Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!
First Second Week continues with another Guest Graphic Novel Review…this one by The Comic Book Teacher: Ronell Whitaker. Ronell and I have been working together on this comics stuff for quite a while now, so it’s an honor to have him guest on my blog! Do me a favor and give fellow Comic Book Teacher Ronell a follow (if you do not already) @MisterWhitaker on them Twitters.
Author: Jason Shiga
Publisher: First Second (2017)
Age Rating: 17+
Let’s not bury the lede: Demon might not be appropriate for children under the age of 17. I know this is a blog about comics in the classroom, but I probably wouldn’t teach with this book. Now that we’ve got that out of the way JASON SHIGA IS A GENIUS AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!
Demon is the story of Jimmy Yee, a genius level accountant who cannot die, no matter how hard he tries. The mystery behind Jimmy’s newfound power, and the shadow organization that tries to recruit him is the basis for what is a master class in sequential storytelling. Shiga’s art style is very basic, building many of the characters from primary shapes. This is due largely to the writing and story that overcome what some might see as simple art.
I originally read this book in it’s entirety as a webcomic, so I had to wait weekly for my dose of Demon, but the book is just as immersive, if not more so. Every page turn maximizes the drama, heart, and flat-out hilariousness (that’s a word, right?) of this book. You won’t like Jimmy very much. He is a classic anti-hero with heavy emphasis on anti, and the body count he amasses, coupled with a definite lack of a moral compass makes you question if he’s making the best decisions. Despite this, I found myself so attached to Jimmy (and especially his daughter later), and I alternated between rooting for and against him.
This is the genius of Demon. It’s like if you saw a kid playing with wooden blocks, and as you looked closer you noticed that it was an exact replica of the Taj Mahal complete with its majestic gardens and people moving around in it. The world Shiga builds is so rich, and the characters so utterly $%&#ed up that it is truly something to behold.
So, no, this book isn’t school appropriate. I wanted to review this book because it is an example of an artist at the height of his powers, but it is by no means the only book Shiga has written that struck me this way. Check out Meanwhile ( a comic choose your own adventure that somehow incorporates math in in an entertaining way) or Bookhunter (an action thriller for the librarian inside of all of us). Demon is a reason to move Jason Shiga onto your list of must read comics creators.
Thank you, Ronell for this great review! I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some Jason Shiga.
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