Unicornhole – Kate Lacour

4 out of 5

I’m not sure how I would’ve taken this book on its own, without traveling back to it from a future where I’m familiar with Kate Lacour’s later works, and her visual obsessions. …Which are here, as well, but applied in a somewhat more “traditional” comic book fashion, and also in what I’d consider a less focused mode indicative of the artist’s comparative youth at the time; it is more surreal and expressionistic as opposed to purposeful and observational. 

Kate’s work has always focused on seeing life – humans, animals – through a lens that juxtaposes science with nature: vivisection studies are common, as are Frankenstein mash-ups of organic things in living and dead states, and very often with an eye towards some middle ground between sexualization and desexualization, not shying away from fu-on depiction of genitalia in a manner we might – removed from the context of the work – view as erotic (or a “traditional” pornographic depiction of that). 

And again, that’s all here. But perhaps the punny title and the cover art – some unicorns getting it on, the one on top with a goofy strained face; the one on bottom not as pleased – indicate where we are in the evolution of these ideas for Kate, with the interior short stories and illustrations filled with variations on penetration, pretty exclusively mingled with violence. 

And yet, we’re beyond the baseline sex = violence equation I think some of us stumble across in our teen / early adult years, as Kate is also already mixing that with her obsession with life and death cycles: in story one, a rape produces a child; in story two, new life comes from decay… and kicks off a snake-eating-its-own-tail cycle of that. 

But again, what would my take on this be without context of Kate’s later work? It’s hard to say. The drawing style is certainly less polished, and the short stories are very short – this is an independent job, so it’s only as many pages as Kate wanted – meaning the themes both aren’t fully developed and the scenes not necessarily clearly depicted. So the rating is a balance: the worth is there to stack up against Kate’s future efforts, and it’s also a very intriguing, if rough, standalone curiosity.