Have sex, stop time, rob banks: Big Hard Sex Criminals, Volume 1

big hard sexSuzie and John have great sex.

This is partly because they’re great for each other.

But it’s also partly because when they orgasm, they literally stop time.

Which turns out to be perfect, because robbing a bank or two while time is frozen turns out to be the best way to save their local library, which is about to be repossessed.

Everything is going according to plan – that is, until they realise they aren’t the only ones who can use sex to stop time, and a legion of sex police are hell bent for leather on stopping their sex-fueled crimes.

This is Big Hard Sex Criminals, Volume 1, a graphic novel written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky. It’s hilarious, and raunchy, and surprisingly thoughtful.

I have to stop using the phrase “killer premise,” but it really does have a killer premise. Better yet, the story delivers – it’s hilarious, emotional, and naughty as hell. And while it would have been easy to devolve into nothing but dirty jokes and illustrated erotica, the creators keep it light-hearted and fun – bringing out the ridiculous as well as the sexy. Plenty of space is devoted to the weird stuff people get up to with their genitals, but Fraction and  Zdarsky also use Sex Criminals as a platform to discuss mental illness, relationship problems, the importance of friendship and communication, the issues faced by sex workers, the ugly head of sexism, the vital role played by libraries in a community, and the fact that everyone – everyone – has a skeleton or two in their closet.

Fraction’s dialogue is frank and natural, emotionally strong without being sappy. Zdarsky has a great eye for detail, inserting a cornucopia of Easter eggs and inside jokes if you know where to look for them. Example: on a school bulletin board in one scene, the observant reader will spot an advertisement for illustration lessons… offered by Zdarsky. (The attached phone number, I’m sorry to report, isn’t real.)

It’s also just plain hilarious. But be warned: if dildos make you uncomfortable, this book probably isn’t for you. And it’s definitely not a book to read with the family.

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The worst part of reading Big Hard Sex Criminals is waiting for more – it’s an ongoing publication and new issues are released weekly, so I’ll be waiting a while for the next collected volume. Worst.

Until then, I’ve surprised and delighted myself by putting a book on my “to read” pile and actually reading it.

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