The Comic Queen

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Tuesday, October 26, 2004

DEMO #11 Preview

DEMO 11 from www.ait-planetlar.com

Demo #11 “Midnight to Six”
Writer: Brian Wood; Art: Becky Cloonan
AiT/ Planet Lar; $2.95

Three 13-year-olds make a pact in detention. By signing The Slacker Pledge, Jill, Jace, and Brad agree to “do the bare minimum in school & our future jobs … leaving our minds uncluttered & open to new experiences.”

Cut to 10 years later. All three, now 23 years old, live together, party together, and work together “Midnight to Six” at a local grocery store. They do the bare minimum to get by and, in theory, are then able to live life to its fullest. But, we find, this theory hasn’t exactly panned out for the three, and we see how they each deal with this realization.

Now anyone who says the idea of just coasting hasn’t at least for a moment sounded very tempting is lying. But in reality, most people just aren’t built for coasting. Most human beings have at least some kind of drive or interest in growth in their lives. That’s what this issue is about. The realization that maybe there is more out there to discover and try.

The series DEMO isn’t about young people dealing with superpowers, it isn’t about the supernatural. Sure, these may be plots points, but this is not what the series is really about. DEMO is about individuals making changes, choices, decisions, in their lives.

We see main characters in the series at a crossroads -- each must make a decision to change. Maybe it’s a physical change like moving or running away, or living “life” as the undead as in issue #3; or maybe it’s a mental realization that their character, or personality, has to change as in issue #9. Or maybe it’s just about accepting who you are and liking that, which is also a choice -- sometimes an even harder one to accept -- as in issue #4.

Issue #11 is by far the lightest issue of the series so far. It really is quite funny and the most entertaining and wholly satisfying of the run. But in spite of this, “Midnight to Six” managed hit me like a punch to the sternum. Jill says to the biggest slacker of all, Jace: “That’s the name of the game, dudes. Do what makes you happy. And if it’s on your own terms, all the better, right? So, Jace. What’s gonna make you happy?”

If you’ll allow me to get a little personal in this preview, the reason it slapped me back so hard was because it’s as if Jill is popping off the page and asking me the question. And the scary part is -- I know the answer. The answer is this -- this right here. Comics -- full time. I’m probably the only person who wants to get into “the business” who doesn’t want to be a writer or an artist. I’d actually love to be an editor. In reality, to just get my hands into the business of comics every damn day of my life would make me ecstatic. And I’m sure some days make me physically sick.

But that’s why in DEMO we see the characters just as they begin to head down their new path, whether it be physical or mental. Change is hard, but knowing you or your situation has to change and having it just stare you down, is even more difficult. So, in DEMO, we see people take that first, very difficult, step. And while Wood may not always be spot on each issue, this aspect he does very well – he fully understands and communicates the difficulty of the first step.
Bottom Line: A

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