19 March 2014

Sex Criminals, #1-#5

So one day I'm just browsing through my Tumblr feed when lo, Wil Wheaton posts about a new comic - Sex Criminals - that just got the big "middle finger" from the iTunes store.  It is apparently full of TOO MUCH GRAPHIC SEX and they won't carry it in the iBooks store anymore.  So Wil told everyone to go pick up the first issue free on Comixology (it's still free, bonus) and then, if you liked what you read, subscribe to it because, here's the trick, if you buy it from Comixology directly then it syncs to your iOS app without having to go through the iBooks store.

I'd never tried the Comixology app but I'd heard good things so I decided this was worth giving it a try just for this comic.  Every review I'd come across said that not only was Sex Criminals wickedly funny it was also very sex-positive and well-constructed.

You guys.  YOU GUYS.  Sex Criminals is probably one of the best things I've read this year ("year" meaning 2013 and 2014 since I started the series back in November).  It is wickedly funny and honest and naughty and original.  If you haven't heard the story, the first issue opens with Suzie and John caught in the middle of a bank heist.  Oops.  From there Suzie breaks the fourth wall to tell her story, one that opens with a less-than-ideal childhood.  When Suzie accidentally learns time freezes when she orgasms - something she calls "The Quiet" - she tries to learn why (probably the best three pages of why we fail children occur while Suzie tries to find honest, non-judgmental answers to her questions about sexuality from adults).  Suzie narrates her coming-of-age with a wry wit until she meets John - who has the same miraculous ability that she has....  John takes over the narration in issue two as the past and present storylines gradually merge together until they run head-on in issue five.

Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky hit it out of the park with this series.  It's a Bonnie-and-Clyde meets pre-code Lubitsch sex comedy with a healthy dose of amazing illustration and equal-opportunity sex jokes.  I mean, look at the issue titles: "Suzie Down in the Quiet," "Come, World", "My Sexual Errors and Misfortunes: 2001 - Present," "Sex Police," and "Going Down."  Chip and Matt included batches of reader mail at the end of each issue and they are so honest in their answers that it's worth the subscription alone just for the letters.  The comic feels like a bonus.  The trade volume issue of #1-5 is coming out April 16 and I can't wait to see what little extras and differences are included.

A note about content:
Now, yes, this is a comic intended for adults.  It is adult humor and for that reason isn't supposed to be sold to minors (the last page of each issue has a big disclaimer about that).  That said, there are a great deal of well-drawn and well-thought out situations that could spark some good discussion. A major point I want to make is that there is NO sexual violence - not toward women, not toward homosexuals, not toward minorities, and not toward men (John does get punched in the face by one of the Sex Police but that's not anything to do with sex).  The sex and curiosity about sex depicted in Sex Criminals is presented as healthy and normal.  It's not for children (they wouldn't understand much of the dialogue anyway) but for a high school-aged teen they could probably identify with the weirdness that goes along with figuring out what's "normal" when it comes to learning about your sexuality.  As to the Apple thing, they're just a bunch of hypocrites.  Look at how many Chris Brown and Robin Thicke albums or erotic romance/new adult books or comics that depict overly-busty, scantily-clad women that they sell.  They don't really have a leg to stand on - so I am more than happy to buy through Comixology.

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