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

Arts & Culture

Captain Jung and his Star Crossed crew

Star Crossed #3 by Class Comics (image supplied)

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I’m always looking ahead to the latest release from Class Comics, so I was super-excited when they dropped Issue 3 of their Star Crossed series.

I caught up with Patrick Fillion for a between-the-pages look at the latest comic.

This is the third instalment of the Star Crossed world and its characters. Do readers need to know any back-story to these characters, or can they dive straight into this episode?

In a way, this third issue is a ‘side quest’ story. It fits in with the first two books, but has its own narrative.

It certainly helps to read the first two issues of Star Crossed in order to follow the current story a little more closely, but I think you can jump into issue #3 and enjoy the comic on its own as well. While Captain Jung, Disco, Flamer, and Locus were established characters before the Star Crossed series began, Ezzet and Puma are introduced in the first two issues. It’s fun to see how they came along and how they joined up with our other heroes.

For the full backstory of Captain Jung and his crew you would want to read Rapture #2, Felinoids #3, Boytoon Adventures #1, Locus #1 and of course, the first two issues of Star Crossed.

The biologists in this story get straight in there with some spectacular tentacle exploration and examination of our heroes. Why is tentacle porn such a turn-on?

Maybe it’s because tentacles aren’t another person to distract our attention from the one being tentacled. All our focus ends up on the person being tentacled.

There’s an almost clinical detachment about tentacles, at least in the case of the ones attached to the Biologists in Star Crossed #3. I think that can amplify the excitement.

Additionally, tentacles and tentacle creatures in comics are often depicted as instinctual things. It’s in their nature to seek out hot guys and grope and explore them using their appendages, leaving the subject of their attentions very much in peril — so many of us enjoy seeing our heroes in peril.

What are some of the science fiction inspirations or reference points for the world of Star Crossed?

I’ve always been a huge science fiction nut, with a particular love for Star Trek Voyager and Space 1999. Those influences are always in the back of my head when I write science fiction.

With this particular issue of Star Crossed, I wanted to play with that idea that 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.

Meanwhile, I certainly wouldn’t mind the Guardians of the Galaxy getting naked! Star Lord and Drax would make for some mighty fine viewing!

The coda of this story suggests that evil Dr Pupae is determined to seek revenge against Captain Jung and his crew. When can we expect the next instalment in this series?

For sure, the next few issues will focus on Pupae’s attempts to get his revenge. I’d love to say that book four will be out before the end of the year, but it all depends on how Alexander’s schedule matches up with mine. I’d love that, though. I’m eager to get to what happens next.

Alexander and I have a complete blast working on this series together. He’s as much a Voyager and Science Fiction fan as I am. I think we make a pretty great creative team on this book and we’re always eager to spend more time working with one another and these characters.

Do you have to be a gay geek to be turned-on by erotic comics such as Star Crossed?

Not necessarily. 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.

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.

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Artists

“In a fictional universe I would wield magic”

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Artwork by Stefano Junior (image supplied)
Artwork by Stefano Junior (image supplied)

I caught up with artist Stefano Junior to talk art, illustration, and super-powers.

When did you start to explore your passion for illustration and art?

I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember. According to my parents, I drew a very convincing female figure from my imagination at about three or four years old. From then on, when I wasn’t at school, watching cartoons, or voraciously reading comic books, I’d be drawing. My parents eventually enrolled me in a fine arts weekend program at a local college — I studied there for several years while going through grammar and middle school.

What is it about superheroes that appeals to you?

In hindsight, apart from the obvious colourful allure of superhero adventures, it was the transformative nature that is the basis of most superhero narratives. As a child, in suburban 80s America, with my penchant for the arts, girls toys, and a foreign name, I was bullied extensively — superheroes provided a means to escape, I could imagine that I might one day extricate myself from that oppression.

Books like Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which were ripe with soap-opera-like drama, reassured me that my ‘latent’ powers weren’t things to be ashamed of. Roger Stern’s run on Superman affirmed my beliefs that though people could be cruel and misguided, it didn’t mean that I should have to sacrifice my ethics and sense of what’s right. George Pérez’s Wonder Woman — that she was an immigrant appealed to me as a first-generation Italian, and she never lost her compassion for even her greatest foes.

Growing up with older sisters and a strong Italian matriarch may have influenced me gravitating to female heroes. But there was also the allure of the outrageous 80s feminine glamour of heroes like She-Ra, or the many fantastic mutant women of the X-universe who all played such pivotal roles in the series while donning fantastic costumes created by amazing artists like Paul Smith, Arthur Adams, and Marc Silvestri.

I love your drawings of Sorceror Stefano — is that an alter ego?

I’ve been developing an illustrated version of myself over the years. I’m currently studying cartooning at the School of Visual Arts — comic legend Phil Jimenez was one of my instructors my sophomore year. Our mid-term assignment was to create a fictionalised life drawing of ourselves in a turnaround. So I photographed myself, and further developed the design of my Sorcerer self. As an artist, the process of creation feels like sorcery, so were I to exist in a fictional universe, I would definitely wield magic. I’d also like to be physically invulnerable.

Who are some of your art heroes or inspirations?

My inspirations are pretty vast. From the art world it includes Bernini, Gabriel Rosetti, and Waterhouse. From comics it includes Esteban Maroto, Garcia Lopez, Marc Silvestri, Brian Bolland, George Perez, Phil Jimenez, Adam Hughes, Colleen Doran, Art Adams, and especially Alan Davis — both for the aesthetic beauty and elegance of his art, and as a draughtsman and storyteller.

If you could do a life drawing of a male super-hero, who would you choose?

Henry Cavill as Superman.

Your moustache game is pretty strong — what does your moustache say about you?

At its most base, it’s a homage to the machismo of the 1980s — particularly my hero, Tom Selleck as Magnum PI. He’s the epitome of masculine idealisation.

I grow it and shave it constantly — it’s spawned its own cartoon of my creation. You can follow the exploits of me and my moustache — Mr. Mustardo — on Instagram. It’s absolutely vain, but it allows for me to be humorous in a single panel cartoon form that deviates from the more representative work and superhero storytelling that I’ve primarily been focused on.

What are some of your goals and ambitions for the months ahead?

I hope to further develop an original comic that I started in the Fall, that centres around a complex heroine and a magical discovery. Plus there’s some newer humorous cartoons that Id like to serialise online somehow — one that follows the exploits of a majordomo in an early 20th century hotel, another that follows a boy through multiple mediums and circumstances that end badly.

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