The Pull List: Sex Criminals

Matt Fractions’s Sex Criminals is the stupidest sounding book of all time.  This is a series about a couple that when they climax during sex freeze time, turning the world around them into their own personal playground.   Despite this utterly bizarre concept Sex Criminals is one of the best comics on the market today.


The reason Sex Criminals succeeds despite the bizarre idea is simple.  Suzie and Jon are richly drawn and vulnerable characters.  Matt Fraction writes Suzie incredibly well, she is a fully realized and deep character.  Her world, minus the sex freezing feels incredibly real.  She has the same concerns and anxieties we all do. Chip Zdarsky’s art captures the quirky, yet heartfelt feel of the book very well.  Suzie and Jon each take turns breaking the third wall and talking to the audience, while this is often seen as a lazy writing technique, the complex emptions they are feeling and expressing prove this is not a lazy affair.  This is not simple expository dialogue we are getting to know the characters, Fraction’s readers are treated to what is essential a confessional of his primary protagonists.

Their complexity stems from the fact that despite the fantastical situations the pair finds themselves in, they are so incredibly ordinary.  They are neither heroic, nor villainous.  They have noble intentions, yet their humanity often stops them from realizing their ultimate potential.


Within these contradictions Matt Fraction crafts a compelling narrative, that will keep readers returning for the foreseeable future.  Chip Zdarsky is given the unenviable task of keeping the sexual aspects of the content graphic, yet in a way that cannot be seen exploitative, because doing so the fun upbeat tone of the stories would be ruined.   He accomplishes this with a lighter color pallet as demonstrated on the covers, and keeping much of the focus on the faces of Suzie and Jon.  Sex sequences are graphic enough for older audiences to know exactly what is going on, yet vague enough that a younger reader won’t be able to pinpoint what is going where.

Sex Criminals is a book that shouldn’t work.  It sounds like an SNL skit that would be cut before airing.  Yet despite the wealth of obstacles before it Matt fraction and Chip Zardowsky have crafted one of the most unique and all around strongest books on the market today.  A book that proves the level of storytelling comics are capable of.