“My Sexual Errors and Misfortunes 2001-Present”
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Color Flatting: Becka Kinzie
Cover: Chip Zdarsky
Review by Eric Owens
It’s the book Apple doesn’t want you to read. Or at least it’s the book Apple doesn’t want you buying through the ComiXology app, since you can still easily buy a digital edition straight read it on an app or even choose your digital format from the Image online store. Heck, go support a physical comic shop by buying a floppy copy.
We’re three issues in and there’s not a lot of plot to catch up on. Boy meets girl. Boy sleeps with girl. Girl and boy discover that they’ve each finally found someone with the same power to stop time via orgasm. Boy decides they should use their ability to rob the bank that’s foreclosing on girl’s library. Boy’s plan doesn’t go so well. That pretty much gets us back to where we were by the end of the first issue.
Sex Criminals isn’t an action filled comic. What it is is a sweet, honest, funny story about two people falling in love. Susie and Jon are frank with each other about their sexual histories. They’ve each been through the kinds of ups and downs and personal discoveries that plenty of people will be able to relate to. They just also happen to have a strange power that ties in with it all. Basically, what Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men did with exploring those strange changes and feelings of alienation that come with puberty, Fraction and Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals does with exploring sexuality and relationships. Only instead of Cyclops shooting optic blasts, this book is full of…well, you know.
This might be the funniest book per square inch on the shelves. You could easily spend twenty minutes just reading through all of the goofy signs and boxes in the backgrounds. Beyond the comic, the last few issues have opened with amusing, if not entirely helpful recap pages and closed with the Letter Daddies letter column which furthers the candid discussion of sexuality by having the readers and creative team share their own stories and make fun of each other.
Susie and Jon are drawn to look like a fairly average, fairly attractive couple. It’s this normalcy that allows for all of the unreal imagery, like Susie breaking the fourth wall to introduce Jon’s flashback, a shadowy Esteban intruding on a private moment for Jon, and of course the world freezing in a rainbow of lights around our leads. Also, there’s a full musical number with costumes and backup dancers that’s set to Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” (sort of). It’s outstanding. Whatever is going on, it always looks nice, even when it’s naughty.
It’s a shame that a book this heartfelt and candid would trigger a ban. We might not be able to stop time, but by reading about Jon and Susie and sharing stories with one another and with the creators, readers can feel less less alone and confused about some very important subjects. If anything, the authors should be encouraged to keep widening the conversation. Stand up against censorship and for good clean dirty fun and pick up this book.
Eric is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @EricDOwens.