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Demon, Volume 1 Paperback – October 4, 2016
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"Thanks to the overarching conundrum and Shiga's sparse, cartoony style, the gore and nihilism manage to be simultaneously gloomy and cute." ―NPR, from their "Guide to 2016's Great Reads" list
"I truly think Demon is one of the best comics that has come out in the last few years. It's surprising, unique, and insanely well crafted." ―Brian Michael Bendis, author of the Ultimate Spider-Man series
"Jason Shiga has done something remarkable with Demon: created a surpassing morally repugnant protagonist I still root for because of his prodigious intelligence. I'm ashamed of myself for liking him!" ―Adam Savage of MythBusters
"It’s bizarre, sick, funny, and more than a little depraved, all of which is part of its charm." ―Nerdist
I respect Jason so much for following his audacious, wild, insane muse. Demon is raw, explosive fun.” ―Chester Brown, author of Paying For It
"What can be said is that Shiga (Meanwhile) has woven a tight and tense narrative that keeps readers intrigued and guessing along with Yee, as he endures the mind-bending ramifications of his situation."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[Shiga] set out to make a dynamic comic, one that would both encourage and facilitate readers to turn the page again and again...The result is something goofy, funny, harrowing, and exciting in a way that action comics rarely―if ever―achieve." ―A.V. Club
“Deeply uncomfortable and utterly brilliant.” ―Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, and the Secret Coders series
“Awesome! And horrifying. But mostly awesome!” ―Zach Weinersmith, author of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
"Shiga’s simplistic cartoon style helps soften the blow; with his characters’ bug eyes and rounded structures, murder and suicide have never looked so adorable" ―Booklist
About the Author
Jason Shiga was born and raised in Oakland, California. He is the author of Meanwhile, Empire State, Fleep, Bookhunter, and over twenty other comic books and graphic novels. He is also the creator of the world’s second largest interactive comic. His comics have a geeky side and often feature exciting uses of mathematics and unusual structural forms. Demon is his most ambitious project to date.
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As the author puts quite eloquently in the foreword, The Demon: Vol 1 is not, repeat not, a children’s comic. As the graphic novel industry has hit an all-time high, the venue of adult oriented comics has risen to the forefront, the typical readers being in their 20’s to 40’s, The subjects it deals with are varied, crude, and very violent. A man who has lost everything, his wife and his daughter, in a fatal vehicle accident that leaves only him alive, Ben, our anti-protagonist, wends his ways through a bank robbery and then suicide (multiple times), as he discovers he has the gift of transferring his consciousness to the closest person to him, when he dies. Thus the “Demon” is born.
The writing is brief, poignant to the situation, and doesn’t back down or hold any punches. This is a story about a nihilist, who simply wants to end his whole life. As the story ramps up, the stakes become higher and as he gets a grip on his new “reality,” pursued by government agents, he starts killing himself again and again, racking up the body count as he shifts perspectives, in viewpoint. It’s a credit to author/artist Jason Shiga, for handling this bizarre discovery, with panache and flair, in a way that the reader can actually maintain his sense of disbelief, over the surreal course of action. Suicide is a touchy subject to be sure, however, Shiga’s The Demon: Vol. 1 handles it with a fresh, almost supernatural light. There are no wasted words and the tone, theme and setting are set up for the next three installments. It’s a surreal ride through this slippery work, but the writing keeps you grounded at all times.
Plot-wise, this graphic novel moves with gusto. A frenetic start up pace is established right off the hop, and continues to climb in intensity. The exploits that Ben endures, go far beyond the scope of the average individual and a nightmare of gritty action ensues. Shiga makes no excuses, however, warning that if you’re easily offended, don’t pick up the book. The plot thickens quite nicely and hits a hearty end in the first installment of this planned quartet. This reader couldn’t stop turning the page to see what happens next, as the mystery unfolds. There are no complaints here – this is a well thought out story.
The artwork is suiting of this graphic novel. Using a simplistic style, to convey quite graphic events, Jason Shiga, spares the reader some of the grotesqueness of the volume. Graphically, the art is the story (or rather the story is the art), and it’s through this rarefied lens that we see our anti-protagonist, and his various antagonists stumble through the initial phase of ‘learning’ about how Ben’s suicides keep him going. It’s simplistic, however the artwork couldn’t be more realistic – it would be grisly, and slightly pornographic. Overall it flows smoothly from panel to panel and readability is greatly enhanced by an almost 4-9 panel grid maintained throughout. It is precisely this and the use of ‘chapters’ that keep the readers eyes flowing and a chance to absorb what he or she has read up to that point.
It’s hard to pinpoint the target audience of The Demon: Vol 1. I’d say fans of urban supernatural tales, perhaps an element of the X-Files, with a dash of nihilist philosophy tossed in, would enjoy this the most, and others, well, if you’re willing to give Jason Shiga’s he Demon: Vol 1 a read, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed, anticipating the next novel as much as I am.
His wife and daughter having died in a car accident, Jimmy Yee decides to end it all – only to find that his suicide attempts are thwarted each time by powers beyond his control. The first half of the story involves him grappling to understand the rules of the new forces that govern his life, while the second sees him become the target of an elite military taskforce determined to contain him.
It's bloody, it's gory, it crosses the line more than a couple of times, but Jimmy's increasing lack of morality combined with his specialised calculation skills as an actuary in figuring out the logistics of his situation make for a surprisingly engrossing read. Like all the best stories, "Demon" comes up with a high concept premise and then explores it from every possible angle. How do you capture a man who can possess anyone in the vicinity? How do you take into account enclosed areas, vast distances, and endless hiding places? What would you do if you had the ability to possess anyone just by getting close to them and putting a loaded gun to your own head?
It's a story that grabs you from the first panel and hurries you along at a breakneck speed – not for the easily offended, but definitely quite a ride.
Most recent customer reviews
The simple yet stylish drawing style really make you focus on the characters...Read more