Webcomics in review: Kill 6 Billion Demons – Go Big

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Allison is about to take the next step with her college boyfriend. It’s an already awkward situation, but it is made more so when a horde of demons teleports into her bedroom, kidnaps said boyfriend, and jams a key of immense power into her forehead teleporting her to a strange, terrifying new world. This world was once Heaven, but God is dead and in his place seven corrupt kings and queens, who have divided up the 777,777 existing earths, rule. Allison must now deal with warrior angels, fan-fic writing demons, and maniacal god-kings to save her boyfriend – even if he is kind of a creep.

Kill 6 Billion Demons is a New Weird webcomic, written and drawn by Tom Parkinson-Morgan. New Weird is the best genre description I could find for this comic. The world(s) of K6BD is a hodge-podge of religious iconography. It pulls from the weirder parts of Judeo Christian religions –these angels are not the white-winged Renaissance painting creatures we think of, but the Old Testament pillars of fire with piles of wings, faces and eyeballs – as well as Eastern iconography. The comic takes a little bit from everywhere, and is not a response to one particular religion, but rather the style of religious texts everywhere. This is demonstrated not just in the comic proper, but also in the supplementary material. In the archives there are two short stories that are a pastiche of religion parables, and the author often leaves excerpts from fictional books under page posts. There’s even a section called Liturgy on the site, as well as a wiki. The whole comic feels like a Comparative Religion professor wrote a metal album. Did I mention how metal this comic is? Partly because of its epic subject matter, and partly because of its huge, violent fight scenes, K6BD feels like it should be backed by some really intense drums. How metal is it? Here’s a panel of a fallen angel riding a skeleton laden motorcycle. That’s how metal.

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As the title implies, Kill 6 Billion Demons is a violent affair. It soon becomes apparent that the comic is going to follow a hit-list structure, like Lady Snowblood or Kill Bill, as we follow Allison’s quest to take out the 7 Kings and Queens and, most likely, another 599,999,993 demons. Instead of hopping cities or countries to accomplish her quest, Allison is going to hop worlds.

The conflicts of Kill 6 Billion Demons are on a huge scale, and everything in the comic feels appropriately big. This is accomplished by Parkinson-Morgan’s art. Parkinson-Morgan creates amazing establishing shots of massive alien landscapes. Huge structures feel huge, and each setting is populated with large crowds of diverse and interesting creatures. There are no generic character designs here. Every time the characters enter a new, crowded area it feels like going into Mos Eisley’s Cantina. What makes that scene in A New Hope so memorable and fantastic is the joy of possibility – all these strange people look interesting, even though we don’t know (and will probably never know) anything about them. Parkinson-Morgan captures that sense with amazingly cool looking tertiary characters. I would read a whole comic about the gun-witch bounty hunter that shows up every once in a while, and she’s only had about three lines.

demons2Parkinson-Morgan’s coloring helps these scenes not be confusing or overwhelming. The color makes the panoramas cohesive and easy to read. In the example above, you can see how the foreground crowd is drenched in blue (all essentially the same color), while the background (where our focus characters are) is in orange. That same orange is scattered in the foreground to make certain details pop and add a sense of cohesion.

Kill 6 Billion Demons was recently picked up by Image Comics and you can buy the first volume from them. I haven’t gotten a physical version yet, but I can imagine the double page spreads will look great. You can find the whole comic and supplemental material on the website. Kill 6 Billion Demons is updated Tuesdays and Fridays.

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