By Christopher Sebela, Niko Walter and Dan Brown

Christopher Sebela (High Crimes) is a comic book reviewer’s dream come true. He’s on point 100% of the time with the projects he chooses and the way in which he writes them. His dialogue is real, his action sharp and thus, Sebela’s books feel branded by a guy who knows exactly how to write for comics. His new book over at Image/Skybound, Demonic, is no exception. Based on an idea by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), Sebela crafts a cop drama with a sharp left turn into demonic horror. There’s definitely more than meets the eye and, without giving anything away, there’s reference to stuff that has clearly come before. We’re filled in, here and there, but one could assume there’s a hefty flashback sequence coming sooner than later. What starts off as a story about a police detective with his own personal drama, on the job and at home, quickly becomes, well, a bloodbath. It’s gonna be good, horror fans, so make sure and grab issue one while it’s still on the stands and tune in for issue two next month.

Sebela makes no attempt at keeping his influences secret, nor should he, and even elaborates on them in the back of the first issue via a short essay on the topic. If you like supplemental material that speaks to the process then don’t close the book early and keep reading. Inspirations aside, Demonic is original and holds its own in both crime and horror genres. Influences should be filtered as much as possible and Sebela let’s his motivation flow onto the page in a way that reminds us of the things we like while creating a refreshing sense of newness.

Niko Walter (The Accelerators) is a terrific artistic choice for this book. His inks are so well done you have to wonder if he forgoes the penciling stage. He makes it look easy by using just the right strokes to imply the perfect balance of light and shadow depending on a panel’s content. Excuse the comparison, but Niko Walter’s art is sort of like Sean Phillips (Criminal) just with a greater sense of order, which makes for wonderfully legible storytelling. Quiet moments – of which there are few here – feel as such, right up until you realize it’s a set up for mayhem and violence.

Appropriately colored by Dan Brown (The Ultimates) with palettes, shading and textures that essentially stain the artwork rather than render it. That’s not meant to sound insulting because this book, at its core, is dirty and as of issue one it’s already proving hard to find someone to root for. Brown makes all the right moves with a storyline of this caliber to the point where the scenes between the horrific moments feel equally disturbing. It’s a skill to be able to find the right tone, but it’s a sign of a genuine master to be able to maintain that tone throughout and Dan Brown is clearly up for the job.

Thanks to the writing and art, Demonic #1 is a truly gratifying experience whether you can allow yourself to relax or not. Great book, great team. Don’t miss this new series!



About The Author Matthew Strackbein

Matt Strackbein was born and raised in Maryland but has called Colorado home for the last 17 years where he lives happily in Longmont with his wife. He began reading comic books at the age of seven after discovering a silver age stash in his grandparents’ attic. Comic books inspired Matt to start drawing, which lead to a successful career as a commercial artist. He has worked in the apparel industry for many years as a production artist and designer. His accomplishments include designing backcountry skiwear for world-class athletes as well as downhill ski race suit designs for the 2014 Winter Olympics for the United States and Canadian national ski teams. Matt currently works as a freelance textile-print designer, but still dedicates time to his first love – comics. With over 200 letters to the editor published, Matt is a known letterhack. He self-publishes autobiographical comics about his struggles to break into the industry, which finally paid off when Dark Horse asked him to produce 2-page back up stories in recent issues of B.P.R.D. Besides his own comics, Matt collaborates on independent books as a colorist and letterer. He also teaches the art of making comics to students of all ages.