My favorite comic of all time is Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. I’ve probably talked about it before from time to time, but it really is something different, covering such wide topics as parental death, mental health issues, emotional distance, gray areas of morality, sex work and asexuality while still keeping things as ridiculous as they can be when you’re doing a story about people who stop time when they do a sex and then rob banks when no one’s paying attention. It’s… it’s changed my life, okay? I wrote a letter to them this summer detailing that in a few sappy paragraphs and they printed it in issue 16 if you’re interested in seeing what my face looks like.
After an eight month hiatus, they’re finally back to a steady schedule again and I picked up issue 17 this weekend. Like always, each issue is a bit of a surprise but this one was perhaps even more so. Spoilers if you haven’t read it, obviously. C’mon man, you should’ve figured that out by now.
#17 follows the adventures of Myrtle Spurge, the main antagonist of the story. It’s a bit of a take over episode in a way where we get a glimpse into her life and what brought her to become a sex police and I’m not going to get into it too much right now but one thing that really stuck out is how she never stops being the antagonist. You don’t gain more sympathy for her in this issue than you did during any other. You don’t feel sorry for her or even feel like you should take her side – if anything you get a better understanding of who she is and why she does what she does, but not so much that you’re switching sides. She still plays dirty and cruel because it’s what it takes and even more so, no one will catch her. It amplifies the gray morality that all the characters are stuck in and that’s something fascinating to me. The heroes are only heroes because they’re the ones we’re following, but other than that they’re just more or less normal people (not counting the sex powers) who’re doing some really questionable shit with more or less good intentions.
That’s fun. That’s believable, good writing and I’ve said it before and will without a doubt harp on it forever but read Sex Criminals already. It’s a good comic made by good good comic boys. Add it to your pull list right this instant, or pick up a digital collection to catch up. I’ll wait.