When most people think of “porn,” they don’t get images of semi-surreal drawn sets, people with weird looking face makeup and face puddy on attempting to portray comic book characters, or montages of WWI and WWII stock footage. Most people wouldn’t think of Sex In The Comics when they think of porn. However, this bizarre little 70s oddity which is now all but lost was billed as porn, sold as porn, and viewed as porn. A shame, for if its makers had promoted the film correctly, it could have been a cult hit.
The premise is simple: a woman goes to interview a famous cartoonist about his work, but instead he gives her a history lesson on Tijuana Bibles (satirical dirty comic books). We then see around 20 of these comics acted out.
Although the premise might make this film sound like ordinary 70s sleaze (and I’ll make no assertion that this film’s storyline is super creative), the execution is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. For one, the entire film takes in a whole slew or (purposefully) tacky drawn sets, which are intended to mimic the frequently primitive artwork of the comics they are based off of. Furthermore, the entire cast (well, only the males) wear strange looking face masks throughout the film, again so that they more resemble the comic characters they’re based off of. Again, this might not sound all that odd for anyone whose seen the work of “Rinse Dream” but still, the ambiance of the scenes truly do give the film a very unique feel.
The dialog is also written to mimic the style of writing which the original comics used, and as a result, the very dated humor frequently falls flat. Additionally, the film almost feels like it was designed for 5 year olds based on the caliber of the humor.
What kills the film is how repetitive it gets, as all of the mini vignettes are the same (with a few rather clever exceptions) and, like the comics they’re based on, once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Certain elements work quite well, in particular the narrative segments in which the “famous comic artists” gives factually accurate sounding lectures about the effects American politics and culture had on the creation of the comics. However, when all is said and done, the film runs around 15 minutes too long. A 70 minute running time, instead of 86, would have served this film much better and kept it far more entertaining.
That said, Sex In The Comics is anything but run of the mill porn, in fact I’d be hard pressed to say I’d even qualify this film as even remotely erotic for turning the audience on seems to be the furthest thing from the minds of the filmmakers. However, to much time is spent making essentially the same vignette over and over again, by the time the 60 minute mark hits, you might just want to shoot yourself.