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American Virgin Vol. 1: Head Paperback – November 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sex and spirituality wrestle in the first story line of this intriguing new comic. The eponymous Adam Chamberlain is a youth evangelist who believes God wants him to remain pure until his fiancée, Cassandra, returns from Peace Corps service. When he hears that Cassie has been raped and murdered in Africa, he sets aside his belief in forgiveness and seeks vengeance, accompanied by his worldlier stepsister and a mercenary they pick up in Pretoria. Besides encountering cultural differences that conflict with his neat American version of Christianity, Adam also begins seeing visions of a cheerfully topless Cassie who gently questions his biblical interpretations. Many people Adam encounters want to watch him get violent—and laid—because that would justify their own shaky principles. That probably includes most readers, but so far Seagle has kept the character naïve but smart, likable and even admirable in his efforts to stay pure, whatever that means. Indie artist Cloonan's work is raw enough to fit the ugly experiences Adam must assimilate, though all her people wear the same grimace and too much mascara. Adam's development may wind up closer to Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito than Ennis's Preacher; right now, though, all possibilities are open, and that's part of the story's attraction. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Young evangelical minister Adam Chamberlain tours the country, enlisting teens in his abstinence movement and promoting his best-selling book, Save Yourself to Save Yourself. But his moral certainty begins crumbling when girlfriend Cassie, a Peace Corps worker in Africa, is violently murdered by terrorists. The horrific act sets off a spiritual crisis, since God had told Adam that Cassie was the only woman he would ever be with. Adam, accompanied by his black-sheep sister, Cyndi, flies to Africa to retrieve Cassie's body and launches a search for the murderer that further broadens the boundaries of Adam's limited worldview. American Virgin is an unusual offering for a mainstream-comics publisher. Its real-world setting, strong sociopolitical viewpoint, sexual content, and lack of genre elements make it read like an indie-comics title. Writer Seagle has tested the mainstream in such comics as It's a Bird (2004) and Sandman Mystery Theatre, however, and artist Becky Cloonan has worked on indie successes Demo (2005) and East Coast Rising (2006). Their collaboration should appeal on both sides of the mainstream-indie divide. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo; First Edition edition (November 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401210651
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401210656
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Moore on August 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
You might expect a book, about a young evangelist who preaches abstinence, to just ruthless trash Christianity. And surprisingly, it doesn't do that. Instead, this book is a character study on what happens when someone's deeply held convictions get turned on their ear by circumstances well beyond his control.

It's well written, well drawn, and unless your someone who gets offended by the thought that maybe the Bible can't be the answer to everything (or lots of drawn breasts), you will enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Giermann on January 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Here is the story of Adam Chamberlain, a passionate youth Evangelist preacher who believes in destiny, true love, & saving oneself for their destined true love. & Adam has found his own destined true love in Cassandra, a sweet girl who is currently away working for the Peace Corps in Africa. But Adam can't deny it: he's young, he's horny, & he can't wait until their wedding day. But their wedding day shall never come, as Cassandra is kidnapped & slaughtered by a mysterious group of terrorists. & Adam finds himself consumed in grief & confusion & thirsting for ice-cold, immoral revenge.

This fragile situation & Adam's damaged emotions are handled with maturity & depth. As a starting note---before any grim tragedies---Adam is a likable Evangelist. He preaches without being preachy. He's honest & true & never condescending as I feared he may have been (we all know how outrageous some religious folks can get & how biased some literature can be). He gently explains the good within Christianity's laws & why he believes in them so strongly. But Adam soon finds his foundation crumbling. Cassandra was his destined true love---his only true love, the only one he could ever be with---& she was butchered in cold blood like live-stock. Will Adam forever be alone (& subsequently a virgin)? Will Adam seek sweet, violent revenge? Will he turn his back on his powerful morals in his rage & loneliness? These are some genuinely intriguing questions & they are given some genuinely intriguing answers. & American Virgin proves to be a truly compelling character-study.

As for the art, I'm not much of a fan for it. It seems almost sloppy, with dull colors, but it does its job in conveying emotion well enough. The covers on the other hand are superb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mch on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book's presentation is nice, glossy cover, full color pages. Illustrations are great, story is very interesting.
Other than what i first thought, each book of American Virgin is a sucession of the previous. If I had known this before i would have purchased more than one at the time in order to avoid the annoying waiting in between chapters.
Head has 4 chapters, and also includes extra interviews with the comic's characters, and also writters and artists.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nolan J. Werner on April 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Vertigo launches another series. As with most Vertigo series, it reads better in trades then issues. The debut is good but not great, solid storytelling but not exceptional.

In terms of classification, this series is remarkably difficult to put in a single genre of any kind. It doesn't really have the same kind of high concept that a lot of the new Vertigo series do.

The first issue of the series is amazing. After that, the other three issues in the arc seem to lack focus.

The main character of Adam Chamberlain is quite fascinating. It will probably come as a breath of fresh air to many Christians (note that this is coming from someone who has been an agnostic for the better part of a decade) that he doesn't come off as a judgmental bible thumping lunatic. However, in not presenting this side of the American Evangelical movement in depth enough (a passing mention from his "remarkably like Paul and Jan Crouch" parents aside), the series weakens itself at the start. As the story arc goes on, Adam ends up a much less clear person. The good side of this would be that he shows the ambiguity of every person, the bad side is that he does seem muddled at times.

Seagle's story is not exceptional. Coming from the guy who co-wrote Sandman Mystery Theatre and who wrote House of Secrets, It's a Bird and a very underrated Superman run, it is a bit disappointing.

Becky Cloonan's art steals the show. It brings out the nuance of character while not getting in to the flashiness of a lot of other comic artists. Her art is one of the shining stars of Vertigo right now

However, for ten dollars you could do a lot worse. So it gets a recommendation if you have the extra money.
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