Demo: The Collected Edition
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Demo: The Collected Edition (Demo #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,032 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Twelve stories of conflicted teens grappling with love, loss, and the joy of finding your own way in life. The Eisner-nominated and critically-acclaimed series of self-contained short stories by writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan is finally collected together into this complete, bookshelf format volume.
Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 7th 2005 by AiT/PlanetLar
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Community Reviews

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So the problem with attempting to write a review of this book is that I really, strongly, actively dislike Brian Wood -- as a writer, as a professional, as a person. I find his comics to be one-note, angsty, dour, and narratively flat -- they're serious without being especially thoughtful, gloomy without being particularly vulnerable or incisive. I feel like Brian Wood has the internet open on one side of his desk and he's reading news articles about bad shit to get himself amped, and on the oth...more
This stark, black and white collection of graphic vignettes, illustrates young people making hard decisions. Some have extraordinary powers, and some are just facing extraordinary challenges. In one, a young girl is working at a gas station. She doesn't speak by choice. She doesn't speak because she can make people do what ever she says. One day she got mad at her mother and now her mother is catatonic. This isn't a collection of superheroes who marvel at their powers. This is a collection of yo...more
Sam Quixote
Demo is a collection of 12 short stories featuring young people with difficult lives in the midst of change. Initially the stories feel like kids with superpowers stories that wouldn’t be amiss in a Marvel or DC book but, over time, the stories shift from teens to young adults in their twenties minus the superpowers and focused more on their relationships.

The first couple of stories feature teen girls with Carrie-esque psychic powers that trigger when stress is applied and the next story is abo...more
Peter Derk
For those who haven't read this yet, the idea is that every issue was a short story about a young person with a different "power."

I say "power" instead of power or Power! because I guess some of these things would not really be qualified as powers. Eating human flesh? I mean, I guess it depends on the chef. You know that part in the Hannibal movie where he's just cooking up a piece of that dude's brain? I feel like brain meat would be rubbery. Not the most delicious part of a person. So eating t...more
Mar 25, 2008 Sheila rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: graphic novel lovers
Recommended to Sheila by: I read it for a graphic novel workkshop.
This series of 12 stories of young people who are standing at the crossroads of some life-altering decision they have to make is somewhat uneven, but the stories I liked were really good. They leave the reader with a sense of shock. Some of the stories are fantastical and some real.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
For a while, I was not sure about this book. The stories, while interesting, seemed to vanish without figuring out how to be awesome. Young people faced decisions, yes, and sometimes they had powers of some kind. Generally very large powers--one girl could make people do what she said, another could make things go boom. One girl became whatever anyone wanted her to be. This was cool, and horrifying, and it was clever how she latched onto the one girl who saw her as she was. As she, the girl who...more
Aug 29, 2008 elissa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to elissa by: Anina's review
I think I'm slightly picky lately, for some reason, but this is only 3 1/2 stars for me. There were a few of the vignettes that I really loved, and the rest were good, but it was slightly uneven to me. I laughed out loud, not in a bad way, but in an unexpected way, at the story where the girl ends up with a chunk of wood sticking out of her. The first story is memorable, and my husband reminded me of the one with the "Slacker Code" when I was asking him which stories stuck in his mind. That one...more
I first heard of Demo in a class I took on graphic novels (isn’t college awesome?). It wasn’t required reading, but one of the final presentation groups focused on it, and I’ve been eager to read it ever since. I’m a sucker for realistic portrayals of life with super powers, but what really attracted me visually is that each story has a separate art style, despite all being illustrated by the same artist.

Each of the stories is touching, in some cases heart-wrenching, and feels very true to life...more
Eh, I don't know about this one. Too many stories, too many abrupt ends. Nothing felt finished. And although it purports to be about conflicted teens, who are these people? When I was a teen, I didn't live with some guy or have a job that required a suit & meeting attendence or throw a desk down a flight of stairs & then go home to my live-in girlfriend and tell her to beat it. I was still living with my parents. Perhaps the teen misnomer is why it's kept in the YA section, but surely al...more
Miguel Jiménez
Este es un comic con historias cortas. Se encuentran personajes inadaptados donde—a veces— se insiste en exponer que son diferentes a las demás personas: sea un don, una actitud, una manera de ser, etc. Lo que me gusta de ellos es su atrevimiento para tomar decisiones en situaciones límite, sin importar lo que piense la gente o si eso implica hacerse a un lado de la sociedad: lo importante es cómo estén ellos mismos.

Se habla de la soledad, de lo complicado de las relaciones sociales y del poco...more
Maybe I am not young, but I found these "coming of age only with superpowers" to be... well, I thought so many of these people are idiots. Not "oh, they're children, they're so young and so fresh" -- they're just idiots.

