So I have been sitting on this review for quite a while and it’s not because of my ADHD… Okay maybe a little bit because of my ADHD but that’s besides the point. Sir, Butler & Boy is one of my favourite comics and played a large role in the exploration of my gender, sexuality, and my kink journey as I was emerging into adulthood. I wanted to make sure my review of it could not only do justice to the beautiful story and art but also iterate exactly what it did for me. So buckle up because this is going to be a long one!
Sir, Butler & Boy is a comic series written and drawn by Manchester based queer artist and costume maker Tab Artemis Kimpton. It was originally published on his website, Discord Comics, and is free to read! In his store he sells paper issues as well as a beautiful hardback omnibus of the stories. My most recent purchase was of the hardback collection and the paper issues.
The story follows the kinky escapades and secret lives of three Victorian gentlemen; John, the Irish grounds keeper, Arthur, a valet, and James their young master. In the privacy of James’ home you see them shed their status and trade their roles to become the Sir, Butler, and Boy. Each chapter explores a new kink, a new sexcapade, and another a piece of their relationship.
The comic is drawn traditionally on A3 card with pen and ink and results in the incredible art work that I’ve grown so fond of. Each page of the comic is dynamic and full of emotion through the characters expressions, body language, and the perspectives that Tab draws. The design of each character is unique and I love the different body types unabashedly on display. James has the toned figure of a young gentleman, Arthur the thin yet strong frame of a man accustomed to working indoors, and John with the beautifully thick build of a man who works hard and well with his hands. Coincidentally I may or may not have a thing for Johns hands. However the most interesting part is that at no point is genitalia shown; the most you get is perhaps a bulge in a pair of trousers. To which I think makes the story much more intimate and adds a level of titillation that some more explicit comics may not have.
The story much like the art is phenomenal. Each chapter is an episodic look at pieces of their lives and relationships, some kinkier than others. They are relatively linear, some having flash backs to events that take place prior to the first chapter. Each chapter builds more and more into their relationship, their love for each other, and the challenges they face. John, James, and Arthur feel like real people; it feels as if this story could have been a story of real people.
Now I want to talk about why I love this comic in the way that I do. A fair warning to readers though that the following will contain spoilers and quite a bit of background information about my situation. Sir, Butler & Boy started coming out when I was eighteen and just starting out my bachelors degree. I was young, nervous, and unable to be a part of my kink community due to how much time school was taking up. As a result I dove head first into reading any form of erotica I could get my hands on. I had a very hard time finding something to scratch the itch that I had. This was before I knew I was ace so I didn’t quite understand why what I was finding didn’t appeal to me. In hindsight I know it was because all of the erotica I was finding was written expressly as wank off material and held almost no intimacy.
Then I discovered the first couple pages of the comic. While the first chapter doesn’t start out as entirely intimate, something felt different about it. I stuck on and I was glad I did. On the days that Tab would post I would wake up and immediately check for the next page; if it wasn’t up I would sometimes be checking in the middle of my first class of the day hoping it would be up soon. Reading the stories of the three queer and kinky men being intimate in non-traditional ways and them being unabashedly themselves overwhelmed me with emotion. Even now as I’m writing about it (and have ended up rereading the whole series again) I’m overwhelmed with those feelings again. It showed me it was okay to desire relationships with unequal power dynamics and to desire for my partners to hurt me.
I found myself relating very strongly to James. A young man who perhaps has only had fantasy, never any chance to explore his desires except in the safety of his own mind. There are two instances that come to mind that stuck out to me the most as I was reading. In the chapter For Starters James arrives home a day early and walks in on Arthur and John going at it. He says “You’re both… warped” when understanding the explanation and then later in Sins of the Father he says that he meant “are you warped like me.” For those that don’t know warped was slang for individuals who were queer. This instance stuck out to me so strongly because I felt so alone in my want for kink and in my desire to do these things and have this intimacy that was shown.
The second instance was in Reading Between the Lines when Arthur tells James “We do not punish you because we want you to change, we punish you because you are a delight to punish.” I had become so used to seeing fights for power or bratting (though at the time I didn’t know what that was) in most of the mainstream erotica I was consuming that I didn’t know you could simply be “punished” because you wanted to be. It revealed to me through this character that I so related to that I could ask for pain simply because I wanted it.
Even now as I’m rereading the series while I still very much relate to James I find myself also relating heavily to Arthur. I’ve discovered in myself that I am a service slave and wish to be owned, much like he is illustrated to be. I also relate heavily to Arthurs fears of no one ever being able to go far enough to sate his masochism. I’ve noticed new things that are allowing me to learn even more about myself.
There are a million other lessons that Sir, Butler & Boy has taught me that I could write about but I shall reserve those secrets for you all to discover. Tab Kimpton does a marvelous job in illustrating real and healthy kinky relationships. The story itself is a wonderful and the characters are relatable to anyone regardless of where they are in their kink journey.
I would most definitely recommend this series to anyone in the community.
in love and leather