Monday, 17 February 2014

Investigating Sex Crminals #1: The Reprint Of The Fourth Printing

A look at some of the nifty colouring in Sex Criminals #1
by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, Image Comics

I have a few rules about buying comics. Rule 1: Have a limit on the number of comics I buy in issues (my top-ten ongoing titles). Rule 2: Focus on creator owned stuff by by tradewaiting and buying one tradepaperback or graphic novel format comic a week. Rule 3: Never, ever, ever buy an issue of a comic for a gimicky cover. Never.

Well, Sex Criminals #1, the reprint of the fourth printing, has made me break all these rules. Congratulations Misters Fraction and Zdarsky (IF THOSE ARE YOUR REAL NAMES!) for making me a giant money wasting hypocrite. (The comic was really good, and uh, the cover is super fun.)

Anyway, I was inspired by the cover so this happened:

(I was trying to get something more all in a row, but Marls was NOT HAVING IT. So we compromised.)

I'm late to the Sex Criminals Party, since I was previously doing my best to tradewait for the first collection. Alas I could only delay gratification for so long and caved to a pair of pretty faces. I was just too excited. What can I say about the comic that hasn't already been said in a more timely fashion? It's a pretty great comic that manages to be pretty funny, wildly juvenile, and surprisingly heartfelt. And by trying to tackle the idea of sex in a humorous and honest way it manages to be something kind of special and maybe unique in todays comics scene. Oh yeah, it's also a comic where two people can stop time by having orgasms and decide to use the power to rob a bank. So it's probably worth a look.

Sex Criminals is also a comic that makes some really clever and effective use of colouring.

There will be *SPOILERS* for Sex Criminals #1 below.

A thing I noticed about the colouring in Sex Crimnals is how much it plays with contrasting, complimentary colours to make Suzie just pop out. By having a green shirted kid Suzie in the mostly Red bathroom or teenage Suzie in her blue tshirt in the orangey-red party, the colours contrast in just the right way to make her pop out in a really simple way that just looks really nice. It's smart and fun.

And then there is this page. The way this page uses red to guide the eye through a pretty complicated page is really smart and great. This time the knack of it is that red is bright and eye catching, so our eyes are naturally drawn to the cherry red of Suzie's shirt and the shoulders of Jon's shirt. Couple that with a background that has a grey, shawdowy muted quality, and there is basically a red guideline that runs in a zig-ag from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Basically, this lets the reader easily navigate the space and focus on the key characters while still having a rich, crowded background filled with party goers. It also, by so clearly demarcating Suzie and Jon as the focus of the page, creates the emotion of the moment of meeting the perfect person at a party and having the rest of the world just kind of fall away. This is a really smart page that is a great example of how thoughtful colouring can just make comics work better.

So yeah, Sex Criminals is a fun, interesting comic with some really smart compositional elements amongst all of the funny dick jokes.

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