cover image The Pervert

The Pervert

Remy Boydell and Michelle Perez. Image, $17.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-5343-0741-4

This collection of watercolor vignettes—some melancholy, some wryly funny—has a down-to-earth realism and humanity rare in comics about sex work. Most of the characters are anthropomorphic animals drawn in simple cartoon artwork, like a child’s art class project, allowing some distance from the protagonist’s not-always-happy experiences. Somewhere in Seattle, a shaggy-haired trans woman ekes out an unstable living. Sometimes she passes as a rent boy; sometimes she takes clients looking for a transgender partner. She’s trying to save money for a gender-affirmation operation, but somehow she keeps getting poorer and poorer. She makes friends with other sex workers, most of whom are more comfortable in the life than she is. For her, the anonymity of being a body for hire is wearying. “Each day of this,” she says, “I’m just part of someone else’s day.” The sex scenes are graphic but unemotional, a series of still images depicting the drudgery of the job. The parallel story of one of the protagonist’s regular clients, a widower who misses his wife, who was trans, offers a brighter vision for future love. Perez brings her own background as a trans woman with a history in sex work to these frank, honest pages. The short chapters build to a convincing collage portrait of a woman learning, sometimes the hard way, who she is and who she isn’t. (May)