Tag Archives: matt fraction

Sex Criminals Returns this January

Sex Criminals, from Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, will return for the fifth arc of the ongoing award-winning series—and enter all-new territory—this January.

Up is down and black is white and the sex isn’t happening and neither is the crime. What is this book even, you guys?!

After the heartbreaking, albeit totally unsurprising, breakup in Fourgy!, our leads find themselves apart and in the arms of others while the fate of the whole universe hangs in the balance…ish.

Sex Criminals #21 Cover A by Chip Zdarsky (Diamond code: NOV170711) and XXX Cover B by Kris Anka (Diamond code: NOV170712) hits comic shops Wednesday, January 24th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, December 18th.

Matt Fraction & Steven Sanders’ Five Fists of Science Back in Print this September

Matt Fraction and artist Steven Sanders will release a new paperback edition of Five Fists of Science this September.

True story: in 1899, Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla decided to end war forever by joining forces to rid the world of evil. With Twain’s connections and Tesla’s inventions, they went into business selling world peace. The tale of what unfolded next can only now be told: the duo collided with Edison and Morgan, an evil science cabal merging the Black Arts and the Industrial Age.

Turn-of-the-century New York City sets the stage for a titanic battle over the very fate of mankind in this graphic novel, back in print once again this fall.

Five Fists of Science (Diamond code: JUL170742, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0436-9) arrives in comic book stores Wednesday, September 13th and bookstores Tuesday, September 19th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, August 7th.

HeroesCon Proves Good Comic Shows Don’t Have To Be Hard to Find

“Hello neighbors,” I say to the circle I’m standing in the middle of.

“Hello neighbor,” the circle intones back happily, including Bitch Planet co-creator Kelly Sue Deconnick, who is running this panel. This is just one of the games she’s taught us. The same games she teaches her Girl Scout troop to teach them how to set boundaries and learn about their community.

“I love all of my neighbors, but especially the ones who watch professional wrestling,” I say to the circle. I cover it professionally. I wanted to see if someone was at least interested.

Silence. No one gets up.

“Just me? Okay.”

I change my prompt to those who like combat boots and we scramble to find chairs, leaving someone else in the center to greet their neighbors. I’m not salty though. It’s not long before I’m talking to someone else about pro-wrestling at the end of the panel. It’s HeroesCon after all. Most of us are just neighbors who haven’t met yet.

HeroesCon is an annual comic book convention in Charlotte. Every Father’s Day weekend, comics creators and fans from all around the country descend upon the Queen City to mingle and to sell books and art. It was started by Shelton Drum, the owner of the local shop Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, but the con has extended beyond the reach of the shop. Especially 35 years on.

I went to my first one in 2014 on a whirlwind day trip from Atlanta to Charlotte, determined to meet my newfound comics heroes Deconnick, Matt Fraction, and Chip Zdarsky. Three years later, I’m still making friends and greeting friends every time I walk the floor, and that’s honestly part of the charm of HeroesCon.

The con is unique in this day of entertainment industry powered comic cons, where comics often take a back seat to television and movies. HeroesCon is comics and comic creator focused, still even after 35 years. The local CW affiliate sets up a booth where they give prizes away relating to the DC Comics TV shows on the network, but that’s about as far as the TV involvement goes. Walk a little further, and you’re bound to find some of your favorite creators sitting at tables, selling their books and art. Or maybe even your future favorite creator. That same con three years prior? That was the first con I met Babs Tarr, excited to see the Bosozoku Sailor Scouts art in person. This year, she was selling exclusive trades of Motor Crush that could only be found at the convention, with Domino and Lola blasting past Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find. It’s hard not to feel proud.

The games panel is different from the other panels I was able to make it to during the weekend. The other two were more traditional. Well, as traditional as you can get with Zdarsky talking about going undercover at a skeezy nudist resort as the long way of saying his parents are into Sex Criminals during his spotlight panel and Fraction reading quotes from his supervillain daughter Tallulah Louise during the Milkfed Criminal Masterminds panel (which I livetweeted here).

It feels like only a panel that could work at HeroesCon though. Laid back and concentrated on being open. There is no pressure to participate. It’s not crunched and stressful like Dragon Con and it’s not about promoting the next big property. We’re here to learn about our community. To share in a mutual love.

“I feel welcome in my fandom,” Deconnick asks the room in a game of Across the Room, where we cross to the other side of the room to join a line.

I stay firmly planted for the time. I feel welcome at HeroesCon. It’s not a con of exclusion. They’re here for all fans of comics. But comics fandom? I’m a queer woman. I barely feel welcome. For pro-wrestling? I constantly feel like I’m loitering around a door, screaming at the residents inside, even if I do write about it professionally.

