonderland), Dorothy (of Kansas and Oz), and Wendy (of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys).

There’s something here for every taste — boy/girl, girl/girl (the majority, by the numbers), boy/boy, rape fantasies — and some that seem to be included just to gather attention, such as incest, near-bestiality, and underage sex. It’s too much at once with nothing substantial underneath, like making oneself sick on marshmallows. I should have taken a hint from the chapter structure, a strict eight pages each, and only read a few at a time.

Lost Girls cover
Lost Girls
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My biggest concern was that Gebbie’s art, which I don’t care much for, would get in my way, but it suits the material very well. She also demonstrates a varied range, evoking different styles for particular chapters as the material demands.

As for story… there’s not much of one, beyond “having a lot of sex makes women feel young and happy”. The theme conflates imagination with sex, which paradoxically at times felt very unimaginative. Can’t fantasy be just that, instead of submerged lust?

Moore’s writing can be too clever and pleased with itself, as when Alice’s trip through the talking flower bed is mapped to a girls’ school where all the students are named after flowers. The symbolism is worked out almost mechanically, and the metaphors are belabored to the reader, with the characters pointing out what parts of the classic stories we’re supposed to be reminded of. In that way, it resembles its less handsomely packaged fanfiction siblings, not trusting its reader to know as much about the characters as the writer does, who winds up showing off his research.

It’s a trifle, an aberration in the market to have such forgettable erotica bound in such an upscale presentation. It’s meant to be life-affirming, but the compulsion to find sex behind every element of these classic children’s stories strikes me as sad and old-fashioned, like a randy elder uncle who isn’t getting enough.

Hmmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought. I don’t regret reading it, and I’m not going to immediately get rid of it, but if you’ve read about the book and thought “that’s all I need to know”, stick with your instinct.

10 Responses to “Lost Girls”

  1. Journalista » Blog Archive » Nov. 6, 2006: A clear case of justifiable use of force Says:

    […] Johanna Draper Carlson reviews Jamie S. Rich and Marc Ellerby’s graphic-novel series Love the Way You Love, as well as Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls. […]

  2. James Schee Says:

    I’m sort of curious about the book, but not really enough to buy it. Too bad that given the subject matter no library in my area(or state) will ever carry it.

  3. JP Says:

    After reading your review and Reason magazine’s piece (“… my inclination is to applaud anybody who markets full-bore pornography to a mainstream readership … But in practice it looks suspiciously like an aging wild child trying to show he can still let his freak flags fly at The Man and all his hang-ups.”), I’ll probably skip this one too.

  4. Johanna Says:

    It’s not a bad read, but as James says, it would be better as a library read or borrowed some other way. It’s a shame that the content makes that unlikely.

  5. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Lost Girls — exactly the kind of book made for these lists, but disappointing given its pedigree (and price!). Not bad, but not as wondrous as hoped. […]

  6. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Just received this press release: Top Shelf Productions is pleased to announce that the Canada Border Services Agency (Canada Customs) has formally cleared Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls for importation into Canada. […]

  7. A Detailed Harvey Awards Ceremony Writeup » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] one nominee, me”). Tom Brevoort gave the Special Award for Excellence in Presentation to Lost Girls, from Top Shelf, and the Best Graphic Album — Original to Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. […]

  8. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] was also, and this seems like an odd thing to say, too much sex in it. I’d already read Lost Girls, so I didn’t particularly need to see more of Mr. Moore’s fantasies about unrestrained […]

  9. Fun With Numbers: How Does That Work? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] ICv2 article about the upcoming release of Lost Girls in Europe on January 1 says this, quoting co-publisher Chris Staros, about print runs: We are […]

  10. Alice in Wonderland Comics » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] There are several manga revamps, where similar characters are put into new situations, such as Alice 19th or Alice in the Country of Hearts. Extensions Hatter M and Wonderland tell more stories with the same characters, as does the serious-minded adults-only graphic novel Lost Girls. […]




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