Reading Resolution: “Sordid Past” edited by Andrea Purcell

13. A collection of short stories: Smut Peddler Presents: Sordid Past edited by Andrea Purcell

List Progress: 20/30

The Smut Peddler series has always been a great collection of erotic writing and art, from some thrilling names in the indie comics industry. The latest installment, Sordid Past, continues this pattern and has an even higher hit-rate than previous volumes. Obviously, trying to review and rate smut quickly wanders into the realm of the subjective, but there is a good variety to appeal to many tastes (and kinks).

The premise of Sordid Past is a simple one: each of the stories is set in a historical time period, ranging from ancient civilizations to gamers in the 80’s. There is not too much to say beyond singing the collection’s praises, so I will instead list some of my favorites.

-“Blessed by Baal” by Tzor Edery- The first story in the collection and the oldest time period, this story sets the tone of the book with a seductive, deliberate energy. A fertility ritual is set to begin, and two gender divergent people find each other and their places in their society. The strong, bold art style is very impactful and the orange and red color palate embodies the sultry summer heat.

-“Dances and Dalliances” by Jessi Jordan- Edwardian ballroom dramas are all about the rigid rules of etiquette and polite society, so seeing a pair of sisters behave shamelessly is a great contrast. A widowed woman is her younger sister’s chaperone to a ball, but while she sneaks away for an assignation with her female lover, the younger sister is having her own fling with a young man she’s had her eye on. There’s something special about erotica that is allowed to be fun, and this story is as fluffy and frilly as the gowns they’re all wearing.

-“Conversion” by Otava Heikkila- In a strong collection, this is a standout, both sexy and sensual. A Christian missionary has trekked into the Nordic wilderness to spread his message, but only finds a single man living in an isolated cabin, with no shared language between them. When a blizzard strands the missionary, the two men start to bond and find a connection stronger and more real than anything prescribed religious dogma could create.

-“A Queer Sort of Creature” by Rowan Woodcock- A polyamorous triad of silent film actors fool around after a day of shooting. It’s not that deep, but not everything has to be, and it’s hot.

These four are the tops, but there are plenty more to recommend; having read almost every Smut Peddler collection, Sordid Past has the highest percentage of stories I enjoyed, with only a couple not doing it for me. If you are in the mood for some fun, occasionally moving, illustrated smut, Sordid Past is a great place to start.

Would I Recommend It: Yes yes yes!

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