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Book Club Image Comics

Book Club: Let’s Talk About Sex Criminals Vol 1

By 19 Comments
Sex Criminals volume 1 cover by Chip Zdarsky.

Throughout March I have been asking, maybe pestering, people to read Sex Criminals vol 1: One Weird Trick so we could discuss it as part of the first ever How to Love Comics Book Club! For those who haven’t been paying attention or have just joined us this is essentially how it works:

  1. I set a book at the start of the month.
  2. We all go out out and read it.
  3. And then come back and discuss it.

We’re now up to the discussion phase of the process. The part where you get to have your say and what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about it. Before we get to the actual discussion I’ll lay down some ground rules, mostly for the sake of keeping the discussion friendly.

Book Club Rules

  1. Keep conversation friendly. You’re allowed to disagree with people, but do so in a way that is neither aggressive or belittling the person with apposing views.
  2. No trolling.
  3. Keep on topic.
  4. Do not spoil plot points beyond volume 1 of Sex Criminals.
  5. I have the right to delete any comments which break rules 1-4.
  6. Finally, have fun with discussion!

You can discuss Sex Criminals anyway you want but if you are looking for some talking points here are a few questions to help get you started.

  • Did you like the characters of Suzie and Jon?
  • What did you enjoy about the story?
  • What did you enjoy about Matt Fraction’s writing?
  • What did you enjoy about Chip Zdarsky’s art?
  • Did you like all the background jokes? Did you have a favourite?
  • Would you read volume 2 and further issues of Sex Criminals?
  • Overall, what was your favourite part of Sex Criminals?

It’s now over to you, jump down into the comments and let’s talk about Sex Criminals volume 1!

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Comments (19)

  • Guys I’m not trying to horn in here and advertise but on the back of reading this for the book club I bought the HB Big Hard Sex Criminals vol1 from Big Bang Comics in Dublin and they had a Chip Zdarsky signing a few weeks ago and they still have signed editions available for $39.99,the cover price. They’ll ship anywhere in the world too. Info@thebigbang.ie if signed editions are your thing. they will hook you up . Apologies if I was out of line posting this

  • I decided to read Sex Criminals because of my love of Matt Fraction’s work on Hawkguy. The book is great and works on so many levels. I love that the sex isn’t gratuitous or treated as something we don’t talk about or have to pray away the sin when we do.

    I felt like Suzie’s secret place after she orgasms is a metaphor for how we all feel we’ve found a whole new world when we discover sex. Then her hiding what she found is like a metaphor for how society wants people to be quiet about sex.

    Then there’s the revelation that her and Job both can enter the same space after orgasming is like showing how that sex should be special between people and should take you to a place with them that only the two of you can go to.

    Once they’ve realized the world they can enter together and do what ever they like is similar to that amazing time at the start of a relationship (and last through out if it’s a good one) where you’re in you’re only two there and no one else matters.

    The sex cops represent the rest of the world who want to take that away from you. It’s still too early for me to get a read on them and what their all about

    So all the metaphors and this meaning that talk, the comic is really fun. The characters are both unique people that you feel like you could meet at a party much like they met each other. The story is great and it’s cool to see what two regular people do when they find they have a special power, even if it’s sex activated.

    Sex Criminals is like a Pixar movie, there are some super adult things spoken about, but you only catch them if you’re looking super close, otherwise you’re left with a really fun movie. I think that’s one of Fraction’s strengths. He’s make a big statement about sex and society, but he’s bundled it into a story so fantastic and fun that if you blink you’ll miss it.

    I’ll def be following Sex Criminals to see where Fraction and Zdarsky take us with Suzie and Jon, what other adventures they’ll get into and see if maybe they find other people, besides the sex cops, with sexually activated powers.

  • I really liked this one. I loved Suzie and her passion for her library – how she was saving it one box of books at a time. I’m not sure what to make of the “sex police” yet. I wonder if they are a part of something bigger, or just there on their own. I really love the artwork. It made it seem real and vibrant and it was very consistent over the issues. I think the story was great too, it had enough depth to make it interesting, and made me want to keep reading it, even though there was the odd moment or two where I felt it was a little long winded. I liked the humour and the style of language throughout though. Suzie’s voice was great.

    I also loved that while its a story with a huge focus on sex, it wasn’t very gratuitous or… hmm, ugly? Not really the word, but it made it seem natural and like it wasn’t pornish even though there were porn elements. If that makes sense.

    I’ve read up to issue #9, and have #10 to read so I guess yes, I am invested in finishing what is available for this series. I wish there was more of it, but the issues last year only came out every 2-3 months according to the image comics site, so maybe we’ll get another one soon. Or maybe its because its been picked up for TV and they have to regroup/change direction. Either way, hoping for more!

    • I agree, the sex elements were either used for laughs or to give depth to the characters. It wasn’t any more sexual than any Judd Apatow movie. That’s probably why it has been optioned as a television series.

