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Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied) Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

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Captain Jung and his Star Crossed crew

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

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If you’re fan of erotic comics, then it’s likely that the crew of Star Crossed from Class Comics is going to be high on your list of fantasy encounters.

The good news is that Patrick Fillion and Robert Fraser and the team have delivered more space action with the release of Star Crossed: The Collection.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

This is a great starting point if you haven’t encountered the Star Crossed universe previously. As a bonus, the collection also includes an origin story for Flamer – one of our favourite characters.

“I’ve always been a huge science fiction nut, with a particular love for Star Trek Voyager and Space 1999…” explains Patrick Fillion. “Those influences are always in the back of my head when I write science fiction. Space can be a very scary, mysterious place. It’s a vast unknown and you won’t always know what’s waiting for you around the bend. It’s part of what I love so much about Voyager and Space 1999 - the weird, strange mystery of the undiscovered, coupled with a sense of apprehension about what you might stumble onto next.”

Fillion is keen to point out that you don’t have to be a fan of science fiction in order to appreciate and enjoy the world of Star Crossed.

“I think it can enhance your enjoyment, but I also think that if you have an appreciation for gay erotic comics, you can get into the fact that these characters are all really sexy and tons of fun…” explains Fillion. “At the end of the day, some of them may be aliens and stuff, but really, they’re just six regular guys who happen to be out in space. The fun is in their interaction and the way they handle the situations they face - and it doesn’t hurt that they have sex at the drop of a hat.”

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

I caught up with Patrick Fillion for a behind-the-scenes look at the new publication.

Why have you decided to release a collection of the Star Crossed stories published so far?

The time felt right. The first three issues of Star Crossed reach an organic kind of ‘chapter’ conclusion, and when reading them in tandem, you get a far better sense of who these characters are. All three issues make for a really exciting, grand space adventure that flow really nicely together. But also, the fans were demanding this series in print. We felt this was the best format in which to deliver it to them.

What was the initial inspiration for the Star Crossed characters and their adventures?

I’ve always been a science fiction fan, ever since I was a little kid. I remember drawing all kinds of space action comics when I was growing up, making up my own heroes, planets and space monsters along the way. That’s always stuck with me.

Over the years, I started to realise that, subconsciously really, I’d created a bunch of characters in the classic sci-fi, space adventure genre. Often they were introduced as supporting cast in other titles such as the Felinoids series. It just made so much sense to assemble them together, flesh them out, and give them a chance to shine on their own.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

Is Star Crossed a gay porn version of Guardians of the Galaxy?

Not at all. Sure, the two series share one thing in common – they’re about superheroes in space, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

People have a tendency to want to compare everything to something else, and that can dampen their enjoyment.

Additionally, the first adventures featuring the Star Crossed characters were published in the early 2000’s, in comics like Rapture #2 and Boytoon Adventures, before the current Guardians of the Galaxy hit the big time. So I guess, in a way, you could say that Star Crossed pre-dates Guardians of the Galaxy.

When you first began creating the Star Crossed universe, did you map out where you wanted to take these characters and their stories, or have the stories been unfolding as you progressed?

It’s been a little of both, actually. I mapped out quite a bit at the start of the series, but inevitably, your characters reveal new avenues as you write them, so you deviate from your plan. But that’s a wonderful thing! It means that the characters have a voice of their own, and you can discover some really great, unexpected tangents when you follow those surprising new paths.

I love to see where these new tangents can take me and the characters creatively.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

Does this collection represent all the stories that you’ve created so far in the Star Crossed universe, or are there additional stories that connect with the characters that we see here?

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This collection features all of the official Star Crossed comics under that title. It doesn’t feature the older books in which the characters are all individually introduced, but what it does do is bring the reader a concise and complete way of enjoying the current Star Crossed adventures in one big tasty gulp!

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

The Star Crossed collection includes the origin story for Flamer. Are we going to see origin stories for all of the Star Crossed characters?

Absolutely! We chose to reveal Flamer’s origin first because he’s the character from the series that fans have been demanding we flesh out the most. He’s been a fan fave for years, so it just made sense to us to start with him. But I have such a soft spot for Jung and for Disco, and the others too. I definitely want to explore how these guys ended up in space, bounty hunting for a living and having all kinds of crazy sex while they’re at it.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

You’ve said previously that one of the reasons that readers respond to Star Crossed is that we love to see our heroes in peril. Why do you think that is?

Peril’s exciting! It’s at the heart of almost all stories. You don’t have excitement without some kind of danger or drama.

We grow up with it in our pop culture. I remember how jazzed I was to see Spider-Man or the X-Men in deep trouble on the cover of their comics when I was growing up. You want to see your heroes triumph, to be heroic and larger than life, but in order to do that, they need to be in some kind of desperate situation, first.

I think that when you appreciate adult comics, peril and sex can intermingle in a really potent and titillating way, but in a medium that offers you complete safety when exploring the concept. You can allow your fantasies to roam to slightly darker corners, in a safe and harmless manner. I think that’s a great way to fantasise.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

Does a science fiction story such as Star Crossed enable you to explore some of the weirder sides of sexual fantasy?

