The Eisners are kinda like the Academy Awards of comics, but the key difference is that I kind of care about them (Suck it Oscar!) . Image, a company whose output I’ve been loving for the last few years, was nominated for 20 awards, including 4 out of the 5 best on going series noms (that 5th man? Marvel’s Hawkguy, thus proving I am right about everything!)
Since I’ve already recently spoken about Rat Queens in great detail, I figured I’d spend some time over the next few weeks preaching about some other fantastic Eisner nominated series. So if you wanted to pick up East of West, Saga, Sex Criminals or Pretty Deadly but were waiting for the Chris Troy nod of approval, you’re in luck. We’re starting this thing off with a personal favorite of mine, Sex Criminals, nominated for best new series, best continuing series, and a best writer nod for Matt Fraction! So now that I’ve knocked off 150 word, let’s get to the Brimp,.er,…Sex Crim talk, focusing on the recently released first volume of the hit series!
Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky
+5 to me for not starting this discussion off with “Let’s talk about Sex Criminals baby“. Proud of myself for the restraint shown there, great hustle Chris.
As a dude who reads A LOT of Marvel on a weekly basis, I can confidentially say there’s not a lot of things the publisher offers that aren’t related to dudes in costumes punching each other. And even if we include stuff like the MAX titles, not a lot of their comics, nor DC’s, actually cover topics like sex and dating without tossing in a Wolverine or Deadpool somewhere. Those topics are SEVERELY overlooked in comics, and if they are, it’s usually not in the best or adult manner.
Which is one of the best things about Sex Criminals It’s an earnest and hilarious look at the world of dating and relationships (as well as sexy times). Sure the main characters freeze time every time they climax to rob banks (hence the title), BUT their relationship is depicted in a super realistic and enjoyable manner thanks to creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.
I’ve spoken highly of Fraction in the past, as I am a big fan of his clever dialogue and his ability to write flawed, all too human characters (see Hawkeye, Iron Man, Casanova). But I honestly feel that Sex Criminals works as well as it does thanks to Chip Zdarsky’s visuals. His cartoonist background (or is that background as a cartoonist? My grammar is shit folks) helps makes Sex Criminals stand out on the shelves, as his characters actually look human. All different body types inhibit the semi-realistic world Fraction and Zdarsky created, which again, acknowledges the human element of this book that really won me over. And because they’re so human, it only makes them THAT much more easier to relate to, and helps sell the humor with some really well drawn facial expressions and body language. It’s also use of colors and special effects ( or whatever the correct term of lightening is for comics, again I am GREAT at this!) is really interesting, and only helps to improve the visuals.
The humor, by the way, is phenomenal. While R-rated sex comedies usually do well in the box office, there was little to no comics alternative prior to Sex Criminals, at least at the scale of recognition and relevance Image, Fraction and Zdarsky can offer. Some of it is quite vulgar, some of it surprisingly dark, but a lot of it works because it’s sometime we can all relate to. That and the panels are crammed with hidden jokes and easter eggs, like Sexual Gary, who’s due for his own t shirt this summer!
It’s also one of the first comics to offer a musical sans actual music, which is impressive and hilarious. I’ve included a page from it to the left as evidence.
If you’ve chosen to go the trade route over the singles, be warned that you’ll be missing out on some hilarious recaps and an amazing letter’s page, which I believe is being published separately later this year. You do get some extras though, like a collection of variant covers and some content that you have to see for yourself to understand/believe.
In a country where sexual education is lacking at best, Sex Criminals does a lot to be educational as well as sex positive. Again, it’s something so new and refreshing that you have to respect if even if you don’t like it. Easily one of my favorite books out there today, Sex Criminals is a title worthy of the hype. Pick it up immediately and see how right I am about that. #humblebrimp
– Chris Troy doesn’t actually profit from Sex Criminals sales, but he’ll praise it like he does. Find him on twitter @theanarchris