"Mon Dernier Jour Avec Toi"

§ December 7th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "Mon Dernier Jour Avec Toi"

AiT/Planetlar‘s Demo, by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, has been much ballyhooed and championed by the comicsweblogosphere over the last year, due in no small measure to the promotional efforts of AiT/P’s head honcho, Larry Young. And all that acclaim is not undeserved…Demo is one heck of a series, nominally a superhero comic written for the indie-comics crowd, but with a depth and emotion lacking in the “mighty Marvel manner” mutant comics which seem to be one of the series’ inspirations.

Due out tomorrow is issue #12 of this series, the end of the run, and the issue is essentially Wood and Cloonan telling the reader “goodbye,” as the story follows a couple that are spending one last night together, before “leaving forever.” And, without giving too much away, the repeated “super-power” gimmick from previous issues shows its purpose. Had this been a 100% down-to-earth series, with no fantastic elements whatsoever, the conclusion of the story could only be read as tragic; the possibility that we are seeing the super-power for this story come into play at the conclusion completely reverses that, leaving us with a sense of hope. What could have been a definitive ending is now left vague, which fits nicely with the (mostly) open-ended conclusions of the previous eleven issues.

The story itself reads quickly, as there’s no dialogue, no narrative captions – simply “lyrics” (as the credits put it) complementing the melancholy present in the images. It’s a fast goodbye, as the story is over before you know it…but it’s beautifully drawn, and the emotion of the story sticks with you.

For the short second feature, “Marie and Mike,” Cloonan takes over the scripting chores, and Wood puts pen to paper, as we visit with another couple. In nine pages, this story seems to sum up the series in a nutshell – mundane situation, unusual power, emotional reaction to said power – as well as a repeat of the theme from the previous story, a desire to say goodbye to their current surroundings. It’s a little lighter than the issue’s main feature, but it functions as a reminder of what made the entire series so special.

Undoubtedly this series will be collected at some point, but that seems almost unnecessary…I’d said before that Demo was the comic that felt like a trade paperback. Just as a physical object, each issue feels a lot more solid than some of its four-color counterparts, due to the thick paper stock. I could make some kind of extended metaphor about how the contents of each issue are also more solid, et cetera, et cetera, but I think you get the point. At any rate, putting these in a sequential order beneath one cover wouldn’t improve the reading; the issues are linked thematically, not narratively, and having each story exist as an independent object supports, in an odd way, the prevailing feeling of alienation the “super-power” gimmick introduced.

This was a good series, which could only be improved by taking all the super-powered characters from the previous issues and forming them into the Demo League of America!

Oh relax, I’m only joking. But this was a good series…not every issue was as successful as the next, but overall this was probably one of the very few comic series to take the industry’s prevalent superhero genre into a genuinely new direction. Nicely drawn, sparsely but effectively written: fine work, and I’m glad to have read it.

Demo #12 should be out in your local comic shop tomorrow, and the previous eleven issues should all still be available for reorder.

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