Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Monitor Sphere: Surveying Sex Ciminals Volume 1

© Image Comics 2014
Welcome back to The Monitor Sphere the CCtD weekly look through all things involved in the world of sequential storytelling, which just so happens to be nowhere near current, week by week, and as promised in last week’s column I did one of the two possible things I said I would do and that was to take a look at Sex Criminals Volume 1 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.

The story is fantastic, for those of you who haven’t read Sex Criminals yet, like I hadn’t, you really should. I am a big fan of hero comics, I have more of those in my collection than anything else, and while I would consider this story comedic there are a lot of other layers to it, including a somewhat heroic one.

It starts off right in the middle of the *ahem* “action” with our protagonists Suzie and Jon involved in the titular act. We are then treated to some backstory for our heroes. I’m not going to go into all of it, but rarely, in all my years of reading comics, have I learned so much about the characters so quickly. Almost immediately we are shown the formative years of our heroes and, in a neat turn of events, how the protagonists discovered their hidden ability to stop time upon reaching climax (something they both share). So they decide to use this power to rob banks as any normal person would do.

It is rare that you discover a comic with as much heart as Sex Criminals, and it even has some to spare. There were quite a few pages that made me stop and consider my own life as the comic dealt with thing ranging from puberty, sex, school, depression, and the working world. All that said though the best moments are probably the amazing and incomparable comedy scenes. The two that jump to the front of my mind involve defecating in an office plant, and an amazing panel reminiscent of Family Circus in which a young Jon runs through a sex shop appropriately named Cumworld.

Normally, I would be slightly critical of artwork like this in a comic, but for some reason it really works in this case. Now don’t get me wrong that isn’t to say that the artwork is bad, Chip Zdarsky is a much better artist than I could ever hope to be, it just wouldn’t work in most comics I like to read, but this is the perfect comic for it. The comedy elements are matched perfectly by the cute, funny, cartoony artwork.

All things considered Sex Criminals volume 1 is a book that I absolutely loved that had me laughing just as often as it had me sitting in quiet contemplation and, to be honest, I will probably pick up volume 2 sooner rather than later. If you haven’t read this series yet, dear reader, you really should.

Now, that was going to be the last part of my article for this week but it turns out that as I was writing news came out about DC’s Rebirth event(?), cash grab(?), reboot(?), hope to fix everything they did wrong in the post-Flashpoint Universe(!). And while I don’t really have any good ideas about what they will do I have hopes about what they could do. While I won’t go into all of that here, unless there is an overwhelming demand for it, but I will tell you one thing, I hope Rebirth brings back some of the color and the feel that made DC Comics my brand of choice for almost my entire life. I hope Rebirth gets rid of so much of the grim, gritty, “realistic”, darkness that has plagued DC in recent years and replaces it with the hope, and love that made DC what it was for years.


  1. A nicely worded review, PJ. I'm a big fan of Fraction/Zdarsky Sex Criminals and vol. 2 continues the fun, with epic sex-battles with shadow agencies, tentacles, and ghost porn. Oh, and even more of those wonderful pages the give you fuzzy feelings in the cockles and sub-cockles of your heart. (I believe I've heard them called "the feels.")

  2. Thanks for the kind words. I cannot take any credit in this, though. This was written by Jay Logsdon.

    1. Well excuse me, sir. Jay — hell of a write up! Pick up vol. 2 as soon as you can.