Book Review: Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction

Sex Criminals Volumes 1 is available now and Volume 2 is on pre-order.

It kind of surprises me that there aren’t more sex-themed graphic novels out there. I guess what also surprises me is that my first exposure to this would be in the form of something quite so brilliantly done.

Let’s get the skinny out-of-the-way, this isn’t really something to wank to. yes there’s nudity and explicit discussion of sex and sexuality that will raise an eyebrow and a tingle in certain places. But it’s no porn, not by a long shot.

I once compared Kick-Ass to Watchmen as being a more human and entertaining take on the same theme, whilst leaving out the heavier connotations (and, some would say, the whole point of the piece). And I feel I can best summarise this by saying that what Kick-Ass is to Watchmen, Sex Criminals is to Lost Girls. It’s funny, it’s very funny, but in an endearing way that’s yes a little crude in places, but done with a light touch and a gentle wit that’s truly endearing. A story that can blend a critique of American society’s morals and education system with a guy stuffing dildos into his mouth; one that can mix Lolita and Queen; defecation and death; is really worth a look in my opinion.

Sex Criminals also makes excellent use of the medium, using the images in a way that whilst being in some ways cinematic, also accomplishes things that could never be done using a moving image.

Does it have failings? Yes. Aside from the non-wankable nature (yes that’s a criterion, get over it) I can’t help but feel that this story doesn’t lend itself to an ongoing plot. The antagonist is unnecessary and, quite frankly, this would be a more convincing piece if ‘Volume 1’ was the only volume.