How do you teach young people to have safe sex? As the Middlesex-London Health Unit here in Ontario understands, it’s with comics and video games!
A co-worker yesterday put me on to the fact that the health clinic has launched an online game called “Adventures in Sex City,” which is absolutely hilarious. Visitors to the site pick from one of four super heroes: Wonder Vag, a virgin whose power is to detect when a person is lying; the four-foot-tall Willy the Kid, who has “massive rock hard strength”; Power Pap, who can use her x-ray vision to spot infections; or Captain Condom, who can stretch to any size and “when used properly is 98% effective.”
In the game, which is basically a quiz about safe sex, the Sex Squad does battle with The Sperminator, who used to be part of the team until he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Now, the muscled bad guy has penises for hands and shoots infected sperm at you every time you get a question wrong.
I know, crazy huh? I chose Captain Condom and got only a few questions wrong - unfortunately, my knowledge of pap tests just isn’t what it should be. Captain Condom whips out his rubber shield and reflects the infected sperm back at The Sperminator every time you get a question right. Funny stuff.
On a somewhat related note, I’ll be doing a signing of my book at the new 3rd Quadrant/Hairy Tarantula comic store up in North Toronto on the afternoon of Saturday, March 20. More details on that to come.
Why a comic book store? Well, firstly, the respective owners of 3rd Quadrant and Hairy Tarantula - Daryl and Leon - are long-time home-boys who were big supporters of Realms Magazine, a venture that a couple friends and I tried a looooong time ago. Realms 1.0, of which there is virtually no online record of since we started it back in 1996 or so at the dawn of the web, was a bi-weekly science-fiction magazine (or fanzine, or ‘zine, as some called it). Daryl and Leon basically kept us in business for 52 issues with their ad money before Tom, Antoine and I realized that the whole thing was way more trouble than it was worth and called it quits.
Realms 2.0 was a revamped bi-monthly glossy magazine that my friend Kenny and I started up a few years later. We made it to six issues before going bust, and once again, very little web evidence of that whole effort exists. Daryl and Leon were again there with ads, and man was it a good magazine, if I do say so myself.
In the end, everyone involved in producing the magazines did pretty well for themselves. Antoine is now the managing editor of Toronto Community News and local blog Scene & Heard, Kenny is basically The Man at The Globe and Mail’s website and Tom… well, he sold out for some sort of IT job at Rogers. Some of our contributors did very well too - Pieter van Hiel writes role-playing games, Valentine de Landro draws comics for Marvel and Justin Mohareb is, well, bitter.
Obviously, I’ve got a bit of history with the comic book folks (heck, I still read them and my favourite writer of all time is Neil Gaiman). There also exists a fine line between technology and science-fiction, which is what many comic books basically are. Not surprisingly, there are more than a few sci-fi references in Sex, Bombs and Burgers (my favourite story to tell is how Google could create Battlestar Galactica‘s killer Cylon robots), so there is a natural comic-book crossover.
Not to worry, nerd haters: the geekiness has been kept to a minimum, so you too will be able to enjoy the book!
UPDATE: I have been thoroughly chastised by Justin Mohareb, who is one of the organizers of Fan Expo, which is kinda like Canada’s version of San Diego’s Comic Con.