SEX CRIMINALS #1 Launch Party

Brought to you by The Beguiling, the same lovely folks behind TCAF, the release party for Image Comics’ Sex Criminals was held at Wicked Night Club on September 25, 2013. […]

Brought to you by The Beguiling, the same lovely folks behind TCAF, the release party for Image Comics’ Sex Criminals was held at Wicked Night Club on September 25, 2013. In attendance were series writer Matt Fraction, artist Chip Zdarsky, some folks from Ego Assassin, Toronto sexpert Sasha, and body decoration boutique Black Line Studio. The event was advertised as a safe space for people of all genders and sexualities, but it was hard to know what to expect.

Chip Zdarsky reading some erotic fiction (courtesy of

We arrived as Sasha did some introductions and thanks, then asked the creators about the comic. She praised the comic for celebrating sex in such an unashamed way, and as someone who had “enjoyed” many faucets, praised Zdarsky’s effective capture of those from the ’70s. I’m not sure if it was a case of poor preparation, or if the venue just wasn’t intended for a long presentation, but sound didn’t carry well, and I worry that much of the presentations were unheard by most of the crowd. I managed to catch most of a short “skit” Zdarsky and Fraction performed, with Chip pretending to call a phone sex line and getting Matt, who claimed to be a woman from Winnipeg named Linda. Much of the skit was Matt using increasingly bizarre innuendos on disconcerted Chip, but by the end the conclusion seemed to be that everyone is a bit gay, since most guys touch their own penis “7 or 8 times a day.” It was pretty ridiculous and I wish I’d been able to record some of it.

Newly pierced Matt Fraction (courtesy of

After the skit, Chris Butcher of The Beguiling announced that since Fraction was a teenager, he’d wanted to get his nipplespierced, and invited some folks from Black Line Studio to the stage. They came to publicly pierce Matt Fraction’s nipples. While they got set up, Zdarsky (bedecked in an adult Garfield costume) read some of his “erotic” stories, including one called Not-Batman wherein the search for the Not-Joker was stalled with Not-Batman and Not-Commissioner Gordon had steamy sex in a motel room. The stage was crowded, which made it incredibly hot, so Fraction wasn’t feeling awesome after the first nipple and decided to call it a night, and I really can’t blame him. It was stifling, so everyone spread out, seeking two small patios and the second floor, complete with a variety of rooms and beds for people to engage in sexual activities if they so desired. With this crowd though, the beds were only used to sprawl out and read comics and take photos. We couldn’t have expected any less though, since Fraction’s and Zdarsky’s other work was available for purchase (I nabbed the first volume of Casanova) and a copy of Sex Criminals #1 was part of the $5.00 cover charge. I really enjoyed the comic, as set up it’s mainly about a young woman discovering her sexuality, which is awkward for everyone, but especially those of us without penises. The writing is sweet, the concept hilarious, and the art non-objectifying, so I look forward to the rest of the series.

By the time we felt like venturing back downstairs, a casual signing had been set up, with Fraction and Zdarsky sitting on the stage with a small glass table between them. The line was mainly relaxed, although one guy brought a box of comics for Fraction to sign, and the two girls in front of us were very excited to meet him, I enjoyed just watching their excitement. I had to wait maybe 10 minutes to get to the stage, where both creators were sweet and engaged in the conversations; I talked to them about their work and told Fraction I hoped his nipple felt better soon (“it feels like it’s being pinched, ” he said). They were equally talkative with my friend who’s relatively comics inexperienced.

Most of the crowd kind of cleared out by 10:00, although we hung around until 10:30 because the music was great – all kinds of hip hop from the early 2000’s, for the most part, although when we came down from the upper floor they were playing KC and the Sunshine Band. It was a unique event, and I look forward to more events put on by The Beguiling as well as more issues of this comic.

Sex Criminals #1 was released on September 25, 2013. Issue 2 will be available on October 23.