Michael Manning is a fetish artist based in Los Angeles, having moved there from San Francisco in late 2005. NBM has published several collections of his work, including Cathexis and Lumenagerie, and a series of graphic novels, The Spider Garden series, which consists of, in order: The Spider Garden, Hydrophidian, In a Metal Web, and In a Metal Web II. French, German, and Italian language editions of "The Spider Garden" have been published by BD Érogéne and Phoenix Erotica. He also worked on The Tranceptor Series with Patrick Conlon.
Born in Queens, New York and raised on Massachusetts’ North Shore, Manning went on to study film and animation at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He began self-publishing his black & white erotic comix in 1987 while working as an animator and director of short films, commercials, and music videos. Early exposure to Japanese animation, fairy tale book illustration, American and European comix, and mythology of many cultures has contributed to the formation of Manning’s style.
He also created illustrations for the web site of Fetish Diva Midori.
Manning's work draws heavily on Japanese influences, being somewhat stylised and almost exclusively black-and-white. His themes are notable, even amongst fetish artists, for depicting potentially taboo subjects such as zoophilia. Many of his images include beings which are mythological (such as centaurs) or at least biologically improbable, such as hermaphrodites.
This strand of his work is best developed in the Spider Garden series. This is set in a futuristic, matriarchal world of warring clans, ruled by the 'Scarlet Empress'. The action centres on the eponymous Spider Garden, a palace-fortress ruled by the 'Sacred Androgyne' Shaalis, who has male and female genitals. Shaalis is referred to by the pronouns 'hir' and 's/he' (pronounced as "her" and "she" respectively) to denote hir polysexual status. The story follows the political intrigues between Shaalis and the two 'Sisters Serpentine', Squamata and Lichurna, amphibian humans who command a rival clan based in the Manse Hydrophidian. Also appearing in the story are the Tengu, a race of semi-human creatures roughly resembling bipedal horses. These creatures appear to be inspired by, but not identical to, the Tengu of Japanese legend.
Manning's work with Patrick Conlon on 'Tranceptor' is an interesting melding of the two artists' styles, set in a future wasteland inhabited by genetically modified humans. Although billed as 'Tranceptor Volume 1: The Way Station', no other volumes have been published as of September 2005; Manning has, however, revealed that the title of the second volume will be 'Iron Gauge'.
In 2005, Last Gasp published a hardback collection of Manning's erotic art, entitled Inamorata.
References and further reading
- Michael Manning, Cathexis (Tranceptor Series), Amerotica, 1997. ISBN 1561631744.
- Michael Manning, Lumenagerie (Tranceptor Series), Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1561631515.
- Michael Manning, The Spider Garden (Spider Garden), Eurotica, 1995. ISBN 1561631175.
- Michael Manning, Hydrophidian (Spider Garden), Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1561631671.
- Michael Manning, In a Metal Web (Spider Garden), Amerotica, 2003. ISBN 1561633569.
- Michael Manning, In a Metal Web II (Spider Garden), Amerotica, 2003. ISBN 1561633607.
- Michael Manning, Patrick Conlon, Tranceptor: The Way Station (Tranceptor Series), Amerotica, 1998. ISBN 1561632112.
- Michael Manning, Inamorata, Last Gasp, 2005. ISBN 0867196289.
- Michael Manning, Patrick Conlon, Tranceptor: Iron Gauge (Tranceptor Series), forthcoming according to Manning's blog.
- The Spidergarden.net - The Art of Michael Manning
- Michael Manning's Online Journal
- Spidergarden Yahoo Group
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