Come, World: Thoughts On “Sex Criminals, Volume 1”

You know you have a good story on your hands when one of the authors dedicates it to “anyone, anywhere, at literally any time in human history who ever rubbed one out”.

Now, I don’t really collect comics like I used to. I used to march my happy ass to the store every Wednesday to collect my latest issues of graphic glory, sealing each special serial in plastic and cardboard when I got home. But frankly, time marches on, and as I got older, I found I had less and less patience for the stacks of comics that lined my bedroom walls. I retired into the class of “trade paperback reader”–doing my best to make my collections of Conan and New Avengers look like classic literature. I’m happy with my aged nerdisms, and haven’t really considered going back to diving into each issue month after month.

Hell, I can barely keep up with Game of Thrones.

Sex Criminals: One Weird Trick collects the first five issues of a comic series that began in September. A series that has made me seriously consider returning to the monthly fold. Sex Criminals is the funniest, smartest, most wonderfully executed comic I’ve read in years.

On the surface level, the plotline is actually pretty simple. Girl learns that she can literally stop time when she orgasms. Girl meets boy who has the same ability. Girl and boy rob banks.

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But underneath all of that is something that is blissfully wonderful on a nearly chemical level. Written and illustrated by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarksy, Sex Criminals is a story about sex, the recession, sex, mental illness, sex, and Vladimir Nabokov. There’s so much to delve into that I can’t even begin to do it justice.

Effortlessly funny, it’s also genuinely touching and moving. Beyond a story about sexual liberation fighting against the fascism of repression, this is an honest-to-god story about love. It’s about sharing yourself and your most vulnerable truth with a person who seems to know something about you that you’ve never shared with anyone else. It’s about the force of passion, and the beautiful idiocy that can come from that passion.

It is also about turning dildos into stun-guns.

Sex Criminals has amazing narration–these protagonists break the fourth wall with the same skill and style that they use to break quantum physics. The style of the art is sexual but not tacky–light-hearted without being childish and cartoony. It all flows beautifully.

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