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Review: MUSE, by Filippi & Dodson


Words: Denis-Pierre Filippi
Art: Terry Dodson
Publisher: Humanoids
In Store Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Review by John Anderson

Muse chronicles the sexy reveries of Coraline, who is the new nanny for an insufferable rich kid who is obsessed with inventing elaborate steampunk contraptions. Coraline’s exact job is never defined, but it might have something to do with lying around in revealing attire for the benefit of the peeping tom groundskeeper. To make things more interesting, every night Coraline has titillating dreams where she finds herself on a pirate ship, a desert island, or in a fairy tale – and she wakes up missing her underwear.

I’m reminded of Little Ego, Vittorio Gardino’s erotic parody of Little Nemo. Like the character in Little Ego, Coraline has erotic dreams in exotic locales, although Coraline doesn’t attempt any psychoanalysis. Also like Little Ego, the plot of Muse is very light, and at times this book seems like nothing more than an excuse for illustrations of exotic set pieces featuring well-endowed ladies in a selection of ripped dresses. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you’re looking for – especially when the illustrations are done by U.S. comics superstar Terry Dodson. His jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork is what makes this book worth reading.

In fact, Filippo’s story and Dodson’s art were made for each other. The story is light and leisurely, giving the art time to fill in the spaces with lots of detail. The detail is more than just titillation, although there is some nudity and plenty of scanty clothing. I love how a lot of the texture is defined by colour rather than lines, and I love the use of shadows. Every panel contains a beautiful interplay of light and shadow, which combined with the slow-moving story gives the book a lazy, summery feeling. It’s slick and stylish without looking computer coloured. Dodson’s superhero work is great, but none of it looks as beautiful as Muse. And this edition shows off the art in the same size as the original French edition (9.5 x 12.5 inches).

Don’t expect an intricate plot or detailed characterization with Muse, but do expect a lazy, dreamy adventure, and some of the most gorgeous art you’ll ever see in comics.