“I want to make people feel welcome in my fandom.”

There, I take the opportunity to aggressively stomp across the room.

“My mom wanted me to give you a hug from her,” I tell Deconnick after the panel. She met my mom at a Bitch Planet signing in Toronto a couple of years ago and asks me about her every time we see each other at a convention. We exchange hugs and she ‘awws’ about my mom.

It’s one of those things I wish I could tell me of three years ago about, nervous about meeting her idols. It’s also one of those things I feel grateful to HeroesCon for. Helping break down barriers and anxieties to help me figure out my career.

Every year I’ve gone, it’s expanded a little more, but it still feels like a family reunion. It’s the con I look forward to the most every year just because I get to see my comics friends without the added extra stress of packing five days worth of cosplay or having to time running across five hotels to make it to a panel in a basement. It drains my wallet with good art and good food, but it’s welcome. Where else can Kris Anka make jokes about having to fix Joe Quinones’ art when I come to pick up a commission of Captain Marvel? Or the press liaison that I have not previously met recognizes me and thanks me for tweeting while he goes to attend to delivering extra books to creators from the shop?

HeroesCon is special in those ways. It’s not about the big press push, but reminding the world that comics and the people who make them can be pretty great. And that everyone can and should be welcome in their fandoms, despite whatever state laws exist in North Carolina or in the patriarchal confines of old fandom structures.

Image Announces a Slew of Creators for the Rose City Comic Con Homecoming Dance

Fan-favorite Image Comics creators Chip Zdarsky, Babs Tarr, Matt Fraction, and Kelly Sue DeConnick have all RSVP’d to participate in the Image Comics’ Fall Homecoming dance! Don’t miss your chance to rub elbows with your favorite comics creators and celebrate Image Comics’ 25th anniversary with dancing, refreshments, and a photobooth.

Tickets to the Image Comics Fall Homecoming Dance are on sale now.

Back by popular demand, Image Comics is pleased to host a very special formal Fall Homecoming dance for the comics community during the Rose City Comic Con festivities. The dance will be held on Saturday, September 9th from 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. at The Evergreen. This event will be 21+ only. IDs will be checked at the door.

Image Comics’ Fall Homecoming will be in the style and spirit of a traditional high school dance and all comics fans and industry members are encouraged to come mix, mingle, and dance the night away.

Image Comics Fall Homecoming ticket tiers:

  • $20: Entry ticket
  • $45: Add-on pack, including an Image t-shirt, variant cover comic, commemorative pint glass, and enamel pin
  • $79: VIP pack—ticket to the party, add-on pack items, and access to special VIP area at the venue (limited quantity, only 100 VIP tickets available)

Matt Fraction and Albert Monteys release Solid State, a Graphic Novel Accompaniment to Jonathan Coulton’s New Concept Album

Writer Matt Fraction and artist Albert Monteys will team up with singer-songwriter/internet phenomenon Jonathan Coulton for the high-concept graphic novel Solid State to accompany his concept album of the same name this July.

Two guys, connected by a name and hundreds of years, somehow stand at the end of man’s beginning, and the beginning of man’s end. But…it’s funny? Also kind of a nightmare. But mostly funny? A funny science-FACTion nightmare about the end of everything, but how that’s all kind of okay.

Solid State TP (ISBN: 978-1-5343-0365-2, Diamond code: MAY170645) hits comic book stores Wednesday, July 26th and bookstores Tuesday, August 1st. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, June 5th.

Review: Sex Criminals #16

sexcriminals16After an eight-month hiatus, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are back with Sex Criminals #16. An extended series of recap pages gets us right in the mood as our time freezing, orgasm having, crime doing couple of Jon and Susie are at a big crossroads in their relationship. Most of the issue is narrated from Susie’s perspective as Jon just wants to live in the moment and take out Kegelface, this series’ Big Bad no matter who gets on his way. On the other hand, Susie wants to get more serious with their relationship and even mentions writing down their goals in markers on paper because she’s a big ol’ library-loving nerd. But Fraction and Zdarsky resist the melodrama of a big argument or breakup and continue to be grounded in feelings stemming from a long-term relationship while keeping the dirty puns and constant references to “butt stuff” that made this series hilarious as well as real.

Sex Criminals #16 is a great post-hiatus issue for the series because it zeroes in on the messiness of romantic relationships, and what people want to get out of them in kind of silly, kind of serious way. Yes, Jon and Susie dress up in Teletubby costumes and chase each other with dildos, and Jon might be the “intern” for his favorite porn star growing up. But Sex Criminals #16 has long passages of walk and talk (Or walk, fuck, talk, and eat lo mein.) where Jon and Susie get all their feeling out about each other with Susie’s narration filling in some of the unsaid things.

