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Here’s a heartwarming story to start your New Year off right: a labor-of-love BDSM webcomic made good!

Stjepan Sejic (don’t ask me how it’s pronounced) is a comic artist with some recognizable and mainstream titles under his belt, including a run on Witchblade. He’s also the author and illustrator of Sunstone, a BDSM romance that started as a collection of random, wordless drawings on DeviantArt and blossomed into a detailed story about a domme and a sub and their intertwined (sometimes literally) friends.

sunstone_coverNow it’s out in graphic novel format from publisher TopCow. You can and should get Sunstone on Amazon, particularly since this isn’t the sort of comic book local stores are likely to stock up on and keep on the shelves. For $12, you get a lot of craft, a lovely story, and yes, some sizzling-hot illustrations.

I’m not affiliated with Sejic in any way, and this is purely a personal recommendation from a fan — though I have to admit, his success in seeing Sunstone to mainstream publication is heartwarming for all of us who want to see erotic artists normalized. It’s reassuring to think that a successful artist/author can create an explicitly erotic, kinky work and still simultaneously find contracts for more mainstream projects.

You could also go read the whole thing for free on DeviantArt, but the gallery is a bit of a mess. There are out-of-continuity and out-of-order strips, some of them skipping ahead quite a ways in what’s become the official storyline, and a lot of the pieces got refined, altered, and improved for the print version. The graphic novel also comes with bonus pages of sketches, essays, and explanations for things like the out-of-order website, so all around you’re getting a better experience. And, of course, you’re letting publishers know that there’s an eager, hungry market for quality erotic products sold up front and in public, not tucked away in a dirty porn shop off the interstate somewhere…