American Virgin #1-4

Greg Oleksiuk

With a topic as heated as sex, if Seagle and Cloonan do their jobs right it's only a matter of time before people start making noise about this comic, and that's a very good thing.

American Virgin #1-4

Publisher: DC Comics
Contributors: Artist: Becky Cloonan
Price: 2.99
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Length: 32
Formats: Single Issues
First date: 2006-05
Last date: 2006-08

Sex is everywhere in Western culture, and at the same time Christianity is engrained in the culture of the United States about as much as baseball or hot dogs. Over the last six years, Christianity's role in American culture has grown due to the Republican push to enforce Christian values whether the populace likes it or not. Regarding sex and the Bush Administration, youth abstinence has been one of the focuses of their policies.

Enter Steven T. Seagle and Becky Cloonan who approach youth abstinence and saving oneself for marriage by giving us Adam Chamberlain, Christian Youth spokesperson, and the head of a virginity movement. He's been saving himself for his one true love that is working in Africa and is set to return shortly -- only the day before she is set to return, she is killed and Adam wonders now what he is to do.

What is interesting is that Seagle stresses sexual views by showing the world surrounding Adam, particularly outside of America. This shows the rest of the world's view of sexuality juxtaposed with Adam's "my way is the only way" point of view. Adam may not realize it yet, but it seems that abstinence is a practice that is, in terms of Western society, only prevalent in America. This story is a coming of age story for Adam, as he learns that life, and sex, is not as simple as he thinks it is.

Seagle does tend to use extremes in terms of supporting characters, particularly when it comes to Adam's own family. His mother is a fundamentalist Christian who seems more interested in keeping her son as the poster-child for youth abstinence than anything else, whereas Adam's sister is a very liberal twenty-something who is more than happy to help Adam rebel against his mother. In the middle are Adam's brother, who belongs to the youth virginity movement but seems tempted and more than willing to give in at any time, and Adam's step-father, who has a more sordid past than anyone realizes.

Cloonan's art suits this book, and it looks different than any other Vertigo book currently on the shelves; it certainly should, as the subject matter is among the most original out right now. Her artwork fluctuates between clean lines and rough sketches depending on the tone of the scene, brilliantly invoking the emotions of the story. Even the coloring is of a simpler style than most comics today, employing mostly solid tones and primary colors.

It is hard to gage Seagle's opinion on abstinence based on American Virgin, as he depicts the extremes of all sides, but he also shows Adam to be a somewhat enlightened person from time to time. The biggest question is where this series is going; there is not much in the way of future potential developed beyond the search for the killer of Adam's girlfriend. This can be a positive or a negative: the reader is left with a mystery, but it is one thaty may never go anywhere, and the series could lose sight of its original intentions.

Overall, American Virgin shows the potential to be one of the most original books in the Vertigo library, fusing a coming-of-age story with the very prevalent issue of youth abstinence and virginity. It has never been more important to look at this topic and review it with a good dose of realism. There does not seem to be much fuss over this title yet, but hopefully that will change. With a topic as heated as sex, if Seagle and Cloonan do their jobs right it's only a matter of time before people start making noise about this comic, and that's a very good thing.

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.