It’s cold as heck out, and the dreaded holiday season is here, so I’ve been dealing with it by curling up with some old favourites. I just reread Demo, a collection of twelve monthly comics written by Brian Wood and drawn by Becky Cloonan. It’s an awesome collection of angsty teenage stories, with Buffy or X-men-style metaphors where fantastic elements represent intense emotion.
Brian Wood is generally loved by the ladies for his focus on female characters (Local, The New York Four) and his cool blend of politics and realistic characters in an alternate future, sci-fi-ish setting (DMZ). Becky Cloonan perfectly renders young folks in styles ranging manga-y to stark black and white. Her punk-pirate book, East Coast Rising, is fun as heck.
Each of the twelve issues collected in Demo are individual stories, linked together loosely with the theme of angry youth, and hidden power.
(Beware, there are some swears after the jump.)
A young woman, Kate, is cursed with a power where she looks like the perfect woman to whoever is looking at her. Her appearance changes to match their desire. As Kate walks through a party, she morphs into individual sexual fantasies.
When a woman at a coffee shops shop sees Kate as she really is, Kate falls madly in love with her. But Kate has to deal with her own tendency to project her desires.
In another issues, a young boy, Ken moves with his family to a racist small town. He and his family are horribly mistreated, culminating in one of his neighbours killing the Ken’s puppy. Ken is so enraged, that an awesome dark power awakens in him and uses his zombie-dog and other dead animal minions to attack the town.
In a story that might have been ripped off by Heroes, a young girl can make people do anything she wants, just by saying it. After she basically destroys her mother, she vows to never speak again. But she just can’t keep quiet around abusive jerks.
Demo is dark, intense teenage stuff, with awesome moments that make you wish you had some kind of messed up super power.
The series ran in 2003 to 2004, and was nominated for a bunch of Eisner awards (the comic book Oscars, basically). A new six issue mini-series of Demo is supposed to start early next year. Can’t wait.