Wednesday, 16 January 2013

So I Read Demo

A 250 word (or less) review of Demo volume one.
By Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, Vertigo Comics

Most mainstream comics are about super heroes: people with special powers who fight some form of evil or injustice for a variety of reasons. Their powers are generally a blessing or sometimes a blessing-that-is-also-a-curse, but at the end of the day are mostly a mechanism for having adventures and punching things. Demo is a book where people have superpowers that are metaphors for how shitty life can be. The comic is basically an anthology of stories about people dealing with realistic life challenges, but with a super powered/supernatural bent that operates as a thematic device. Think a story about a teen whose words can literally hurt others or about a girl whose mother uses drugs to control her out-of-control powers. It's a pretty poignant collection of short stories that really capture the emotional flavour of profoundly difficult life moments. Demo will make you feel feelings. Brian Wood’s writing is sharp and empathic and Becky Cloonan's art conveys tremendous mood and emotion. Actually, Cloonan pulls off a neat trick in this book: she alters her art style between chapters, sort of fluctuating between manga and American influences, to give each story an individual style and sense of identity. She is a remarkably talented artist. Demo is a great book that sort of straddles the line between super hero books and literary comics and is worth checking out. Just be ready to feel feelings.

Word count: 232

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