Demon: More Shameless Cliffhangers to Comeon September 8, 2014 at 11:43 am
I guess there’s no point in being coy any more. If you’ve read this far in Demon, then you’ve got a pretty good idea what it’s about. When people have asked me, I’ve been telling them it’s science fiction or just launch into a recap of the first 40 pages until their eyes glaze over. Well, as your reward for making it through chapter 5, I will reveal to you the horrible truth… Demon is my stab at a superhero comic!
I’ve talked before about how much I love genre. To summarize, I basically see genre as cuisine. Unless you’re some pretentious cook inventing some new fangled molecular creation out of whole cloth, you probably want to start off learning how to make aloo gobi or something. There’s literally billions of man-hours spread out over millions of people that have been put into the R+D of this dish, gradually over hundreds of years making little variants or flourishes, getting the proportion of spices and ingredients just right to make a yummy meal out of potatoes and cauliflower the two cheapest blandest foods on the planet. And it’s sitting there right in the public domain for you to take and use freely. A gift from humanity to you. How arrogant do you have to be to squeeze out a tube of flaxseed oil into a pile of organic figs and open a restaurant. I’m talking to you Austin English!*
As much as I love genre, I know people don’t always share my opinion. To be honest, I’ve been a little cagey about Demon because I want people to take it seriously. And it worked! As The Comics Journal review for Demon said, “Shiga is perhaps is less a mathematician than he is a phenomenologist. By phenomenology I mean simply a method of description that involves observing the object apart from its environment and our everyday understanding of the object. This forces the observer to abandon societal shortcuts in understanding an object or person…” I’m still not sure what that means, but I think that’s positive. The point is, there’s a superhero comic up for 2 Ignatz awards this weekend, suckers. Not since I tricked Asian Week into printing a comic with Jimmy drinking his own urine have I been so proud of an accomplishment.
As a disclaimer, I should confess I’m actually not a big superhero person by any means. I didn’t grow up reading them and it always frustrates me slightly when I see my favorite cartoonists like Jaime Hernandez, Scott McCloud, Chris Ware or Dan Clowes waste their time with doing some superhero comic. I just want to yell, “Get over it already!!! You know how you can subvert the superhero genre? By not making a superhero story you fools!” It is something I see as a generational issue; if you’re of a certain age, superheroes are such a part of you, you just need to get it out of your system before you can move on. So I’m pretty sensitive to it as a reader and it’s something I’m not trying to do myself. Getting back to the food analogy, I’m not trying to deconstruct a hamburger or make a commentary on hamburgers in the form of a hamburger. I just want to make a hamburger that doesn’t have mayonnaise in it! What is this mayonnaise I speak of?
One interesting trend which I think has been around since the 80’s has been to take superheroes into the real world, the Dark Knight and Kickass movies being 2 recent examples. Except, they took the stupidest part which is the costumes and the crime fighting and left out the best part which is the superpowers. I’d think in reality if any of us could be invisible, we’d just sneak into movie theaters and bank vaults. If we did fight crime, it probably wouldn’t even be on the local level. I’m reminded of that scene in Superman where he flies above earth to see where he’s most needed and then flies down to Metropolis and stops a bank robbery. I don’t know. How about assassinating Kim Jong Un and then smushing all the mosquitoes in Africa? As for the costumes, my theory is that Joe Shuster dropped out of art school after he took anatomy but before he took drapery and now because of that one historical accident we’ll all have to look at Ben Affleck wearing spandex.
Anyway, getting back to me, a simple superpower thoroughly explored along with shameless and ridiculous cliffhangers are the two big genre powerchords you’re going to see running through Demon. You’ve probably figured this out by now but I just thought I’d make it official here.
*PS: I like to make fun, but Austin English’s figs are pretty tasty.