Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Primer

Ghetto Librettos

In Mexico, comics are called historietas. They are small, pocket-sized books with color covers and black and white or color interiors. There are drama, cartoon, and super hero historietas, but the most interesting ones are called “Ghetto Librettos.” These filthy books often have sensational covers that promise gratuitous sex and violence. The stories contained within used to be tame compared to the vivid covers, with the artwork on the inside never going pass a rated [R] point, that has all changed in the last few years as they have all gone hardcore. Ghetto Librettos are released on a weekly basis with print runs that reach the hundreds of thousands. Some have self contained stories, while others are ongoing sagas with recurring characters. They’re not the easiest things to track down but when you do find them they can usually be had for about $2. Even if you don’t speak Spanish there still fun to flip through.


Italian comics, known as Fumetti, are a great source for trash lovers everywhere. Bizarre storylines and imagery make these highly collectible comics worth checking out. Unlike their American counterpart, antiheroes and villains often have their own titles with some of the most popular being an erotic/horror mix not to different from Italian cinema.

Men’s Adventure Novels

When done well these novels read like a good b-movie actioneer, full of violence and sex. An average novel will usually take me about an hour or two to read through; to me they really are comparable to movies sometimes lifting scenes or entire storylines directly from film. A far cry from “literature” this is pop fiction at its best. Predictable outcomes to storylines you’ve read a dozen times over, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying a trash paperback. There is something pleasantly sublime about these books.

Pornographic Novels

Before VCRs were a household item the adult book store mainly dealt in, what else, adult books, also known as pornographic novels. During their height in the 60’s porn novels had to follow a certain outline or the publishers would be prosecuted for violating obscenity laws. They had to be educational and have just as much story as there was sex. Following these two rules publishers churned out thousands of pseudo psychological “stories based on real cases”. They would usually begin with a doctor writing about his case study how this troubled woman or man got to the desperate place they were at, the doctor (or sometimes patient) would narrate the dirty story. From the mid fifties to about 69’ the novels were written in such a way that they rarely contained any four letter words. Instead the writer relied on creative verbiage to tell the story without actually describing what was going on in graphic detail, all the while padding the story with often time’s unintentional funny filler. Everything changed around 69’ after a court ruled in favor of a pornographer trying to beat an obscenity charge. The ruling opened up the floodgates of hardcore porn as we know it today. Adult novels were produced up until around the mid eighties. These books go for hugely inflated price on the aftermarket, with titles about rape, incest, and bestiality fetching the highest dollar. It’s funny how everything seems to have gone full circle, with romance books that have scenes one could only describe as pornographic constantly making the bestsellers list.

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