Review by Frank Plowright
Erich Von Gotha (sometimes Von Götha) is the pseudonym of a British artist Robin Ray, who deserves a lot credit for pioneering independent comics in Britain. He’ll never get that credit because his work is exclusively erotic, and the independent comics he wrote and drew from the late 1970s were only distributed to British sex shops. His, however, is a story with a happy ending as the work may have remained hidden in the UK, but it was lapped up in Europe, and he’s produced numerous graphic novels in foreign languages.
On occasions they’ve even been translated back into English. That’s the case with Twenty, where he moves back into modern day mainstream sexual content after several volumes of Janice’s BDSM ordeals in the Napoleonic era.
Twenty is the odd name of the lead character, eighteen when events start with her sent to a finishing school to complete her sexual education. This is very hands on, with practical experience high on the agenda. There’s no instinctive diffidence to Twenty, who takes to all activities offered with an almost supernatural enthusiasm. Why, one would almost think the slim attractive blonde is pandering to male fantasies. Which of course she is. Although well illustrated, there’s no pretence of Twenty being about anything other than sex aimed at a heterosexual male audience. The sex begins on page two, and there’s barely a page without it thereafter. Twenty visits a porn cinema, is the main attraction at the Wankers Club, and in the middle of it all there’s a strange abduction after which Twenty inherits a chain of other sex clubs. Men are emphatically endowed, and women delight at the sight.
Yes, if analysed objectively, it’s all very silly, but few sex comics have Von Gotha’s understanding of what stimulates. His art is a lush illustrative naturalism with an appreciation for athletic bodies of both sexes, and unlike most erotic artists he favours small panels to tell a story, ten and over not being uncommon throughout Twenty. He’s creative with his sexual scenarios, and varies the viewpoints during activities to maintain interest. His is a seductive blend that has proved very popular. Three sequels have followed, only one of which has officially been translated into English. Von Gotha’s comics are easily located online, however, with fan translations of the later material available.