Absolutely! Sci-Fi is very freeing and there’s so much you can do in outer space or on other planets. It’s wonderful being able to go places that might seem weird or unusual in other comics, but in Star Crossed, it all makes perfect sense. Not every being is going to be human, and they aren’t all going to function as humans do. It’s a blast exploring what that means, sexually. It can make for some really creative storytelling.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

The artwork for the Star Crossed stories is by Alexander. What’s the creative process – is it narrative-driven or are you co-creating the story with narrative and images?

Working with Alexander is so fulfilling and such a joy in my life. He’s always up for anything I send his way, and draws the hell out of it. He’s so creative and talented.

I write the scripts and I’m always careful not to reveal too much to him in emails and texts when we communicate. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises for him. Once the script is done, I send it his way and hold my breath, praying I haven’t written anything he’ll be uncomfortable with. Honestly, that’s never happened. Alexander’s such a pro. He’s willing and more than capable of drawing anything!

Once he has the script in hand, he creates very rough thumbnail sketches, to break down how the pages and panels will flow, and to give a sense of what they will look like. Once those roughs are approved, he moves on to the actual line art, and then once that’s all approved, it’s colour time.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

Which of the characters in Star Crossed do you most identify with personally?

Definitely Jung! There’s a duality about him that I can really relate to and empathise with. I find it makes him very human. He wants to do the right thing, but sometimes life gets in the way of that. I think he eventually gets to the correct destination, but the road he travels may get bumpy along the way.

The way he wrestles with that inner voice of his – I get that. He just really wants to make the right call, and I have a feeling he’s pretty hard on himself when he misses the mark.

You see a little of that in Star Crossed #2, after he and his crew rescue Ezzet and Krueg from Dr. Pupae. It’s my favourite Jung moment so far.

Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

When can we expect the next addition to the Star Crossed timeline?

I’m fairly certain that next year we’ll see the series continue. Currently, Alexander and I are working on the third issue of Mako Finn, with Alexander having taken over the series as its official new artist. And then, of course, Alexander also writes and illustrates his own title, Super Hung. But, I think that when both of our schedules open up, we’ll be more than happy to jump back into space. We both really love the Star Crossed boys and their universe. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to stay away for very long!

Dive into the world of Star Crossed by Class Comics

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Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)
Star Crossed by Class Comics (image supplied)

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Arts & Culture

Outdoors Cruising: the art behind the bushes

On a quest for anonymous and casual sex? ‘Cruising’ is not dead!

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outdoors cruising antonio da silva
© Still from "Cruising in the Park", Antonio da Silva (Edited)

Outdoors cruising is not dead!

We have all heard stories of the ‘old days’, before mobile apps and even gay bars, when homosexuality was a taboo – and in many countries illegal – outdoors cruising was the only way for gay men to be able to find a sexual encounter.

Nowadays, homosexuality is no longer criminal in most of the western world and technology is here to stay. Socialising with our friends or acquaintances behind a screen and finding a sexual partner has never been easier. But some still prefer the rush and the forbidden pleasure of a casual outdoors hook up with a random stranger.

If you think that the rise of new technologies and that the closure of gay adult entertainment venues is killing cruising – think again.

outdoors cruising couple

© Still from “Cruising in the Park“, Antonio da Silva

From underground culture to art

Outdoors cruising has been source of inspiration for many artists, Touko Laaksonen (a.k.a. Tom of Finland) being one of the most recognisable names exploring the artistic potential of cruising.

Many young artists have proved that this element of the sexuality of gay men is alive, well and more popular than ever and their artwork exhibited in screens and galleries all over the world.

A brilliant example of that new generation of artists is Antonio da Silva – a young award-winning Portuguese experimental filmmaker that explores the hidden side of homoerotic culture in a voyeuristic and indie way.

On his official site he explains:

“I have always been fascinated by male sex and sexuality. I became increasingly frustrated with how moving image explored this and have begun to make it the subject of my films over the last three years. I do not consider myself a pornographer but a filmmaker who use my background to choreograph short films with explicit sex themes.”

Since 2011, when he launched his first short film “Mates” – an intimate view into the world of online hook ups – Antonio has been exploring many current themes of the gay culture such as fetish, voyeurism and, of course, outdoors cruising.

Each film is a mystic combination of sound, image and movement that captivates the viewer from the first second and has granted him a space in some of the most wanted film festivals all over the world.

From the ‘hidden camera’ documentary style of Bankers, the dance-based choreographic scenes of Dancers, to the futuristic – and almost stroboscopic – view into the world of online gay sex of Spunk, Antonio keeps experimenting and delighting his viewers with the most captivating homoerotic short films.

“Cruising in the Park” – a sensorial immersion into the cruising scene

On his most recent work – “Cruising in the Park” – Antonio teamed up with Fabio Lopes to take us on a journey into the world of outdoors cruising. Moving away from the mainstream staged pornographic cinematography, it combines low angle and close up shots with a real audio experience and narrative giving us a sensation of first-person experience.

And, if just like me, you are a massive fan of movie/series adaptation of dark themed comic books like Jessica Jones and Watchmen, you will fall in love with Rodrigo Penalosa’s deep voiced narrator’s commentary throughout the film.

Don’t believe me, then watch the trailer (NSFW) below:

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