Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If Sex Criminals is the sign of the times, what does that say about us?

Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky, “Sex Criminals Volume 1:  One Weird Trick” (Image, 2014)

There’s one thing I’ve got to say first:  this is the first time I’ve read a comic about sex that hasn’t icked me out.  Personally I’ve always found the “hey I’m sexy” comics more disturbing than titillating.  I think that the trick is that Sex Criminals is about sex without trying to be sexy.  Make sense?

The plot is pretty thin, but then it’s not really about the plot is it?  Suzie stops time when she orgasms.  Eventually she meets Jon, who has the same ability.  They decide to team up & rob banks, both to stick it to the man and to save her library.  Unfortunately they hadn’t known about the sex police….

It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?  That’s ok, because it’s fun.  And that’s the attitude that Fraction and Zdarsky take towards sex.  It’s ridiculous and fun.  

And underneath this ridiculous story about people who can stop time when they rub one out you have commentary on everything from education to grief to the economy and more.  It’s a coming of age story for Suzie as she struggles to deal with her grief and learn about her sexuality.

Chip Zdarsky’s art is perfect for this strange science fictional story.  He avoids the clichés of the world of capes to give us an artistic vision that is both realistic and surrealist.  He works with the passage of time (much of the story is told in flashback) to keep the narrative clear while adding to the humorous tone of the entire series.

I don’t know when I’ve read a comic series that seemed to hit the zeitgeist as hard as Sex Criminals has.  It seems to have tied into so many important issues of the day.  Comixology was giving away the first issue of the series.  So go on over & download it.  Odds are you’ll want to pick up the trade.

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