Written by: George Pacheco on September 30th, 2016
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1972
Director: Anthony Spinelli
Writer: Paul Pervertt, Miles Muff
Cast: Ric Lutze, Tricia Opal, Rick Cassidy, Nina Fause, Keith Erickson, Cyndee Summers
DVD Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Approximate running times: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $22.98
Sex in the Comics serves as proof that not every adult feature back in the 1970s Golden Age was made to titillate, as this bizarre and fantastical collection of vignettes is truly a one of a kind cinematic experiment.
The film was directed by respected adult auteur Anthony Spinelli under the pseudonym of Eric von Leth, and is a take on the old flipbook styled erotic comics called Tijuana Bibles, named as such due to their prominence within Mexican culture. Sex in the Comics adopts the exaggerated facial expressions and costumes of the comedic comic strips via a pop art production design and a bevy of strange, unsettling masks.
The sexual activity in the film often takes place with performers wearing these masks, some of whom never reveal their actual identity. It’s rumored that Massacre Mafia Style creator Duke Mitchell performs here in the cast, and it’s difficult to argue, given one actor’s remarkable resemblance to Mitchell’s build, facial hair and tone of voice. Truth or fiction aside, the cast also features a bunch of the prominent adult performers of the day, including Ric Lutze, Rick Cassidy and Cyndee Summers, many of which handle the comedic acting requirements quite well.
Of course, there isn’t much of a demand here on Sex in the Comics, as most of the vignettes presented here are short, and reliant primarily on sight gags and bawdy vaudeville humor. Still, for a film that is so remarkably niche, experimental and weird, Sex in the Comics manages to be remarkably watchable. It’s particularly fascinating to view Spinelli’s film as a time capsule of transgressive and artistic power within the adult film medium, as everyone involved in the production is clearly in on the joke of how profoundly wacked the whole affair must appear to an outside audience.
The anamorphic widescreen print of Sex in the Comics presented here by Vinegar Syndrome much improves the full frame disc released a while back by Alpha Blue Archives. There is some print damage evident, but the colors overall look nice, and the image detailed and bright. The sound is also improved from the ABA disc, with no distortion or hissing evident.
VinSyn also go their typical extra mile here with the extra content included here with Sex in the Comics, tossing in two separate features as an added bonus. The first is a compilation film titled Sextoons, which brings together a wide variety of animation, little of it erotic, some of it childish and much of it extremely bizarre. Still, it proves to be a worthy watch, if only to admire all of the avant-garde and old school animation techniques, as some of the clips here run all the way back to the 1920s. Keep an eye out for the truly disturbing short “Jack in the Fox,” which mixes up live action, claymation and unsettling doll sex to create what can only be described as the stuff of nightmares.
The other film is a shorter, 45 minute piece titled The Funky World of Adult Cartoons, which showcases a series of fairy tale inspired adult animation, all set to a commentary voice over of three adults watching the proceedings in a theater. This set-up is humorous at first, but quickly wears out its welcome as the bad jokes run fast and loose, with many of them falling flat. Still, it’s uniqueness makes it a worthy addition to an equally strange collection brought together on this recommended disc from Vinegar Syndrome.