Review – American Virgin

Publisher/s: Vertigo

Genre: Slice-of-Life

Author/s: Steven T. Seagle

Artist/s: Various

Format: Ongoing Series (Cancelled)

No. of Issues: 23

Vintage: May 2006 – March 2008

DC Comic’s Vertigo subsidiary is one of my favourite publishers in the comic-book industry, much like the Marvel Knights range, Vertigo is aimed towards a more mature audience with comics usually filled with heavy subject matter such as; extreme violence, use of expletives as well as sexual themes.  American Virgin was a series that caught my eye and sadly after a two-year run the series was abruptly canceled even though it was hugely popular.  Sadly, I only found out that the series had been terminated after reading the final issue.

What saddens me is that American Virgin was an intelligent and highly enjoyable read and by the time I was halfway through the final issue I realised that there wasn’t going to be enough time to wrap everything up properly (the harbinger of cancellation I guess).  The story focuses on Adam Chamberlain, a young devote Christian and something of a celebrity in the religious community as he tours around proclaiming his abstinence from sex until marriage.  It’s only until his girlfriend Cassie, who’s doing peace work in Africa , is killed by terrorists does he then begin to question his faith and beliefs as he sets out to get revenge.

The series is filled with many moments such as this...

There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason behind the cancellation of American Virgin, judging from its reception, the series was hugely popular receiving such praise as;

GLAAD Media Awards – Nominee- “Outstanding Comic Book, American Virgin

“A-. One of the more complex creations in contemporary comics.” – The Contra Costa Times

“A recommended read for mature audiences” – Erika Bennet – Libraryjournal.com

“A- . Seagle is doing an excellent job of making a religious character sympathetic to an atheist like me.” – James Hunt, Alternate Cover

“This is an exceedingly underrated book – a phenomenal look into a character who by all rights I should hate.” – ign.com

Though as the author of American Virgin, Steven T. Seagle, pointed out, Vertigo’s response was simply; “Final Issue” – DC/Vertigo Solicitations.  I really wish I could understand their decision to cancel such a brilliant series.  The characters are wonderfully dysfunctional and Seagle puts so much time into character development that you really start to feel for the characters.  What makes matters worse is that there’s so much stuff left unanswered, so many loose ends remaining that it’s easy to see that the series was meant to go up to at least 60 issues.  The worst aspect of American Virgin has got to be the abrupt ending, I felt cheated and deeply disappointed but this quote from Seagle gives me hope;

Who knows, maybe if enough of you like it – buy those trades, my friends – we’ll be able to come back some time and do a little more with Adam and the seriously f***ed up Chamberlain clan.

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