Sunday, August 17, 2008

Teenage Wasteland

Teenagers with problems. Teenagers with superpowers that set them apart from the rest of humanity - thus amplifying their problems to the Nth-degree. Sounds familiar? If you've grown up reading "X-Men" (like me), it should and Brian Wood knows that. Wood takes the best of the teenage-angst of Claremont's malfunctioned mutant teenagers and recycles them into 12 short-stories elegantly illustrated by Becky Cloonan into a book called "Demo". The result is not a comic or even a graphic novel (I hate that pretentious nomenclature). It works and feels like an alt musical album with 12 tracks, each one illustrating a particular emotion: acceptance, support, loneliness, escape, lust, love, pain, etc. I read "Divided We Stand" two weeks ago and that was something like that (vignettes or snapshots of characters) but without the magic of Cloonan's art. Cloonan channels the best of Paul Pope, Frank Miller and Guy Davis with a mixture of manga into her work, creating a deeply personal album to cherish for many, many years and rereads to come. By the end of the book, I was screaming: "Mum, when I grow up, I want to marry Becky Cloonan!" Well, not exactly in those words but you get the point... :)

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