Saturday, 1 October 2011

Demo by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan

Year of Publication: 2008
Number of Pages: 364 pages
Publisher: Vertigo

A girl stops taking the medication she needs to keep her devestating mental abilities under control. A unhappy girl can make anyone do whatever she wants. A brother and sister discover a shocking family secret. A man with superhuman strength finds himself torn between his family and his friends. A young woman appears to everyone as who they most want her to be until someone sees her for the first time as she truly is. A newly married man returns to the quiet suburban neighbourhood where as a child he dealt out violent revenge. You'll meet all these and more in Demo a graphic novel collection of twelve short stories written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Becky Cloonan.

Originally published as twelve monthly comic-books, the stories deal with young people (ranging from teenagers to people in their twenties or thirties) faced with a life altering decision to make. Many, but not all, of the subjects of the stories have superpowers but none of them are superheroes, and their powers are rarely much of a help to them (in most cases quite the reverse).
The characters are alienated, unhappy people faced with recognisable problems, trying to find some kind of place in the world. The strength of the book is that it is a collection of stories about people who, superpowers or no, are searching for what we all want: happiness, acceptance and, ultimately, love.
The stories are well-told and evocative and accompanied by stunning black-and-white artwork in a range of styles. Coming across like a quiet but striking indie film, or that one song that comes across the radio late at night that breaks your heart, this is a book that will stay with you for a long time.

If you've read any of Demo before then you know what I'm talking about. If not, then cognratulations. You've just found your new favourite comic.

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