Look at that. Almost four whole months have gone by, and I still haven’t finished a single bulk review.
Relax. I’m working on them. (Yes, I’ve more than one series in the works — which partly explains the long delay.) In the meantime, here’s something relatively new for you: my take on Sex Criminals, Volume One: One Weird Trick. I was supposed to review One and Two together, but my suki comics supplier didn’t come through in time. Sayang.
Which reminds me… I still don’t have Volume Two, and it’s already June. June!
*goes to the comic-book store*
*As seen in UNO Magazine Issue 100 (April 2015); reposted with permission. The only big editorial changes are the swapping of “fucking” for “freaking”, and the inclusion of a title and subtitle; I did only minor edits for this post. Buy a digital copy of UNO April 2015 here.
Of Cumworlds and Non-Superhero Comics
Or why Sex Criminals: Volume One needs to be in your bookshelf (or Kindle)
by KC Calpo
With a title like that, we can’t blame you for thinking you already know exactly how it’s gonna go down. And yes, Volume One: One Weird Trick is about sex and crime — a specific type of crime committed by Suzie and her new boyfriend, Jon. But there’s much more to these two than their one weird trick.
Suzie, an employee at a public library who’s trying to save the facility from foreclosure, holds a fund-raising party at her apartment. She encounters Jon, a secretary and an aspiring actor, in a meet-cute that’s actually cute. Expectedly, these two go from couch to bed, where something magical happens.
You know how time seems to stop when you get the big O? When they get off, Suzie and Jon literally stop time, a state which she calls The Quiet, and he, Cumworld. They used to think they were the only person in the world who could freeze time post-orgasm; now, they can “be alone, together”.
And with all the things you can do while time stands still, what will you choose? The new couple decided to try and save Suzie’s library by robbing the bank Jon works for. Easy, right? Nope, especially when the Sex Police show up — headed by a woman Suzie calls Kegelface.
The first volume of Sex Criminals contains Issues #1 to #5, and focuses on the new-love and “randy robbers” story arcs. Our e-book version — acquired through an early 2015 Humble Bundle promo with Image Comics — contains exclusives like a short description of the author and artist’s creative process, and a page containing all the sex-move names Fraction and Zdarsky had thought of for the series. (Our personal favorites: Twerging, The User Agreement, and The Candle in the Wind.)
Sex Criminals is smartly written; and contains plenty of hilarious and sarcastic dialogue, and cultural references — E.T., Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls”, Hamburglar, The Benny Hill Show, Bing, and adult video stores figure heavily in some pages. The story unfolds in a non-linear way, with Suzie and Jon doing regular jumps between their separate pasts and shared present, and Suzie even joining her younger self for a few flashback panels.
It’s not all about sex, robbery, and Kegelface. Sex Criminals also goes deep on self-discovery, sexual awakenings and exploration, parental issues, the difficulty and isolation resulting from having a strange and unexplainable secret, and the awkwardness of dating in general. Worthy of note are the ways Sex Criminals brings up slut-shaming, rape, and mental illness; and how it goes into society’s double standards for women when it comes to sex and virginity. Fraction and Zdarsky ably juggle all these topics and produce a series that’s witty, funny, beautifully illustrated, and highly reflective of both personal struggles and societal problems.
For those who are new comics or graphic-novel readers, and looking for alternatives to superheroes and horror/mythological stories, Sex Criminals is an excellent title to start with. And you’ll surely see more of it, with individual issues coming out every few months, and Volume Two: Two Worlds One Cop coming out back in February (we’re still waiting for our paperback copy to come in). Fraction and his wife have also signed a deal with Universal TV to adapt several of their titles from page to boob tube, including Sex Criminals. We say yes oh yes to more Suzie and Jon, more Rach, and more of The Quiet (or, OK, Cumworld). And Kegelface, of course.