You may think there are only two types of comic books on the shelves today: superhero books and stuff featuring zombies. There’s more out there. Honestly. Way back in the year 2013, there appeared to be a hole in the comedic genre of comics: one which begged to be filled in any way imaginable – the sex comedy. If you want holes filled, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are just the two degenerates to do it. In September of 2013, they aggressively, yet lovingly, inserted their book Sex Criminals into our lives.
Despite my sometimes rather crude sense of humour and how much I have enjoyed Matt Fraction’s amazing work over the years, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of the book. Sex comedies don’t really do it for me. However, after reading the laugher-inducing interview of with Chip and Matt (this was the birthplace of the comics crossover we all deserve, “The Fingering”), conducted by our very own Comic Dork Supreme Leader, Nicole Rodrigues, I decided to give the first issue a shot. I may have ended up walking funny afterward, but it was well worth it and then it just kept getting better.
Suzie discovers early on that when you want to escape from the hardships of life, you need not look any further than yourself. Having her first orgasm, Suzie is transported into a different realm of our world where all time has stopped, a world which she calls “The Quiet.” Of course, no one can answer any of her questions about this, not even the slutty girls at school, so she does her own research into it discovering that she may be unique in this. In her twenties, while throwing a fundraiser to save her library from being foreclosed by the bank, she meets Jon. After they equally woo each other with their smarts and charm, they do what people do when they are full of lust and alcohol. This is when Suzie and Jon both find out that they are not alone. Climaxing opens the doors to “The Quiet” for both of them, or as Jon not so eloquently puts it, “Cumworld.” So what do two twenty-somethings do when they can stop time by making whoopee? Rob banks of course. Though don’t be too hard on them, they are doing it to save the library. After years of being alone with these special sexual powers, Suzie and Jon have finally found someone who understands, and they can do whatever they want – together. However, they cannot be the only ones, can they? Enter Kegelface.
Allow me to fact you in the face about Chip Zdarsky. He enjoys dressing up like Garfield, has a heart shaped tattoo with “MATT” scrolled on it strategically placed on his body, likes nipple clamps, has an unnerving relationship with his local Applebees, and can draw a rather slick comic book. Most of these things I know to be true. Each page of Sex Criminals looks and feels full without being overwhelming, with little comedic gems hidden all over the place. Honestly, go back and give it a reread when you are done: the stuff you’ll see will rub you in that special spot. You know the one. Chip treats every page like it’s important – the way it should be – with zero panel filler. With help from Becka Kinzie, the colours are rich and the flow from page to page is seamless. It’s the type of comic you feel that you certainly get your money’s worth out of.
If you follow Matt Fraction (Hawkeye, Satellite Sam, Inhumanity) on Twitter, you already know that he is a ridiculously funny cat. He is seriously on-point with Sex Criminals. While his regular paycheques come from writing cape books for Marvel, he isn’t as constricted here in the creator-owned realm, and if his online persona is how he is in real life, this book seems to have his voice all over it. This isn’t serious writing. It’s more like he saved up all those drunken conversations he has had with friends over the years (the ones where you spew the funniest things imaginable), and then shot them all over the page. While this is a comedic story, Fraction gives both Jon and Suzie such a warmth that you are instantly pulling for them.
It would be easy to take a book with a premise such as this and go sailing off a cliff with the gratuitous nudity and absurd humour, like most recent sex comedy films seem to go. Instead, Matt and Chip show some restraint. I’m not talking about ball-gags, leather straps and fuzzy cuffs type of restraint – though those things are in there. They’re not always going for the jokes, instead they fill it with actual story. This makes Sex Criminals not only a fun read, but a great read as well. With a creator-owned book, the only thing stopping them from crossing some horrific lines is the fact that they have to look their family and friends in the eyes after each issue is published, though as Suzie says in the opening pages, “I know how this looks. Don’t judge us.”
On April 16th, you too can join in on the orgy of good times when Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick (collecting issues 1-5) is released courtesy of Image Comics at a special low price of $9.99. So cost-effective, you can buy your own Garfield outfit and read your new book at your local Applebees.
If you know what a “Three-Second Rule Taco” is, please send me a detailed description and/or pictures on the tweetie @ThisIsMyTruth – tag it #TheFingering. Though please do be gentle, I’m a vegetarian.