My Love, My Cephalopod

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barnaby_copperoctopus_largeBarbados-based graphic novelist and artist Barnaby Ward has introduced a new series of prints featuring women and sea creatures. They are beautiful, stylized images that evoke an amused curiosity between the subjects. But if your interest in women and sealife goes beyond mere courtship, you’ll be interested to know that a long history, coined in Japanese woodprint, precedes Ward’s pairings. More modern examples (probably NSFW) include the always prolific Zak Smith’s 100 Girls and 100 Octopuses, one of several prints by Audrey Kawasaki, a series of erotica by Yuji Moriguchi, and “Sarah and Octopus/Seventh Heaven” by Masami Teraoka. All of which hearken back to “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife,”  painted in 1820 by Katsushika Hokusai and considered to be the first work of “tentacle eroticism.” Go figure. Yet, for those of us who prefer our lusty cephalopods on the PG side, check out this fabulous collection of pulp fiction cover art.


Julie Greicius was Art Editor for The Rumpus when it launched in January 2009. One year later, she became Senior Literary Editor, and later, Senior Features Editor. Julie also co-edited the first book published by The Rumpus, Rumpus Women, Vol. 1, featuring personal essays and illustration from twenty kick-ass contributors. Her writing been featured on The Rumpus, Midnight Breakfast, Stanford Medicine Magazine, and BuzzFeed, as well as in the anthology The 27th Mile. She lives in California and is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board. More from this author →