Jason Shiga makes labyrinthine comic books. He’s created a grip of graphic novels, 20 comic books, and the world’s second largest interactive comic book. There’s a sense, in his work, of piecing a puzzle together, that he and reader are weaving a tapestry together and that nothing is sacred. Not even the standard structural form of a comic book.
Shiga has been pushing the boundaries of comics for a while now. It’s clear when you read – or experience – his work that he loves math, construction, and Choose Your Own Adventure books. He weaves interactive elements into his graphic novels and comics, allowing readers to shape the story as they go and experience the medium in a whole new way. There’s a punk rock, do-it-yourself esthetic to his comics, a sense that he’s a unique voice with something to say.
It’s this structural insanity that makes us so excited for his latest graphic novel, Demon, which is due from First Second Books in 2016. With four volumes planned for print, Demon started life as a crowdfunded webcomic. It’s bizarre, sick, funny, and more than a little depraved, all of which is part of its charm. If you like your comics weird and immoral, you’ll love Demon.
The story of Demon – which you can check out in webcomic form over at Shiga’s website – is a sprawling one. Shiga has obviously poured a lot into the book, including more than a little of himself. Speaking on Demon’s lead character Jimmy Yee, Shiga said “when he expresses his feelings about the universe being a meaningless and chaotic miasma and consciousness as the ultimate cruel joke on humanity, he’s really speaking for me.” That’s some wonderfully bleak stuff.
Check out some pages from Demon below and read a description of the series from First Second Books. Oh yeah, and buy the graphic novel when it comes out. We need more original voices in comics, people.
“Meet Jimmy Yee, suburban Dad, actuary, math savant and world’s most boring human. The only mildly interesting thing he’s ever done was to check himself into a filthy motel room in Oakland to end his life. And he didn’t even succeed at that.
Meet Agent Hunter, Director of Project Azazel. Under his command stands an army of 800 trained agents led by an elite team of intelligence operatives, devoted to a single goal: to find and capture the nation’s most dangerous man… Jimmy Yee.
What started as a simple suicide attempt has escalated into a 5 dimensional chess match between the two most brilliant sociopaths on the planet, using humanity as their pawns and the earth as their game board. From the streets of Oakland to the bloody finale at Osaka Castle, from the Sultan’s Palace in North Sarawak to a moon colony 250 years in the future, from Jason Shiga, the creator that brought you Meanwhile, Empire State, Fleep and Bookhunter comes the most insanely immoral, antisocial and depraved comic in the history of the medium.”
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