Then again, I didn't think much of Romeo and Juliet either.
Nick Kives
12 different stories, and pretty much each one starts of and just seems like a normal story, then all of a sudden something will be revealed about the main character. I didn't know much about this, just that I really like the writer, and so far Brian Wood hasn't disappointed me.
best graphic novel of the year. i love this.
This was a rereading; I read the AiT/Planet Lar digest-sized collection before Vertigo republished this full size collection. I don't think the size made a difference, but it's always nice to see comic book art closer to its natural size (standard comic book art boards are much larger than a standard published comic book). These are very striking stories. Each chapter is a quick snapshot, yet there is deep character development. I'm still mulling over what some of them mean. They are haunting in...more
Paul Dinger
I can't say enough about this incredible series and book. I don't know what to like better, Brian Wood's incredible stories or Becky Cloonan's superlative artwork. Wood's stories are supposedly about people with super powers, but that is just a metaphor for people on the fringe, abandoned and alienated from a society that really doesn't care about them. There is only one happy ending, and that is the girl who learns that like her brother, she can't be killed. Everyone else just discovers that th...more
Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan collaborate to create a phenomenal graphic novel with the collection Demo. The twelve stories of people with unique "gifts" feels like a modern version of X-Men - all the tragedy that comes from being different but without the fancy costuming. As a result, Demo is all the better for it, grounding its characters in real life and making for a fantastic read. Here's a breif rundown of the 12 chapters:
1/NYC: Marie is on medication to control her explosive gift. Leaving w...more
Josephus FromPlacitas
Stories about teenagers and young adults that were a lot like hanging out with adolescents: equally rejuvenating and irritating. I'd say about half of the stories were creative and interesting and compelling, while the other half were trivial and obnoxious. Which is a pretty good average when you get down to it.

Artwise, I can't stand the manga face drawing style. Pointy chin, bubble eyes (I don't know how to verbally describe them, you know what I'm talking about), spiky hair, cheekbones symboli...more
Javier Alaniz
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fresh of my groove with the hardbound collection of his series Local, I’m now working my way through all of Brian Wood’s published work. Demo collects his twelve-issue series published earlier this decade by AiT/Planet Lar – whom I have never heard of – and which comprised twelve separate stories that revolve around the theme of coming-of-age. Remember those vulnerable years of being in your late teens and early twenties? Wood captures these moments through more than a dozens young adults – many...more
This is a series of short coming-of-age stories, some are end-of-life, some are more like continuing-age stories where the decision to stay the same is the conclusion the character assumes.

After the first story I began to read broodingly. The black and white images of Cloonan's manga-esque illustration put me in mind of Japanese characters that are so young but conflicted and have heavy weights, either perceived or real, pulling them into themselves, shaking their worlds and pushing them into gr...more
Eva "Rigby" Nyman
I picked up this book off the graphic novel shelf in my public library simply because I wanted to find more good graphic novels that I felt left a large enough impact to help me show some of my friends that graphic novels ARE IN FACT REAL BOOKS. And this was probably one of the best graphic novels I could've found.

DEMO is made up of 12 short stories that in the end all follow the same pattern. Most of the stories are about interesting, unsuspecting, and slightly peculiar people who each have a...more
Demo is beautiful yet suffers from what is in the corporate world performance management speak often referred to as "above average performance but lacks consistency".

Some stories deserve a 4 star and others a base 2 star (no 1 star here).

There are stories about exes and heartbreaks, stories about conflicts with parents, one's self and with what one has done and has to live with.

Teenage is a time when all of us - ALL of us make mistakes and some mistakes we are bold enough to reverse - others w...more
Though both Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan have arguably gone onto better things, this 12 story collection based around the theme of young people reaching a crossroads and making big decisions is worth checking out to see two comics creators at a stage in their careers when they were coming into their own. For Wood, Demo showcases the kind of writing that would eventually produce the wonderful Local. When at first I didn't warm to the opening story NYC, I feared I wasn't going to like the book so...more
There is a small list of comics that I can give all the credit of pushing me into the direction of making comics myself on my own terms and DEMO is the number one title on than list. During design school in 2004 I got back into comics after making friends with a fellow classmate. This was the third time in my life I picked the hobby back up. After bouncing around through a few superhero titles one winter night after class I ventured into the indie section of my comic shop and that's when I saw m...more
I chose this as my “Superhero” comic. I already read a fair amount of literary graphic novels and memoirs, but don’t gravitate to the Superhero side of things. In the past, I did enjoy The Doom Patrol because they were these wonderfully flawed superheroes. And I do know that I respond to Batman as an iconic figure, mainly because his back story, the murder of his parents, is so sad and so compelling. Demo is made up of 12 chapters about teens and early 20s characters, many of whom have troubling...more
This was inspiring and excellent! An amazing project. Brian Wood's explanation at the end helps contextualize the project, but I'm glad I read the stories before knowing too much about the creators' intentions.

I found myself not as big a fan of the art style when it drifted into manga, but that's probably a personal thing.

The only other complaint is the loose-hanging endings of several of the stories. Many of the stories wrap up nicely, but a few really feel like a loose end didn't get tied. B...more
Wood and Cloonan explore what it means to be different. Not just having different tastes in clothes or music, or having different dreams or desires, but truly unique and different. Each chapter is a vignette, a mini story, a glimpse into the life of someone with special powers or unique abilities. But these young men and women aren't superheroes or crusaders for justice, in the end, they are just people who deal with the same fears and concerns that everyone else does, except they are gifted (or...more
Ma Di
A dark and interesting series of vignettes about teens with super powers. Make no mistake - these ain't no X-men. Most of them were satisfying with the exception of the very last one, which smacked a bit too much like a Griffin Silver ode from Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise.
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