Pain and Satisfaction in Luis Royo’s Prohibited Series
It is without doubt that Luis Royo is most famous for his sexy female warriors and fantasy femmes he has been presenting to fans and comic lovers all over the world. In several books like Women, Subversive Beauty, the Malefic series and more, we get a diverse insight of his universe. Having discussed his sexual depiction of dripping monster sex in his Prohibited books, we will have a closer look at other themes within this series.
Fig. 1: Dream in year 2000 and 2000 dreams, 1999
The first prohibited book compared to two and three, seems almost harmless. It was intended to introduce the viewer gently into his more erotic world of fantasy. We see his females mostly with a rather soft and tender facial expression which changes later in book two and three when they become lustier. Also, in his fist book, he doesn’t show monster sex yet, but sex with strong, muscular, young men. It also says that the fantasies could be possibly realistic, whereas in volume two and three acts are presented that “can only be found in the mind, and that only with great difficulties can travel beyond the waist.” This implies that they are physically impossible and can not be projected into the real world anymore. In the third book Royo writes that he focuses more on the setting and small details rather than the main action.
Fig. 2: The Burial, 2002
Fig. 3: The House of the Snake, 2002
Fig. 4: The Presentation I, 2003
Fig. 5: The Presentation II, 2003
Fig. 6: The Presentation III, 2003
Fig. 7: The Presentation IV, 2003
Fig.8: From the Prohibited Book 1
Fig. 9: From the Prohibited Book 1
Female lust is in the center of his work, sometimes in a sensual, sensitively composed manner, sometimes more direct and raw. In some scenes we even find some loneliness and melancholy and a strong facial expression of longing and even the need for soft touch and not rough sex. When Royo’s woman clings to a black gown, or when she seems to be waiting for someone with a sad expression in her eyes in a dystopian, barren world, the artist leads the viewer deeper into the emotional world of his females. The spectator might even wonder who the gown belonged to and if it might be a person she lost in this horrible world. We also ask ourselves if these chained, trapped, and imprisoned beauties will ever be free, which evokes compassion for the characters.
Fig. 10: From the Prohibited 1 book
Fig. 11: Form the prohibited 1 book
Fig. 12: The Wait IV, 2000
Fig. 13: Conscience’s Basement, 2000
Fig. 14: Surprise, 2000
Fig. 15: Fallen Angel, Avalanche, 2000
Fig. 16: Fallen Angel, Avalanche, 2000
Lust As Pain
Lust is also pain and the author emphasizes that not only by the way he presents his females, but also explains to the reader: “We wait, wishing for the instant to come that never will. It is a state of self-torture even though there are visual scenes and promising situations. … Our feelings, our longings, become heavy, rusted pieces of iron.” Therefore, his females in dark places, like abandoned-looking jails from another world or carrying heavy metal spikes on their bodies are also a metaphor for the torture of unfulfilled sexual desires. Absence becomes a central element and emphasizes deprivation and mental pain that becomes physical one. “Sex is the torture of nothingness”, as Royo comments.
In Premium more on Royo's exploration of pain and satisfaction including enticing examples, the "disguise" metaphor in Prohibited Book 3, and 51 mesmerizing scenes.
Sources: Prohibited 2, Prohibited 3 & Prohibited Sketchbook, Luis Royo, published by Heavy Metal, NY; www.luisroyo.com