Demon, Volume 1

Demon first appeared as a serial on Jason Shiga's website, ShigaBooks, nearly two years ago. Shiga revived Jimmy Yee, the trademark hero of his previous comics, (Meanwhile, Bookhunter, Fleep and Empire State), and used mystery and puzzles as part of the narrative, but with a body-snatching twist. No matter how many times Jimmy tries, he cannot die in a story where Groundhog Day meets Inception.

Demon opens with Jimmy writing a letter. The next panels show him at various stages of thought, until the very last panel on the page, with his feet dangling above the note; the scene fades to black. Jimmy wakes up in bed to realize his suicide attempt failed, although 20 minutes have elapsed. Jimmy slits his wrists, shoots himself and dives headfirst into the path of an oncoming truck, to no avail. His last suicide attempt puts him in the hospital, where he remembers the car accident that claimed the lives of his wife and daughter. Depressed and sad, he robs a bank and kills the teller before landing in his present circumstances. The action that ensues is even more twisted, surreal and shocking than might be anticipated. Shiga's artistic minimalism plays well in setting the pace. Early panels echo the time loop that Jimmy seems to relive after each suicide attempt, and the details added to later panels emphasize the progressive desperation and distress that haunts him after each failure.

While Meanwhile was experimental and Empire State was nostalgic, Demon is a stunning amalgamation of Shiga's previous books and the formal debut of what should become an intellectually stimulating cult classic. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

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