[This is the text of the book review from episode 55.]
This episode’s review is of Small Favors by Colleen Coover, published by Limerence Press.
Unlike some of the books I review I did not receive this one for free—I’ve purchased this book many times, in fact.
First, I bought each of the separate comic issues when they were released—there were eight of them between 2000 and 2003.
Then both of the collected volumes, which, between the two of them, brought together issues one through seven.
The edition I’m reviewing today is the hardcover deluxe version that was just released in May.
It collects all eight issues—the final issue is in colour—as well as sketches, pin ups, other behind the scenes bits and pieces and a new short story.
First, book as object. Since it’s billed as a deluxe edition.
It’s quite lovely—there’s no book cover to flap around and get in your way, the cover image and title are printed on the front. It’s rather classy.
The pages are sewn in so it’s solid and the headband (that cloth bit that sticks up at the top of the spine of some books) has gold glittery thread in it, which is a nice touch.
The end papers are a heavy weight colour I’m not going to describe because it’s not gold or beige and whatever I say will be wrong. It’s in the lightish yellow range.
About the only thing missing is a sewn-in bookmark, but you don’t really need it, as it’s a comic and it took around an hour and a half to read the entire book. I could have definitely spent more time over certain pages, though.
Oh yes, and it smells good. Because it’s a nice weight paper with lots of ink due to it being a comic.
Now, on to content.
Issue one of Small Favours is about Annie, who is fantasising about her cute girl neighbour. She’s having quite the vigorous wank, totally nude in the back garden, when suddenly, she’s absorbed by the ground and lands in some nether-realm where a stately, Queenly type figure and her apprentice (who are both teeny, tiny) paralyse her with magic.
These two beings represent her conscience. They stand on her naked chest and inform Annie that at the age of twenty-one she’s already used her life-time allotment of masturbation. To prove how salacious the girl is, she produces polaroids of her fiddling with herself in all sorts of situations.
Annie protests saying, ‘So I masturbate a little’
Queenly exclaims: ‘A little?! These were all taken on the same day!’
They tell her she’s simply got to behave herself from now on and in order to facilitate this, she’s been assigned this pixie-like creature named Nibbil. Nibbil has big blonde pigtails and appears to be wearing a black latex bikini with over the elbow matching latex gloves.
Her job will be to ensure Annie acts like a proper young lady from now on.
While the Queen and her assistant—whose name is Janus and I’ll get back to her—are blathering on about her moral turpitude or whatever, Nibbil has an eye-full of those polaroids of Annie diddling herself hither and yon.
The Queen and Janus go off to magically bond Nibbil and Annie together forevermore and our little pixie girl has discovered she’s utterly turned on by those photos.
Whatever is a tiny pixie girl to do?
Sometimes things are so large we don’t see them. Annie is just so big she doesn’t notice her there anymore—she thinks she’s alone. She’s super turned on, though, and sees a protrusion (hint: it’s Annie’s nipple) and hops on.
She’s having a grand ol’ time, then notices that she’s being watched and introduces herself.
‘Ummm, Hi, Annie! My name’s Nibbil! Gosh! I hope you don’t mind me fucking myself on your nipple!’
‘No. I like this. I like dirty girls.’
Having been given permission, Nibbil resumes her previous endeavours, now with the onomatopoeia of ‘boing boing boing boing’ and an expression of utter glee on her little face.
This entire comic is very funny. I laughed out loud many times.
Then, Annie is all turned on, but she can’t move—she’s immobilised by magic still—so she asks Nibbil to help her out.
And she does—what a sweetie.
Once they’re both thoroughly satisfied, the Queen and Janus return to announce the women are irrevocably bonded. Nibbil will be keeping Annie in line in perpetuity.
No, they didn’t see what happened.
The takeaway is Nibbil is magic and very sweet, if not the brightest crayon in the box.
Throughout the following issues (which become chapters in the deluxe edition) we learn that Nibbil can grow to human size. So they take turns wielding the strap on. They’re switches in pretty much every way.
Sometimes Nibbil stays small and they play with that in all sorts of ways.
There’s a poly element in that our pixie friend encourages Annie to approach the hot neighbour she was lusting over when they were first introduced and thoroughly enjoys Annie’s enjoyment.
They also meet another girl at one point and have some three-way fun.
Then there’s an orgy involving five people—all women. There are only vulva-having ladies in this book.
At one point, Janus, the Queen’s assistant, is sent to check up on Nibbil and Annie.
I love Janus.
Janus wears glasses and a prim dress and has her hair in a bun and is usually carrying books—the titles of which reflect her inner thoughts. Like ‘The Clean Human Being’ and ‘Humility’
Her goal is to please the Queen and receive her approval and admiration. This is her kink.
As she’s walking up the drive to do the check in, she grouses,
Meanwhile, inside the house, Annie is going down on Nibbil, who suddenly starts crying and then this conversation happens:
Annie says: Oh no! I’m sorry! I thought you liked it when I licked you there! Oh no!
And Nibbil says:
So they’re running around the house like lunatics trying to clean everything up so Nibbil won’t get into trouble.
And something really good happens, but I’m not going to tell you what because spoilers.
Part of why I have such affection for Small Favors is nostalgia—it was released when I was a young-ish lesbian. And I hadn’t seen anything like it—I still haven’t.
It’s as graphic as it’s possible to be.
I gave a copy of the first collection to my friend Bean for her birthday one year and we were walking in public when she flipped through it and went, ‘Whoa, that’s graphic, I need to put this is my bag, hold up.’
It’s pretty much cartoon labia on nearly every page.
But it’s also very sweet and funny.
It’s also quite kinky! I didn’t realise. Because I was a kinky person but didn’t know it back then—I just thought it was the normal way to be—but looking at it now a vanilla person might be annoyed by all the spankings and bondage and such.
There’s even a story called ‘How to Spank Girls’.
Note to my younger self: This isn’t the sort of thing vanilla people find normal. Find a clue, your life will be better for it.
I mean, in the very opening—Annie is fantasising about attaching her cute neighbour to the washing line with clothes pins by the nipples so she can do other naughty things to her. Sure. Everyone thinks about that.
At the same time—there’s so much explicit consent. There’s a lot of people checking in or affirming their desire to do things. Which is definitely not something you see in BDSM porn—or any porn, really. People usually just go with the fantasy of power. I give Coover much credit for that.
So, it’s super fun and the physical version is high quality and I’m very happy. The end.