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Demo: The Collection (Demo #1)

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,450 Ratings  ·  159 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, 288 pages
Published December 20th 2005 by AIT Planet Lar (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 24, 2015 Gavin rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
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Did you like DMZ or Northlanders? This ain't either one of those, and you should put this book down and walk away.

This should be called Slit your Wrists: A Teenage Guide to how cool it is to kill yourself.

These collection of 12 stories are mostly depressing, very downer, and if this was the first Brian Wood stuff I'd read, I'd never read another word.

I understand some of it is supposed to be about defining moments from adolescence, and how moments shape people, but honestly? Every one of these
Sep 09, 2014 Keith rated it it was ok
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
Jun 19, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
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
May 06, 2013 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing
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
Peter Derk
Oct 01, 2011 Peter Derk rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
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
Nov 17, 2015 Cathy rated it it was ok
Some time ago I’ve read “Local” from Brian Wood. I really enjoyed it, so I was disappointed with this book. “Demo” is a short stories collection of miserable teens. Some of them are in love, others are trying to find a way of life and most of them have some kind of power.
I think the author was trying to give some profound meaning to all this, but he kind of missed the point. I didn’t felt connected to any particular character. I actually found them quite superficial. The plot was a mix of overd
Mar 25, 2008 Sheila rated it liked it
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.
Jul 08, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2012 Lucy rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
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
Matt Graupman
Oct 05, 2015 Matt Graupman rated it really liked it
At this point, the whole idea of what-would-it-be-like-if-real-people-had-superpowers is, in my opinion, a pretty tired trope. However, the omnibus edition of Brian Wood' and Becky Cloonan's "Demo" is interesting because it collects the first twelve issues from 2003 (when the idea was still fresh) and the final six issues from 2011 (when the creators had matured and refined their abilities). Wood, though sometimes a bit too melancholic, has a knack for writing gripping, ambiguous morality tales ...more
Feb 26, 2016 Monique rated it it was ok
Demo reads a lot like a short story collection, but not a particularly good one.

This is not Becky Cloonan's strongest work. I like that she tried different styles for different stories, depending on their tone, but it never looked very good to me. It all looked messy and unpolished. But it does work well enough, and I appreciate that she was willing to try different things.

Brian Wood's writing is a bit lackluster. The characters and the dialogue came off as shallow. There were a few intriguing
Sep 14, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it
The summary of this book wasn't even close to what I read. It was a lot darker than what I expected (downright depressing at times) and the few cute/lighter issues were not enough to lift the mood above the hard-to-read line. I was expecting an X-Men kind of vibe, which this anthology couldn't have been further from. It wasn't bad, but definitely wouldn't qualify as "good" to me either
Miguel Jiménez
Jan 16, 2014 Miguel Jiménez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historias-cortas
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
Aug 29, 2013 Will rated it liked it
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
Nov 25, 2011 Nick Kives rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 23, 2008 Anina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels, teen
best graphic novel of the year. i love this.
Aug 14, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nick D
When I started this short story collection I was sure it would be an easy 5-star book. The stories, Emmy, One Shot Don't Miss, Mixtape, and a couple more really stood out to me as brilliant, poetic, and thought-provoking. I really enjoyed the stories that were about teens struggling to find their place in the world while having superhuman abilities. As the collection went on, the superpowers were fazed out and it just became about relationships, life, and all that junk. It was still good, but it ...more
Robert Hudder
Nov 14, 2015 Robert Hudder rated it really liked it
Twelve stories of youth with... The opening dialogue "Hey, you ever get this weird feeling that you're different somehow?" and the last story ends with "Mon dernier jour avec toi and I'll be with you forever."

The stories all cover that time in life when you start to realize that you have actual agency. Many of us forget that over time but this brings that right out using young adults as the foil. I really liked the stories that often hinge around special powers but it really could have been any
Paul Dinger
Mar 29, 2009 Paul Dinger rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2012 M rated it it was amazing
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
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
Javier Alaniz
Oct 27, 2011 Javier Alaniz rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2009 Erik rated it liked it
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
Jun 20, 2011 Julian rated it really liked it
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
Eva "Rigby" Nyman
Apr 11, 2013 Eva "Rigby" Nyman rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2013 Subroto rated it liked it
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
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Multiple Eisner Award-nominee Brian Wood released his first series, Channel Zero, to considerable critical acclaim in 1997 and has gone on to create hard-hitting original series such as DMZ, Northlanders, The Couriers, and The Massive. He’s also written some of the biggest titles in pop culture, with work on Star Wars, Conan The Barbarian, Lord Of The Rings and The X-Men. He lives with his wife an ...more
More about Brian Wood...

Other Books in the Series

Demo (2 books)
  • Demo, Vol. 2

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