If this new pornographer in comics has a unique charm, it lies in the quaintness of his transgressions. The most notorious Rey cover, for last year's The Crimson Gash #1 ("The Crimson Gash Vrs. Hitler"), feels almost nostalgic, what with all the monsters and missiles and Hitler. Its most contemporary touches are the syringes hanging from the left breast of Sheriff Judy, another Gash regular. (She gets her stabber back with a needle to his eye.) Yet the artist's motives for even that bit of unsightliness are supremely fan-boyish: Comic-book price guides routinely identify covers featuring Hitler as collectible. Ditto eye injuries, drug use, protruding breasts, bondage, torture, or atomic blasts. Says the illustrator: "What I did with this cover was try to hit every category."
So maybe Sandez Rey's comics are meaningless. Or maybe Rey isn't as sensitive as he lets on. Rear Entry #5—which he admits is his worst story—has a rape scene that "the Black Dwarf" rationalizes unconvincingly. "Vampires are dead, Bluebell. You can't rape a corpse—at worst it's necrophilia!" (The Gash agrees.)
That this debate even enters a fantasy, however, suggests how Rey's work is as much about thinking (albeit demented thinking) as it is about stroking—as much a noisy assertion of id as a cheesy entertainment. The Gash is ultimately high on her ability to do anything the artist can imagine, which is why she keeps explicitly demanding better stories: "I'm warning you Rey," she announces in Blowjob #5, "this faggoty surrealistic bullshit only goes so far!"
Sitting in his sunroom, Rey speaks enthusiastically about all the ideas he can't get into print fast enough. "That's probably why I'll never leave porn," he says, "because of this tremendous freedom to go where I want to go. Putting sex in it is not much of a limitation."
Self-portrait of the sensitive artist at work
The Crimson Gash #1 "The Crimson Gash Vrs. Hitler"
The Crimson Gash #2 "The Crimson Gash Vrs. Crime"