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#3: American Virgin...

(...and also I'm embarrassed that I just now noticed that my first three entries all start with the same letter. NOT INTENTIONAL, SORRY FOLKS, SORRY)

American Virgin
DC Comics/Vertigo (Steven T.Seagle, Becky Cloonan) 2006-2008
Wikipedia Article

Unrelated to the Rob Schneider comedy released earlier this year and unfortunately saddled with the archly tacky tagline “From the Bible Belt to the Chastity Belt” (what?), Seagle’s American Virgin is far from perfect; a writer who occasionally crawls up his own head (you may care to reference his earliest works, Kafka and Amazon, as examples from which he has strayed but slightly), Seagle indulges himself in some very stage-y scenes which defy readability, and some characters (such as Mel, a sort of gender-queer John Constantine by way of a Quentin Tarantino film) which seem cast from Vertigo’s “weird for weird’s sake” mold.

Still, the story of sex symbol, evangelist and abstinence advocate Adam Chamberlain’s vision-soaked journey to confront the murder of his fiancée and come to … er, grips … with his own overpowering sexual urges makes for an action/drama as compelling as anything you might see on HBO.

American Virgin also manages to perform one of the most convincing acts of alchemy in contemporary comic book fiction, slowly transforming the very real and practically shamanic presence of God (or, at the very least, of Godliness) which permeates the early half of the story into a very real and practically shamanic omnipresence of potent sexuality. That the sacred and the profane are as much essentially united as they are at violent odds with one another is one of the key themes to the book, and the friction thereby generated keeps this often violent and generally morally oblique story moving at breakneck pace.

Also, it cannot be stated enough that artist Becky Cloonan really stitches this book together, providing artwork at once both saintly and sexy...

American Virgin Vol 1
American Virgin Vol 2
American Virgin Vol 3
American Virgin Vol 4