  • I was very skeptical to read this title. I had heard of it before, but I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I normally read superhero and a lot of science fiction comics. I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting and funny this comic was. I admire the balance of humor and science fiction, and I especially enjoyed that there is a Sex Police! I think what makes the story easy to relate to is the personal stories of all the characters. It has great character development, and I have already went ahead and read volume 2. The series seems to be on some kind of hiatus now, so you can’t read past issue #10 🙁

  • Much like everyone else the colours in this book are stand out for me. In Cumworld ( Allright the Quiet!!!) especially. I loved Suzie’s narration too where you think it’s just part of the scene , but kinda breaking the 4th wall by talking directly to us. That’s pretty unique to me as a device to get the story across and I love it. The funniest scene is the thrown dildo panel everytime I look at it I just burst our laughing. Definitely going to continue with the series & one I would recommend to new or non comics people.

    • Breaking the 4th wall is quite a unique thing in comics. The only other series I can think about that regularly does it is Deadpool. Would you like to see more of it done or do you think there is a chance that it could become over done?

      • It really suits the personal subject matter here, you instantly feel like part of the story like Suzie is confiding in you. Normally I HATE when it happens in Tv shows or Movies it sucks me straight out of the story but this really worked for me. Not sure I want to see it in every comic I read though.

      • That’s a cool way to put it. She does draw you into her personal baggage but she’s so upbeat about it, you feel like you’re laughing with her. As for breaking the 4th wall, Batman does it all the time!

      • I don’t recall Batman ever breaking the fourth wall.

        Generally speaking I feel like breaking the fourth wall is a cheap shortcut in writing to convey your story, much like waking up and it all being a dream rather than giving a real ending to a story, but I feel like Fraction puts it to rare good use here to help us be able to feel a kinship to the character. It was a risky move, because it could have come off as real cheesy, but thankfully it worked out here.

  • I really enjoyed this book! I don’t read many comics that are focused on being funny so this was a nice change. I liked seeing the backstories of the characters in the first few issues, and found them pretty relateable. They do a good job of approaching sexuality in a straightforward way while still being lighthearted. Also I really love the designs of the book covers.
    Definitely will be picking up Vol. 2 at some point.

    • Great to hear that you enjoyed it Stephen! I would agree that the sexual aspect of the series was always done in a lighthearted manner, often to some great gags such as the positions drawn on the toilet wall.

    • “They do a good job of approaching sexuality in a straightforward way while still being lighthearted.”

      That is a great way of putting it! I completely agree. 😀

  • So this was my first time reading Sexy Criminales. It was…an experience. I enjoyed it though and I’m going to finish out the series (since I bought that big hard sex version anyway).
    When I went to comicon, Matt Fraction had the longest line for autographs. This guy is a big deal in the comic world at the moment apparently (luckily the line got significantly shorter and I got a signed copy of my Big Hard edition). Just to give some background on how I bought the book and was first exposed to it. I think I may have been a little rude when I was asking people in line who the heck he was. Also the bastard wouldn’t tell me anything about the book when I asked…
    So yeah, I’ll start off with my favorite part, the beginning. I loved reading about Suzie’s development and coming into her abilities. It wasn’t played that straight which kept it from being a somber metaphor for sexual development. Instead, because of the humor, I got to enjoy her budding sexuality. Comedy is all about random unfortunate things happening to either bad people or hilarious people. That’s what Suzie really is, a funny person caught in a pretty bizarre situation.
    However, it also kept her human. She was caught up in a very bizarre and sad situation with her mother and school. Seeing those struggles and how she grew from them, helped put things into perspective.
    I think she is my favorite part of the book. Fraction did a good job with the character.

    • Thanks to Sex Criminals and his run on Hawkeye Matt Fraction has become a pretty big deal so I’m not surprised there was a long line. It’s pretty cool that you got it signed too!

      That’s a good way to describe comedy and I think that’s one of the reasons worked so well. I don’t think it would have been as funny if it wasn’t counter balanced with the personal character back stories.

  • I really enjoyed Sex Criminals! The colours were great, especially when in “The Quiet”. My favourite part would have to be all the little jokes in the background. There were so many and it’s worth reading a second time just to find d the ones that I missed the first time!

    • I loved the colours in “The Quiet” too. The way they swirled with pinks, yellows and blues it was kind of surreal.

      I enjoyed all those jokes too, especially the ones in the sexshop. Some of those were hilarious.

      Do you think you will read volume 2?

    • I loved the colors in the book. The art style in general just kind of clicks. Little details in the background keep the eyes wandering around every page. The characters look cartoony but just real enough to be relatable. During the quiet, those waving washed out colors made everything look hazy. Even the sex police look like a “part” of that world. It all feels very deliberate though not sure what it’s supposed to represent, if anything.

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