Typeface by Marian Churchland
Orgasm Addict, described as “A Comic Book Mixtape,” exists in the space between the dreamy, spellbinding lyrics of our favorite songs and the hurried bustle of a life pulled in many directions. Artist and author Annie Mok takes care in putting protagonist Sally Silverhaze in situations mundane and exceptional, never pulling away to hide a painful moment with an unrequited crush or just how much it sucks to be a disowned trans woman during the holidays.
Sally’s polyamorous relationships see her interacting with multiple partners. This is aided by Mok’s inks which imbue the story with a great sense of velocity. We switch scenes rapidly, requiring multiple stops and starts to get the full picture. Sally rolls with it all. While characters and their bodies are crafted from detailed, recognizable lines, environments are more abstract and transient. At the same time, the persistent hand-lettered song lyrics ground each scene: this is a conversation, a moment, a feeling, held. Starting with the Buzzcocks’ titular track, Orgasm Addict helpfully includes the entire playlist of songs at the end of the work so that we can sit, listen, and contemplate together.
Sally plays a set with her band, Opaque Boys, draws art during her downtime at home, cams with a friend, meets a new partner for the first time in-person, and more. I was thrown off by the comic’s back cover copy alluding to “navigat[ing]… age gaps in queer relationships;” it feels like all that’s done is lampshading at best. While Sally and her younger partner’s intimacy is shown very gently, with a lot of trust being displayed by both parties, I can’t help but feel irritated that the age gap conversation is basically just headed off beforehand with a “when I was your age” joke. This particular relationship constitutes a large portion of the book, so the story felt weaker for not confronting the tension or discomfort.
Orgasm Addict is deftly able to communicate sorrow with just a somber shower scene and Erasure’s ‘Victim of Love,’ but ultimately shortchanges Sally’s motivation. There are glimpses and gestures, of course. Perhaps it’s just that Sally doesn’t have the time or space to safely introspect. But in a story that’s so good at honestly encapsulating the exact feeling of a stolen moment, I’m left wanting more. Orgasm Addict rightfully proves how much you can convey with just a few choice words and the tone of a really good song, but by the end of the comic, my sense of Sally as a character was fleeting. Still, the comic’s sharply beautiful final moments are likely to stick with you. Depending on where you’re at emotionally, that might just be enough.
Editor’s note: The article originally listed Diskette Press as the publisher while it was actually self-published. This has been corrected.