Super Fun Sexy Times
Meredith McClaren (writer, artist, and colours)
August 21, 2019
Five stories about supervillains and superheroes in an alternate future Earth explore gender, identity, and consensual sex in Super Fun Sexy Times.
This isn’t the kind of book I would usually review, but I’m trying to diversify my interests for WWAC. And I made a good choice with Super Fun Sexy Times. I loved this book. It’s sweet; it’s fun; it has an important message for readers. I wonder if there’s a way to make a PG version of this novel to share with younger audiences, because the central conceit of this book needs to be discussed with all demographics.
Consent is something that people have been talking about over the past couple of years—particularly during the #MeToo movement. But it’s still a ‘mystery’ to certain sections of the world. One still hears people complaining about asking their partners for what they want with regards to sexual contact. They believe asking takes the spontaneity and sexiness away from the act. That’s more telling about the person who refuses to ask than anything else, but somehow these people remain oblivious to their own stupidity.
Super Fun Sexy Times thoroughly puts paid to the notion that consent is anything but sexy. Five stories, five diverse couples, five varied scenarios: in all of them, the couples discuss their potential sexual activities and ask each other’s permission for everything they do. Communication drives the stories in this book and it’s the sexiest, and sweetest, thing I’ve read. The stories in this book play into so many of the usual fantasies covered in entertainment media and fanfiction. But what I love is how the book subverts expectations by making the characters queer, and by adding conversations about consent that actually contribute to the sexiness and anticipation.
In ‘Worst Case Scenario,’ rival sidekicks, Wonder and Freezer Burn, are trapped in a lab, and decide to have sex to pass the time. We’ve read fanfiction that follows a similar route, and it is just as much fun and as sexy as you would expect. I love that Wonder is trans but that it isn’t the sole focus of his arc. It’s still about the sexy times he’s having with Freezer Burn—his trans identity is just one part of his life.
The two stories that really drive home the message about consent are ‘The Pre-Fuck’ and ‘Safe.’ The characters in these stories explicitly discuss the terms of their sexual congress—what they will do, what they won’t, and how they will inform each other of their intentions. These two stories are also the kinkiest (and sexiest) stories in this collection, which is probably why the negotiations around consent are highlighted so explicitly.
But even in the rest of the stories, consent still plays a major part in the relationships we read. In ‘Good Foundations,’ Shade reveals to their partner, Recluse, that they’re questioning their gender identity. Once Recluse understands what Shade is comfortable with, she keeps asking them what they like and what else she can do to make the experience more enjoyable. As the two of them navigate Shade’s identity, they both learn more about themselves and each other. ‘Good Foundations’ isn’t just a sexy story but a depiction of a loving and understanding relationship, one that can, and should, be emulated in real life. And these characters are supposed to be supervillains!
The final story, ‘The Responsible Parties,’ also revolves around a supervillain, and a particularly nasty one at that. But Hush is also husband to an economics professor, Samuel, who just happens to know how to make the world’s foremost assassin relax after a tough day. What I loved about ‘The Responsible Parties’ is that Hush comes across a teenage superhero and immediately sends him home with instructions to stop superheroing till he’s turned twenty-one. Who doesn’t love a villain with a conscience? Another aspect of this story that I found brilliant, and rare, was that Hush and his partner are both in their sixties. Unlike so much of popular media that insists on desexualising anyone older than forty (for the men, at least), Super Fun Sexy Times explicitly depicts a happy elderly couple enjoying their sexy evening together. And it looks so good!
But my favourite story was ‘Safe,’ mainly because Contact is a gorgeous, fat, queer woman of colour, who is also a superhero. There simply aren’t enough fat characters in any kind of media and I’m always delighted to see the rare one. I love how beautifully the characters are drawn in Super Fun Sexy Times, but I have a particular fondness for Contact, who spends most of her on-page time naked. She looks stunning and I couldn’t help but feel a little choked up seeing a fat body so gorgeously rendered on the page. I would kill to see more characters like Contact in popular media.
Writer and artist Meredith McClaren has given us a book that is delightful and thought-provoking in so many ways. Not only does it question prevailing misogynistic myths about sex and consent, but Super Fun Sexy Times is packed with diversity and representation that we rarely get to see in mainstream comics. I had no idea what to expect when I accepted this book for review, but every page was a delight. I love that the sexy scenes were enough to get one hot under the collar but were also sweet and loving. This book is as much about romance as it is about sex, and that’s why Super Fun Sexy Times works for me. Now, where can I read more books like this?