Fraction hits on a great point through this narration that the reason why Jon doesn’t want fill out lists of goals is because he doesn’t think he’s worthy of a future with her. He is stressed out by Kegelface stealing his personal psychiatric files that talk about his oppositional defiant disorder as well as insecure in his relationship and wants to take her out even if he means breaking the law. Susie just wants him to be happy, and Zdarsky draws a beautiful, almost quiet sequence of them spooning even if this kind of cuddle position has been awkward for them in the past. (Someone’s arm falls asleep inevitably.) It’s a glimpse of happiness in the midst of both the interpersonal/Kegelface drama.


Chip Zdarsky’s coloring choices in Sex Criminals #16 also herald the shift in Jon’s character. In the past, the Quiet has been a trippy world of sexy fun and occasional mayhem filled action against Kegelface and her ultra creepy Sex Cops. But, for Jon, it is all red rage, and Susie is lying on the bed away from him. Fraction and Zdarsky cut to these intense red sequences when Jon is really feeling bad. It’s something that definitely needs to be addressed in their relationship, and hopefully these two crazy kids will break through and stay together.

Sex Criminals #16 reminded me of why I loved this series when it first started out in 2013, which is Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s complete honesty about sex and relationships while still having some hilarious background gags from Zdarsky and an eccentric supporting cast, like the Alix who compares Jon to Don Quixote, and villains.

Story: Matt Fraction Art: Chip Zdarsky 
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Casanova: Acedia Celebrates Ten Years

Bestselling creators Matt FractionMichael ChabonGabriel Bá and Fábio Moon return for an all-new story arc this June.

Casanova: Acedia #5 begins a new chapter in the fan-favorite series as the world-melting CASANOVA returns. Casanova Quinn doesn’t remember who he is or how he got here—the only thing he knows is an awful lot of people want him dead and the world might be ending.

Psychedelic, sexy, and surreal science-fiction abounds and sees the continuation of Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon’s Metanaut backup collaborations with Gabriel Bá. The series celebrates ten trippy years of adventures with fans.

Casanova: Acedia #5 Cover A (Diamond Code APR160677) and Cover B (Diamond Code MAR168905) hit stores on Wednesday, June 1. The Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, May 9.

Casanova: Acedia, Vol. 1 (ISBN: 978-1632154774), is available now.

Image Comics Announces Creators for Creators

Creators for CreatorsAt Image ComicsImage Expo it wasn’t just new products that were announced, they also announced a new non-profit, Creators for Creators. The goal of the organization is to “encourage, support, and promote original works through grants and education.”

The program will be a combination of financial backing and mentorship. The plan is to give $30,000 to a single cartoonist or a wrister/artist duo to support their creation of original work of between sixty-four and one hundred pages over a single year. A committee will decide the recipient.

The mentorship mentioned will be beyond creation and will cover all aspects of the comic-creating experience to help create a firm foundation when it comes to the creative, business, legal, and financial aspects of the business.

Recipients will retain rights to their works and will not just be supported by Image, but also Iron Circus Comics. The long term goal is to also make the website a resource to educate creators.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and you have until May 1, 2016 to apply. You can learn more here.

The Creators for Creators grant was founded by Charlie Adlard, Jordie Bellaire, David Brothers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Nick Dragotta, Leila del Duca, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Jonathan Hickman, Joe Keatinge, Robert Kirkman, Jamie McKelvie, Rick Remender, Declan Shalvey, Fiona Staples, Eric Stephenson, C. Spike Trotman, and Brian K. Vaughan.

Review: Sex Criminals #14

SexCriminals_14-1Sex Criminals has always been one of those books that needs to be read a couple of times after purchasing. Usually to catch all the weird visual jokes that get placed in the backgrounds of panels. For the fourteenth issue subtitled “Ladies Please,” it’s to understand just how the disjointed nature of this issue works to its advantage.

The issue is mostly about Suzie and Myrtle. Myrtle is still having sex with Jon’s therapist to get information about him while Suzie and Jon start work at their new and crappy jobs. Jon is working as Ana’s research assistant while Suzie has started work in a new library. One day while sending dirty texts to Jon, Suzie makes some crass comments about Ana’s previous life as a porn star, which leads to a confrontation in The Quiet between the two of them.

Well, in the actual timeline of the story. In the timeline of the comic, we’re actually greeted with a fourth wall break as Matt Fraction struggles to write the scene and ends up calling Chip Zdarsky, asking for help.

