by Michelle Perez
Image Comics, 2018
Review by Christian Perring on Jun 26th 2018
The description of this graphic novel on the publisher web site explains that it is about a trans sex worker in Seattle. Some parts of this are more obscure than others when reading it. There is not much clue the story is set in Seattle, and it takes a little working out that the main character is a trans woman, at least until we see her naked. This is a melancholy narrative gives people dog and cat faces, which makes them look sad but pretty hard to read apart from that. The narrator, who is the main character, leads a brutal life trading sex for life, getting harassed and experiencing bias, and occasionally inflicting violence on others. There is a lot of sex depicted, which might be shocking to readers, but it isn't explicit in the same ways that modern porn is. There is a main plot and several subplots and a lot happens in the 160 pages of the book but it's often confusing. Many of the panels (mostly 6 to a page) have not writing and so the reader has to work at figuring out what is going on. The main themes are about self-acceptance, finding love, and the meaning of sex for trans sex workers. The tone of the book is muted -- this comes from both the colors, the drawing style, and the drawing. Just occasionally the colors change, becoming more vibrant, and there are some full page pictures in more detailed style that are more like sketches to illustrate places, persons, or ideas. The Pervert is a striking work especially for its themes regarding sexual identity. Whether it can be called "realistic" in any way is hard to know, but it certainly feels like it provides an insight on a certain segment of experience in today's society.
Link: Publisher's web page.
© 2018 Christian Perring
Christian Perring teaches in NYC.