Welcome to The Comic Book Virgin, the series where I dive headfirst into the world of comics and never look back.
This week:”Sex Criminals“.
Matt Fraction continues to rock my goddamned world. “Time” called “Sex Criminals” the “comic of the year”; “USA Today” called it the “best new series”, and let me tell you, this series is definitely worth the praise.
I’m just going to come out and say it; I am a sex positive feminist. The sex positivity movement is one that promotes sexual education, destigmatization, and the general discussion of any and all aspects of sex. This means that “Sex Criminals” excites me. A lot.
But first, the background of the story. This comic is about a woman named Suzie and her boyfriend, Jon. For these two, sex makes the world come to a stop. Literally. Called “The Quiet”, this period after orgasm allows for a lot of freedom, which helps to set up the rest of the story. The bank-simply referred to as the bank-is one of the main antagonists in “Sex Criminals“. Suzie’s father was murdered at the bank, and the bank is also trying to foreclose the library that she works at. Jon works at the bank and absolutely hates his job. Once these two figure out that The Quiet is their time to move freely and maybe raise a little hell, they hatch a plan. They decide to take increments of money from the bank and put them towards a fund to save Suzie’s library.
The writing of this book is excellent. It reads a lot like “Hawkeye“, with Fraction’s signature dry wit coming through at all the right times. Fraction simply writes well. His characters are human, with a broad range of emotions. They are also very, very funny. Suzie and Jon, although very atypical, are two young adults just starting out and falling in love. Fraction manages to capture the dialogue, emotion, uncertainty, and fascination that come with the beginnings of a new relationship with wonderful ease. I definitely fell in love with his characters.
The art was also very good, and very well done considering the circumstances. This comic, obviously, is largely about sex. This means that a lot of sex is being drawn. Intimacy is hard to get. There are awkward faces, weird body positions, and different angles to think about. Chip Zdarsky, the artist, is able to get each of these things perfectly in each scene. Another thing I enjoyed was the way The Quiet looked. The color scheme had light pink and blue rays across the panels, and they were so beautiful.
Now I’m going to talk about why this comic struck me so. As I said before, I enjoy sex positivity. This comic is extremely positive. It deals with the uncertainty of the first time masturbating, which I liked, and the awkward feeling associated with talking to your parents about sex. Suzie talks about how masturbation was something “dirty girls” in middle school did, which to me is an accurate representation of the attitude towards female masturbation today. But what I especially loved was that all throughout having sex with Jon, Suzie is enjoying herself. She is a completely normal, powerful woman, who enjoys sex with her boyfriend. She enjoys it constantly. There’s no shame. There’s no stigma. She even experiments with bondage. What’s so groundbreaking about this comics is that it’s just two, equal partners taking part in something special and enjoying each others’ bodies. Hell yeah.
End feminist monologue.
That’s all for this week of The Comic Book Virgin. What did you think of “Sex Criminals“? Leave a comment below or shoot me a tweet!