Ready for a gay Paris manga tour?
Here’s the interview of Cyril, a local from the city.
Hello Cyril, you are from Paris and a fan of gay geek culture. Can you tell us a bit more about you?
I worked in IT for many years. Then I decided to change my life, and I became an event manager, and I worked in different gay venues since then.
I have a real passion for Japanese Manga of the 70s. In 2005, I created an organization in Paris for people who share my passion. We are now 300 members, and we organize regular events. France is the second country of manga fans after Japan.
What about the gay geek culture?
My passion started with Goldorak a long time ago. I did not realize at this time how gay erotic those cartoons were.
Manga has its own gay touch made of masculine’s friendship, hypermuscular guys fighting most of the time, and plenty of blur messages.
I like the hard work on the drawing of male bodies. Usually, they are very stylized without connection with real human anatomy. The characters are a fantasy of the author. It’s like an Asian version of Tim of Finland work.
Bara is a type of manga clearly focusing on porn gay male cartoons. The most famous cartooner is Gengoroh Tagame. He is very famous in Japan, but not that much in Western countries, as his manga were rarely translated from Japanese.
His work is pretty violent, pornographic and fetishist, with incredibly masculine and often bearish guys, playing hard domination games. The scenarios can even be really shocking for Western people, and I guess that’s why they were not published that much in Europe, nor in North America.
Which are your favorite gay geek places in Paris?
Les mots à la bouche, is an incredible LGBT library in Le Marais, where you can find plenty of gay erotic mangas, and most of the work of Gengoroh Tagame. It’s really a must see when you visit the French capital. If you are not a fan of Bara, no worries, they have hundreds of beautiful homoerotic books that you will fancy.
After all this porn, we can make a stop at Princess Crepe store to eat some crazy French-Japanese pancakes in a very “Kawaii” atmosphere (Kawaii can be translated as “cute”). Obviously, everything is pink, and the waitress, who speak very basic French, are dressed like female manga characters. This a little piece of Tokyo in the middle of gay bars and sex shops, a perfect place to make a break.
Le dernier bar in Les Halles area. It is a delightful place to have a drink and spend a good time with people passionate about manga, Sci-FI, and geeks culture. They organize plenty of events, art exhibitions, films screenings … If you are a geek, gay or not, you should not miss this place.
Mange Disque is the perfect place to finish a tour and have a beer, and even some light food. It’s a gay bar where you can listen to retro music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The atmosphere is very festive, and I’m often there.
Gengoroh Tagame, born on February 3, 1964, is known for his very explicit, even pornographic homoerotic illustrations. His drawings feature sadomasochistic, bloody scenes, even rape scenes, in a military or police context. He was first artistic director, after studying graphic design at Tama University of Fine Arts.
It was at this time, fascinated by art since childhood, that he began his first drawings. And its first mangas date back to 1986. From 1994, he was recognized for his talent and began to make a living from his work.
« I draw things that people tend to want to self-censor. »
His most famous work is certainly My Brother’s Husband, a gay manga published as a series in Monthly Action magazine from November 2014 to May 2017. This manga is interesting because Tagame changes his style here and deals with a more social and sensitive theme “on gay topics for straight readers, without X content”, he announced on Facebook in August 2014.
Each volume includes two or three “little lessons in gay culture, by Mike” defining in two pages the symbols (“rainbow flag”, “pink triangle”, “homosexual marriage”) or expressions (“coming out”). As a desire to democratize the gay world from an inclusive perspective.
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