Larry Gonick & Christine DeVault (Harper Perennial)
Larry Gonick turned his scholar’s pen and pencil to socio-historical purposes with this volume. The Cartoon Guide to Sex, written with author and “family life educator” Christine DeVault, is a cross between a social science text and baseline civics book. With a humorous style that never descends into sleazy innuendo or prurient coyness, this book seems an ideal guide to all those tricky questions that novices to the world of sex, such as children, accidental parents and comic fans are afraid to deal with.
The drawing is as ever subversively funny and starts with the birds and the bees, gradually working its way up the food chain until it gets to us. And beyond.
Not once does the imparting of a fact descend into po-faced scientific euphemisms, and not even the most right-wing religious fundamentalist can point at a picture and say “This work of Satan is corrupting the Morals of our Youth”. Except they probably do, but softly, ‘cos it’s funny, and they don’t want to be laughed at.
Sex is placed both in proper historical and sensible modern contexts, alternate lifestyles are examined with no moral shading, and a great emphasis is placed on health and decent human behaviour.
That’s the plug. All of you reading this know (or at least imagine) that sex is exciting and enticing. Otherwise female crime-fighters wouldn’t show so much skin. This is not one of those comics. You will, however, learn a damned sight more than you will from Wonder Woman; you’ll be able to carry on a grown-up conversation with a normal human being about sex without snickering; and even if you don’t get some, you will have a laugh or two.
© 1999 Larry Gonick & Christine DeVault. All Rights Reserved.