Demon Volume 1 by Jason Shiga. First Second, 2016. 9781626724525.
Demon Volume 2 by Jason Shiga. First Second, 2017. 9781626724532.
Demon Volume 3 by Jason Shiga. First Second, 2017. 9781626724549.
(The 4th volume will complete the series.)
The pitch: A completely immortal protagonist repeatedly kills himself to escape a government agency, live the good life, and keep his family safe.
I’m a huge fan of Shiga’s comics. (Bookhunter remains my favorite.) He’s enthusiastic and unflappable and just one of the nicest and most creative comics people I’ve ever met. When I interviewed him with my daughter back in 2011, he told me about Demon:
“The cover has Jimmy, the main character from Meanwhile. You open the book and there’s Jimmy at a desk where he’s writing. He’s just writing and writing for eight panels. Then it looks like he’s getting up, and then you see his feet moving off the ground. And you’re like, “Wow, he’s flying!” But then you turn the page and he’s hanged himself. And you’re like, ‘What? Jimmy!’”
And that’s exactly how the story starts. But Jimmy can’t die. He wakes up in the same room after hanging himself, slitting his wrists, and then blowing his brains out with a gun. (His wife and daughter were killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, and suicide seems like his best option after he botched a plan to avenge their deaths.) After his last unsuccessful suicide attempt he finds himself in a hospital. A young woman whom he doesn’t know, but who says she’s his daughter, takes him home to a house he’s never seen before. Is he in a movie like It’s a Wonderful Life? Is he dead? Why does the answering machine at his real home still have his voice on it?
(Warning: minor spoilers ahead.) The answer is super weird: Jimmy is a demon. When he dies he moves into the closest living person’s body. There’s a government agency that knows the truth and wants to use his powers for its own ends. (His method of escaping is as disgusting as it is funny.) And it’s likely that his daughter inherited his powers and is out there in the world, somewhere. (That’s the pitch for about the middle of Volume 2. But the insanity keeps going.)