By Brian Andersen
Originally published on Advocate.com June 10 2014 1:31 PM ET
At first glance Sex Criminals from Image Comics may seem like it’s simply a story about a guy and a girl who freeze time when they climax during sex, but the happy surprise of this graphic, hilarious, and poignant comic book is the positive queer elements within its engrossingly smart pages.
Writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky deliver a bold, clever look into how fluid and flexible human sexuality is – something many LGBT people know firsthand.
Suzie, a librarian with a quick wit and an lighthearted approach to life, and Jon, a wannabe actor always at the ready with a humorous pop culture reference, regale each other with their past time-freezing sexual exploits while they rob banks, battle mysterious sex cops, and have copious amounts of intercourse. (Certainly not your typical comic book series – and thank goodness for that.)
Though Sex Criminals may sound like a silly premise, the comic is actually a smart and humorous exploration into our modern sex lives and a realistic representation that “straight” isn’t always as narrow as it implies. When Jon reveals to his lady love that one of his sexual trysts was with a man he isn’t met with fear and anguish, just mild amusement and curiosity. There is no gay shaming in this story. His girlfriend Suzie doesn’t freak out over the revelation; she doesn’t shame him or question his masculinity. That lack of negativity towrd Jon’s sexual experimentation is both refreshing and powerful, and hopefully speaks to a more open and welcoming future to all sexualities.
Aside from this wonderfully queer moment, there’s also plenty of full-frontal nudity – Jon’s glowing penis is laughingly referred to as E.T.’s dick – and how both characters reference the frozen time after they orgasm as either “The Quiet,” for Suzie, or “Cumworld” for Jon. There’s plenty of frank, open sexual talk in this enjoyable book, and the story is as heartfelt and intriguing as any other comic on the stands today.
The first graphic novel of the series, Sex Criminals, Volume 1 TP: One Weird Trick, collects issues 1-5 and is available now. Run, don’t walk, to your local comic book store and pick it up today.