It would be hard to say there are many comic books out there like Sex on Wheels. Some creators delve into sex work and the everyday lives of people who perform, others try and shine some light on the disabled community, but both of these in the same spot is incredibly rare. To make this particular project even more unique, the two members of the creative team are also disabled, and they aren’t holding back with this new book that wants to make sure everyone knows, “Crips f— too.”
That’s the moral Larime and Sylv Taylor are yelling out loud for everyone to hear, with the first book of their new imprint, Gimp Comics. This upfront nature isn’t too surprising for anyone who read Larime’s previous work from Top Cow Comics, A Voice in the Dark, which featured another bold story and engaging characters.
“I’m disabled, not dead.”
They may be in wheelchairs, but the pair wants their chance to talk about sex, love, and all of the ableist bullshit that comes with simply existing as a disabled person. Speaking directly to Larime, he explained, “We [disabled people] never get portrayed accurately or authentically by able-bodied people, which means able-bodied audiences never get an authentic story, either, unless it’s from us.”
Sex on Wheels sees a disabled protagonist at a level most have never even considered. Her name is Morning Glory, ‘Mo’ to most, and readers are thrown right into her sex life and other casual relationships. Much like her creator, this character is an artist who draws with her mouth, being a person with Arthrogryposis, a condition that means her limbs never fully developed. I love that with her condition, Mo makes her living drawing lewd pinups, with varying levels of raunchiness, but hates being naked herself. It’s that type of cruel character quirk that comes from deep-seated real-life experiences.
“The main rule we try to follow when telling a story about the disabled experience is: if it’s a part of our lives, it belongs in the story,” which is exactly what Sex on Wheels is, a slice of life tale that covers the mostly un-treaded ground, and it goes into a lot of detail early on. “This is how we live, how we exist day to day,” Larime continued, “We deserve to have our own experiences represented.” Some elements of the comic may be a bit jarring at first, but the creative team understands that. They clearly want it to be seen and considered, “If seeing us do [our daily lives] makes some people uncomfortable, perhaps they should ask themselves why that is. If more people got to see us as we are on a regular basis, we would normalize disability.”
There’s a sense of reality in these pages that hit hard, some situations or statements will mean more to certain readers. It’s a heap of woes, from the sadness of loving a beloved service dog who acted as more than just a friend and comfort animal, to discussions of severe depression and suicide. It may feel like the commentary is laid on a bit too hard here in some spots, but these subjects help readers learn the characters and further a more calmly-paced story while answering a lot of questions about disabled life. According to Larime, everything in the comic is either from his or Sylv’s personal experience or someone else they’ve spoken to, “Obviously, it’s a story. It’s fiction, but every element of the comic came from somewhere.”
These situations are serious, but they do make room for a lot of comics name-dropping, pop culture references, and quippy one-liners, “I have nice tits for a T-Rex.” I appreciate the writing for this book, and the few small complaints I do have are easily ignored amongst the overall solid content. The art is easy to dig as well, but sometimes I found myself questioning the choice of colors. Larime commented on this and said that coloring isn’t their strong suit, but the saturation and blending help bring certain pages to life while the monochromatic nature of others almost sets its own tone, “I tried to unify each scene by the dominant lighting in it.” The final pages of the first comic have a few details on how the book is made and some extra artwork that may be interesting to readers.
The comic looks like it’s off to a great start. They have a successful Kickstarter campaign for the first volume of the series, and the property is being optioned as a television show. Larime promises Mo will be played by a disabled person and that the series will handle the material with care and consideration. This further speaks to the potential of the IP.
One of the quotes I saw described Sex on Wheels as raunchy and tender, which is a strong read of the book. It isn’t going to work for everyone, but the comic isn’t meant to be a softball or just another piece of “inspiration porn.” I’m interested to see where the story goes and learn more about Mo’s life. I’m not sure how the rest of the comic will pan out, but this first part created enough intrigue for me to continue. If my own endorsement isn’t enough, I asked Larime why people should read Sex on Wheels, “Because it’s something different in a medium that keeps rebooting and retreading the same stories and characters. There is no other comic like it.”