Chip Zdarsky, Chip Zdarsky, Chip Zdarsky, Matt Fraction,
So it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about ol’ Sex Crimz, be it due to delays, the fact that I’ve written about Fraction and Zdarsky a ton these last few years, and that the current arc has been great, but hard to talk about due to some of the NC-17 content. Luckily, issue 13 changes that, due to an incredible joke, and a important and fantastic discussion about being asexual.
First the joke. For all of you not in the know, The Harvey awards nominated Chip Zdarsky and only Chip for Sex Criminals in their Best Humor Book category. That lead to some things, which you can read about here. But that’s not the end of the story, oh no. Matt Fraction decided to continue to go to bat for his chum, in which you can see on the book’s cover credits. There’s also a page in the middle of the book decided to it, involving the creators in a way I dare not spoil. You can make an argument that it’s a bit excessive, BUT the joke works even if you’re not aware of the team SexCrimz/Harvey Awards beef. Anyone, let’s talk about something with a little more substance now yes?
Sex Criminals was the first big name comic to discuss modern female sexuality in depth when it debuted, and since then, they’ve always managed to have an issue that’s very intelligent and educational, giving the reader something to think about when they’re done with the comic (aside from the contents in the letter page). This issue, as I said above, we’re introduced to a character who’s asexual. I’m 90% certain neither Matt nor Chip are, so what they do with this issue and this character in fantastic. Alix is a completely believable and fantastic character who’s portrayed in a positive light. Yes she gets some crap for being asexual, but it’s never as the butt of the joke, but more so to show what sort of garbage some people have to endear with in their lives.
I don’t want to make the claim that this is the best issue Chip Zdarsky has drawn to date, but man, there’s a lot to like about Chip’s art here. There’s a gorgeous double spread early on, an interesting and hilarious use of Carl Sagan, some fantastic execution of 16 panel pages, and of course the fine use of Manime, the break out character of the year. Fraction is on point as usual, giving us some really smart, insightful dialogue while slipping in a joke or two. Like Brain K Vaughan, Matt has nailed the flow of comics dialogue, making all his character sound incredibly realistic, even the hard to nail #TEEN characters.
Sex Criminals is not unlike this week’s Wicked and the Divine where the theme/topic at hand is both modern and handle incredibly well. Fraction and Zdarsky focus on something I’ve never read about before in comics, and the duo treat the subject matter with the utmost respect, while telling the tale of 2 characters who freeze time after making whoopie. It’s a fantastic issue by two creators on top of their games who are clearly having a ton of fun making comics.