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Comicbook: Sex Criminals

Sex Criminals is an ongoing (2013-present) comic series by writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky. To say the premise is a little out there would be putting it mildly, it's...sort of a crime/romance/sci-fi story.

In 1997, Suzie was a normal middle-class middle-school girl when her father was killed in a random act of workplace violence. In the aftermath of his death, Suzie's mother began drinking heavily and their relationship suffered; Suzie was particularly bothered that instead of talking, her mother would pretend she was fine and then wait until Suzie left the room to break down. Suzie found that if she drew a bath and ducked under the surface, she couldn't hear anything, and took to doing this at night so she couldn't hear her mother crying.

And then one night as she submerged herself, Suzie's "lower region" slid a little too close to the running water, if you get the meaning. Having heard the standard gossip, she understood what was going to happen, and then it did. But as she exited the tub, she realized something truly weird had occurred: accompanied by swirling lights and silence, time had stopped for the world and everyone in it but her.

Understandably freaked out and guessing that this probably wasn't normal, Suzie embarked on a weeks-long quest to get answers about what does happen after sex/an orgasm, but repeatedly struck out. Finally, she decided on a regimen of "private research" to document the effects of "The Quiet", as she called it. But after compiling a list of results, she had no idea how to organize it until a trip to the local library introduced her to a method of cataloging the data, which began a life-long fondness for libraries. 16 years later, she's drifting in life a bit, trying to buy as many books as she can from her local library before a bank shuts it down. At a fundraising party she meets an interesting man named Jon, who wears glasses and can quote Lolita; one thing leads to another...

Suzie: Boy, that felt nice.
Jon: Mmm.
Suzie & Jon: How are you here?

Surprise! Jon can do it too. And what better use for their power than to save their precious libraries by robbing banks? Thus begins one of the more original — if odd — plots in recent comic history. The series has been a hit from day one, and won Best New Series in the 2014 Eisner Awards.

Tropes featured in this series:

  • Adults Are Useless: As part of her quest to understand why what happens happens, Suzie turns first to a gynecologist and than her mom. Neither are any help.
  • Anachronic Order: The first issue begins in the present, then loops back to the past, then to the present again, then the past again, and finally back to the present.
  • Black Comedy: Suzie begins her narration with her and Jon about to be arrested, then goes on to relate the story of her father getting murdered, all the while insisting she's going to start joking soon.
  • Break the Cutie: Suzie notes that her "whole world" ended when her father was killed.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Suzie refers to the totally silent, frozen-time post-orgasm world as "The Quiet".
  • Experimented in College: Going by the mental 'snapshots' of her former partners, Suzie has had at least one lesbian relationship. Jon also had sex with a man once, but it's Justified as he was trying to find someone else who had his ability.
  • Funny Background Event: See Parallel Porn Titles below.
  • Genre-Busting: It's a Romantic Crime Drama with elements of Sci-Fi. It's telling when The Other Wiki simply lists it as "Crime" when it's really not exclusively that.
  • Good Bad Girl: Invoked; with the books "present" taking place in late 2013 and it having been probably 10 years since she lost her virginity, Suzie's been with around fifteen other people since then, but she doesn't consider this out of the ordinary.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: After the first time, Suzie tries to suppress her urge to masturbate until she can figure The Quiet out. This doesn't last.
  • How We Got Here: The first few issues are dedicated to what led to Suzie and Jon having sex in the bank bathroom.
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Bus Driver member of the "Sex Police" smacks Jon across the face. With a dildo.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The first sex scene in the book is Suzie and Jon trying to enter The Quiet to escape from their latest robbery.
  • Introduction by Hookup: Suzie and Jon meet at a party she's throwing to raise funds to save her local library. One thing leads to another, and they find out they have the same ability.
  • Lemony Narrator: Suzie and Jon at times.
  • Living a Double Life: Suzie is a fairly average woman who likes books. In her spare time she uses her time-freezing power to rob banks so she can support libraries.
  • Male Frontal Nudity / Modesty Bedsheet: Suzie grabs the sheet when she panics after realizing Jon wasn't affected by her power. On the other side of the bed, Jon now has nothing to cover himself with.
  • Odd Friendship: Suzie and Rachelle didn't get along in middle school, but are roommates in the present.
  • Parallel Porn Titles: Surprisingly, they didn't go with the modern title standards of "This Ain't X" or "X: A XXX Parody" but instead have titles such as Hard-On Fink, The Squirt Locker, Fill Bill, Poon and surprisingly enough, Upream Colon to name a few.
  • Puberty Superpower: In middle school, Suzie learns that she has the ability to freeze time when she has an orgasm.
  • Rage Breaking Point: A few months after she first enters The Quiet, Suzie finally snaps and takes the opportunity to angrily scream out her feelings at her time-frozen mother. The narrating older Suzie notes this isn't the last time this happens.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: When Suzie sleeps with her high school boyfriend Craig, she thinks it will be this. Turns out all that happens is that she ends up in The Quiet again.
  • Sex Comedy: It's about two people who can freeze time when they orgasm and rob banks to use the money to help support libraries. That's not the most serious of premises.
  • Slut Shaming: Played with; in Suzie's middle school there are a group of 'dirty girls', but Suzie ends up being the one who's ashamed to speak to them.
  • The Talk: Inverted; in her quest for answers Suzie asked her mother, only to get shot down rather brutally.
    Suzie's Mom: What, Suzie?
    Middle-school Suzie: I had a few questions?
    Suzie's Mom: About what, Suzie?
    Middle-school Suzie: You know. Sex questions.
    Suzie's Mom: Great. Now I'm raising a whore. *takes drink*
    Present Suzie: *narration* Strike three.
SeveredCreator/Image ComicsShadowhawk

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