From the sounds of it, a lot of this dialogue between the creators is taken directly from conversations the two had about the scene as it was originally planned to play out, with Suzie being judge-y of Ana, but Fraction has reservations of how this comes across. How it all ties back to how insidious and judgmental our culture is in regards to amount of sexual partners and sex workers, but how Ana isn’t exactly in the right either to act as if Suzie’s intentions with the library aren’t genuine. It’s complicated, clumsy, and it’s a bit revealing to see Fraction and Zdarsky hash it out like this.

On first pass, the scene is jarring in the middle of the story, especially after it jumps back into the story as a whole. Hysterical, especially with Chip drawing himself like a cokehead high on his own rising star simultaneously, but jarring. However, on a second read, after seeing how out of it Suzie has become, the outright statement of theme from our creators actually ties back into the story kind of brilliantly. It shows the kind of vulnerability that the series has been known for, especially in an issue where two of the characters are finding themselves in places they’re not sure they want to be in. The theme of the arc may be about “who gets to decide who’s a monster and who isn’t,” but a lot of this issue seems to be about being at a crossroads as well. Suzie isn’t into robbing banks with Jon anymore. Rach doesn’t know what to do about her relationship with Robert. Myrtle might be getting something else out of her relationship with Jon’s therapist. Matt can’t figure out how to write a scene. It all ties together in a strange sort of fashion.

Plus, the decision to “full-on Chuck Jones” the entire conversation and to play up the Zdarsky character super hard may be one of the funniest things this book has done.

If you’re having a hard time with the latest Sex Criminals at first pass, give it another read and see how it all ties together. What comes across as disjointed at first actually has a strange sort of clearness once the thread that ties it all together becomes clear. This book has always been about vulnerability and to see it upfront and hysterically done is kind of amazing.

Story: Matt Fraction Art: Chip Zdarsky
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Comics You Should Be Reading: Sex Criminals (NSFW)

Sex Criminals, an ongoing comic book by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, is dedicated to everyone who has had sex – or is curious about it.

The criminals from the title are Suzie and Jon, described by Fraction as a mix of Masters & Johnson, the pioneer research team on human sexuality, and Bonnie & Clyde, the legendary bank robbers from the 1930s. That’s what they are and that’s pretty much what they do. They have sex and they rob banks. Maybe even both at the same time.

But they’re also much more than that. Because Suzie and Jon share a common secret: when they reach orgasm, time stops. Literally stops. They each enter a private world of silence, solitude and exploration, a world Suzie calls “The Quiet” and Jon calls “Cumworld”. When both have an orgasm at the same time, they get to explore this world together, not so silent and lonely anymore. That’s their superpower.

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Guilt, shame and curiosity. That’s sex and crime in a nutshell. Which brings us back to the title: what’s Suzie and Jon’s real crime? The bank-robbery or the sex? They only rob one bank, and they have good reasons to do so. They’re not exactly Most Wanted for doing that. That only happens after they start exploring their sexuality together.

Which activity is more transgressive? Which couple is more dangerous, Bonnie & Clyde or Masters & Johnson?

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Suzie and Jon aren’t the only criminals in the story. Each character in the series is introduced by their sexual history, which defines them and makes them who they are.

Rach, Suzie’s roommate/best friend, defaces a toilet stall to teach Suzie of possible sexual acts:

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Robert Rainbow, Suzie’s gynecologist and Jon’s childhood friend, talks openly about the different kinds of birth control methods:

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Jazmine St. Cocaine, ex-porn actress and Jon’s teenage crush, responds to prejudiced comments against the nature of her former occupation:

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The other criminals are the creators of the series and their loyal readers. We’re all part of this open relationship called Sex Criminals. Fraction & Zdarsky have created such a delicious story that their readers get to ask questions about sex and share sex tips on the letter’s column.

The comic itself is part of that experience. It shows and tells unashamedly of penises and vaginas, oral sex and masturbation, sex shops and pornography, S&M and prostitution, rape and contraceptives, dildos and sex toys, slutshamming and dick pics, drugs and therapy.

Sex Criminals is a very mature comedy series. It can be extremely provocative and reader-friendly at the same time:

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Did you notice it’s Suzie, the woman, not Jon, the man, experiencing oral pleasure? Can you see Suzie’s discomfort at her first gynecological visit? Do you understand Robert’s embarrassment when hearing the words related to his profession?

None of that is by chance. And the crime is exploring this language together. Suzie, Jon and the reader. Time stops all around us. Each panel, in its fixed and timeless moment, is a post-orgasmic experience of reading.

And how can a couple of white men portray sex in such an inclusive way? They research about it. And they aren’t afraid of asking for help. “I ask Kelly”, says Fraction, talking about his wonderful feminist wife. Simple, effective and something all creators should do to reduce the effects of their own privileges.

Please, do not miss this one out. It makes you laugh and it gives you pleasure.

What else could you ask for?

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For more information on the single issues and collected editions, click here.

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