Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sophia: Da Vinci Code without the clothes

OK. Maybe Sophia, a graphic novel written by Massimo Visavi and illustrated by Adriano De Vincentiis, is not quite The Da Vinci Code. But somewhere in between the historical mysteries of Dan Brown and the erotic comics of Milo Manara lies this curious story. Originally in Italian, its 54-page first installment was published in English in the 2008 Summer issue of Heavy Metal magazine. Sophia Dellamore is a gorgeous supermodel and the heir to one of the world's largest fortunes. While one would think she'd have a ball traveling around the globe and enjoying her jet-set lifestyle, Sophia is deeply troubled by her past and embarks on a quest to recover her grandfather's will, locked inside a mysterious box, engraved with arcane symbols. But other sinister forces are interested in the object, magic comes into play and we're thrown into an esoteric thriller. The erotica comes courtesy of De Vincentiis' detailed art and his sensual portrayal of Sophia in all her states of dress and undress (even characters inside the book comment on the impracticality of some of her outfits). While a premise with so many campy elements could've easily turned into a ridiculous read, the competent scripting by Visavia and the gorgeous art keep fans eagerly awaiting volume 2. The authors have a hi-tech web site, with possibly the most awkward navigation I've ever encountered:

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