Sex Criminals isn't what you think it is. Unless, that is, you think that it's a comic book about a couple whose orgasms stop time, in which case not only are you dead right, but you probably have super powers of your own.
So, yes: that's the premise. But Sex Criminals is more than that. Written by Matt Fraction—whose phenomenal Hawkeye run is already the stuff of legend, and drawn by Chip Zdarsky, whose vivid art is more pop art than porn—the series has become the unlikely poster child for a new wave of creator-owned comic books. "Chip and I didn’t think it would last more than four issues," says Fraction. "We thought Image Comics would do one, two, and three, and we would have to pay for four out of our own pocket, and we would try to get a couple thousand copies put together."
Of course Fraction was very wrong, and what started as an inside joke has become a massive hit for its creators. Now on its ninth issue, with a hardcover collection coming in January, Fraction and Zdarsky have taken an initial premise and spun it out into a whole world with fully realized characters grappling with very non-comic-book-like problems. (When's the last time a sex comedy had a sub-plot about a crippling episode of depression?) "I feel like I’m pretty good at drawing a dick joke book, but I got the first script and I realized there were actual characters," says Zdarsky. "I was like, "Oh, shit. Now I’ve gotta learn how to draw people emoting."
Read on as I chat with Zdarsky and Fraction about their creative partnership, the series' most autobiographical moments, and the universal human experience of finding porn in the woods.
Nathan Reese is News Editor at Complex. He tweets here.