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What is Geicomi?

“Geicomi” refers to the genre of erotic comics published and marketed to adult gay men. Frequently called “gei manga” (ゲイ漫画), it is different from the Boys’ Love genre in that its targeted audience is exclusively adult gay men. Therefore its contents are tailored to suit that audience. Currently, the most renowned and successful geicomi artist is perhaps Gengoroh Tagame (田亀 源五郎), who was able to reach the mainstream media market with his manga Otouto no Otto (My Brother’s Husband).

Etymology

“Geicomi” is written in Japanese as ゲイコミ, which is an abbreviation of the words ゲイ (gay) and コミック (comic). The term is quite literal and straightforward. Many interchangeably used the word with ゲイ漫画 (gei manga), which also has the same meaning.

 

Brief History

While contemporary gay erotica art in Japan dates back to the publication of Fuzokukitan in the 1960s, magazines meant for the general gay audience mostly published geicomi works. In 1986, Barazoku, the first commercial magazine for gay men in Japan, published a supplemental issue called Bara-komi, which became the first publication for geicomi contents. During that time, a lot of geicomi depicted hardcore and dark erotica, including S&M and rape themes. A lot of them pictured macho types with exaggerated muscles and body hair. While this style later diversified, even now, geicomi is still commonly associated with the fantasy of macho, muscled men.

There were very few geicomi-exclusive manga magazines published before the 2000s, such as P-NUTS in 1996. However, they were unable to keep publishing for long. With the boom of BL and yaoi at Comic Market (Comiket), publishers seemed to be more interested in the BL genre. During the early 2000s, gay magazines such as Sabu and G-men were discontinued. But even though gay magazines as geicomi platforms were decreasing, geicomi contents have found its way to various platforms: from personal galleries to Comiket, and even crossing over to the BL and yaoi culture, which resulted in the genre widely known in the west as Bara.

Until around the early 2000s, geicomi was typically described as works by gay men for gay men (arguably, this was done in attempts to differentiate it from the Boys’ Love genre). However, this simplification proves not entirely accurate as women mangaka also write geicomi or contents usually associated with geicomi. There were also objections stating that works should not be associated with the author/mangaka’s sexuality—just because a mangaka is gay does not mean all of their works become gay art.

 

Geicomi: Modern Usage

There are still ongoing debates on how to set geicomi apart from BL, especially considering a lot of geicomi mangaka also draw BL manga. A lot of fans often mistake geicomi as the BL subgenre bara or gachi muchi, topics that we will tackle in future fu-pedia articles. This is inaccurate, even though geicomi and gachi muchi are indeed connected. Geicomi is still a different genre, tailored and marketed for adult gay men. However, nowadays, the contents often crossover with BL due to the overlapping of its creators and audience.

 

Further Readings:

Gay Erotic Art in Japan Vol. 1: Artists From the Time of the Birth of Gay Magazines
http://www.pot.co.jp/pub_list/pub_book/tachiyomi/4939015580/outline.html

TCAF 2015 – Gengoroh Tagame Talks Gay Manga, “Bara,” BL and Scanlation
https://web.archive.org/web/20170112213453/http://www.mangacomicsmanga.com/tcaf-2015-gengoroh-tagame-talks-gay-manga-bara-bl-and-scanlation/

That Damn Bara Article!
https://web.archive.org/web/20090327212637/http://ggymeta.wordpress.com/popular-gay-manga-posts/that-bara-article/

BLとゲイの違い
https://www.chil-chil.net/answerList/question_id/3416/

表現とセクシュアリティーズ
https://cakes.mu/series/4288

 

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