Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick

Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Chip Zdarsky

            Matt Fraction is one of the weirdest creators out there.  From the online persona he gives off (for a while, his Twitter account was named “BUTT STUFF WEREWOLF” – seriously) to the fact that his comics repertoire consists of the incredible Invincible Iron Man and the offbeat and absolutely wonderful Hawkeye, a superhero comic with no superheroing, you don’t know what you’re going to get from him.  Sex Criminals could get by on unique concept alone, but there is a lot more here.
            Suzie is an ordinary girl with one small difference: whenever she has an orgasm, she stops time, creating an effect that she calls The Quiet.  She’s certain she’s the only one out there with that ability until she has sex with Jon, and realizes afterwards that they’re both in The Quiet.  From there, they get up to mischief and do the natural thing since they can stop time: plan to rob a bank.
            What really makes this comic is its ridiculous, high concept story that’s mixed with very down to earth characters.  They’re real people that have their own real problems, with the whole point of the bank robbery is getting the money to save Suzie’s library.  And their dialogue about their sexual discoveries is very natural, and a fascinating part of the book that takes up the early issues and you don’t mind at all.  But then there’s Matt Fraction’s own lunacy and Chip Zdarsky’s wicked art, which combine to make the world…well…special.  A memorable issue one sequence has Suzie’s friend drawing out various ridiculous sex moves, like reverse-reverse cowgirl and ET: The Sex Move, in a bathroom stall.  Another focuses on the sex shop that Jon used to raid when he learned about his powers, with tons of background gags that can easily be passed over.  The book loves to be crude on all levels, and it is wonderful, and then it brings you back down and really makes you care about Suzie and Jon.
            There’s also quite a few special features here.  There’s a list of alternate sex moves for the bathroom scene, along with various alternate lines of dialogue for a Barton Fink porn parody (I’ve never seen the movie, but I’m sure it’s hilarious if you have).  There’s a script for an erotic radio play starring Matt and Chip (seriously).  There’s a section by Chip on how a panel is created, from script to the finished product.  And finally, there’s a gallery of the variant covers for each issue, including the wonderful 1st issue 4th printing cover, along with a “making of” for it.

            Sex Criminals is unique, funny, and surprisingly touching at times.  A home run with a perfect creative team that turns a crude concept into something very memorable.

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