Wednesday, March 08, 2006

American Virgin

The new Vertigo title American Virgin made its debut in comic stores today, sporting a beautiful Frank Quitely cover. Written by Steven T. Seagle with art by Becky Cloonan, this comic follows a 21-year-old virgin, Adam Chamberlin, as he promotes abstinence on a tour to "save yourself to save yourself." The son of a TV minister and a mother who calls him "a prophet for the new age," Adam has a lot to live up to, especially since his two other siblings didn't grow up invested in good Christian values. He's the perfect son, and as such, preaches to youth and gets them to sign virginity pledges, showcasing a beautiful girlfriend who volunteers in Africa who will return to Miami soon to marry him. As a virgin, Adam not only will refrain from having sex until married (though he distinguishes that his message isn't not to have sex, but to wait until God has shown you the perfect one to have it with), but does not masturbate either. Through this first issue, Adam is subjected to temptation aplenty and is shown to harbor a secret perverse lust. While he can look a prostitute in the eye and make her feel for his message, he touches himself after the encounter. When he chastises a girl for handing him a message to "meet him in the locker room" on her virginity pledge and pulls her aside, speaking with her privately to see his message for what it is, he is seen adding the note to a collection of other such messages in a lockbox (one note of which says "If you ever go gay..."). When I saw preview art of the issue a few months back, I was kind of disappointed, but after actually reading the issue, I have to say I kind of like it. I wanted the protagonist to be kind of sexy in such a title, and Cloonan delivers just that in the end. It's not exactly Frank Quitely or anything, but it gets the job done pretty well. All in all, Seagle has provided a likeable, interesting main character in Adam Chamberlin, with an ending that spells bad news for his future, and a more interesting story than I expected going in.

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