Sex Criminals

Sex Criminals Vol. 1 & 2 by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Sex Criminals Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction & Chip ZdarskyVolume 1: One Weird Trick
“Jon … is your dick glowing”

This was such a weird and wonderful graphic novel (and it really is a graphic novel) about two people, Suzie and Jon, who find that time stops when they orgasm.  Literally.  After a lifetime of believing they were alone with their gift, discovering that they could exist in this place-without-time together, Suzie and Jon do what any sane person would – they decide to rob a bank.

The story jumps back and forth in time meaning that we get to watch their relationship develop while simultaneously finding out what is happening in the near future.  The relationship between the Suzie and Jon was what I really loved about this novel and it did such an excellent job of capturing that intoxicating feeling so unique to new love.  These two get completely wrapped up in each other and find themselves caught up in their own little world, which I imagine we can all relate to (except maybe not so literally).  I really liked these characters and I kind of fell a little in love with Jon when he first meets Suzie and quotes the opening passage (yeah, I laughed at myself for using this phrase in a review of a book called Sex Criminals) of Lolita, which I personally think is one of the most beautiful things ever written in the English language.

I was surprised by the fact that this book wasn’t really about sex, I mean it was, but it was also about two people who are looking for more than sex, who are searching for intimacy and a connection with something outside of themselves.  Of course it is bawdy, it is called Sex Criminals and there is a glowing penis, but it is done in such a fun, positive way and it manages to do so without containing any of the usual hang-ups.

As for the art, it is absolutely beautiful, the colours are vibrant and when they are in The Quiet (or Cumworld …) everthing is hazy and just … beautiful.  Each panel is chock full of detail and when Suzie and Jon visit Cumworld (the sex shop) there are so many things going on in the background that could you spend a lot of time just on each panel.

Highly recommended.

Sex Criminals Vol. 2 by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

Volume 2: Two Worlds, One Cop

“Around this giant ball of fire this rock we stand on spins, and while we are here we will like and love one another with vim and vigour.  Through cruelty, violence, neglect or sheer fucking chance.  Life is awful.  The first time you feel real pain it hurts more than anything you’ll ever feel again.  Understand that as an entitled boomer narcissist what I’m about to tell you is heresy, but one day we all die.  What the fuck kind of deal is that?”

Firstly, that title.  Two Worlds, One Cop.  Brilliant.

Secondly, I actually thought this was much better than the first volume and I swear it’s just a coincidence that every 5* book that I have read this year has had a blue cover.

So the shine has worn off of their new relationship, the Sex Police are on their trail and real life has started to catch up with Suzie and Jon.

The tone of this volume is much more sombre than the first and it deals with some heavier topics such as mental illness, which is something that I am always more sensitive to because I struggle with it personally, and I honestly thought that the authors did such a great job here.  Jon has stopped taking his medication and as a result has fallen into depression.  The way that the authors deal with medication and the horrible side effects of taking it, but also the ramifications of not taking it, was done really well and with great care.  We also see the potential pitfalls of bad therapy and what a great therapist looks like, and there is some great advice like get some exercise and maybe hang out with some people.  Jon’s therapist is a great addition and I’ve been lucky to meet someone very similar in my own life.

Speaking of advice, the section about birth control was wonderful, important and well done.  The first volume talks about the sex education, or more accurately the complete lack of sex-education, that kids get from their school and parents, and in volume two they give a run-down of the different types of contraception available.  This information is delivered by a gynaecologist doing a strip-tease, so it’s funny and educational, and it makes me hope that a lot of teenagers are reading this book (which I am sure that they are).

There are also a few new characters, the authors talk about the sex industry a little and despite the plot moving forward at a much slower pace this was such a worthwhile read.  While the themes are much heavier and this volumes wasn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as the first, there were still plenty of funny moments (keep an eye out for the dildo throne).  My only complaint is that I am going to have to wait until volume three is released in order to find out how the story continues.