Demon of the Underground

Creator/s: Shobana "Bob" Appavu
Run: 10/11-current
Schedule: M/Th

Website: It has a gothic theme done in pencil that goes great with the comic's style. The layout of the site's also very professional-looking.

Now, get this: Demon of the Underground actually has its own full deck of illustrated playing cards people can buy. Is that cool or what?

The site has a ton of extra information, illustrations, voting incentives, and an elaborate blog. The creator also posts commentary and other tidbits beneath each strip. This is no doubt a very impressive website.

Lastly, the creator's been posting pages at a great pace and is currently updating twice a week, which is outstanding for a comic with such detailed artwork.

Writing: Woah, I get to praise the writing this time! Sweet! Thanks, Demon of the Underground!

Okay, so, yeah, this comic's writing's really good. Y'know how I've writing lately that stories need to have a good balance between drama and plot? Well, here's a comic that does it right. Demon of the Underground is a dark and serious comic, but it also has a lot of humor in it, and this humor goes a long way towards letting the story do its thing. Strange how that works, innit?

The main character, Pogo, is amusingly conceited and frank, and I think it's terrific that the protagonist in the comic's so blatantly flawed. I like seeing this approach a lot more than I like seeing bland characters like Mary Sues, which seem to be a lot more common. One of my favorite authors, Chuck Palahniuk, fills all his novels with characters who are twisted and immoral, and while Palahniuk's novels might be overly cynical, they're definitely edgy and engaging. I also appreciate how some details about Pogo, like that's he's gay and he's a thief, are shown through the context of the story rather than overtly explained. (Well, technically, the about page says he's "omni-sexual" rather than gay.) As silly as it might sound, I think a lot of less competent writers would have their character say something essentially like, y'know, "Hi, I'm Pogo, I like men and stealing things," and this is clearly an inferior way of getting that information across.

Pogo also has a mysterious, dark past, and might possibly be some kind of demon (hence the comic's title); compare the ambiguous approach this comic takes for its demonic character to the overt approach I criticized in my review of the demon-protagonist webcomic Strange Investigations. Mystery's a huge asset for a serial production like webcomics, and you can clearly see this in how so many serial comics and TV shows end their episodes in cliffhangers, as well as the prevalence of "who dunnit?" shows.

There's also a lot of action and tension in the comic, and these are some examples of the kinds of dramatic elements I described as being absent in the last several comics I've reviewed. The scenes where Pogo appears to be screwed are particularly tense and engaging. The comic never lets itself get too serious, though, and I found the mix of serious parts and silly parts to be very enjoyable to read.

Art: And if you thought I gave the writing a lot of love, check out the art! It's freakin' terrific, that's what it is. Go back to my review of Strange Investigations, and take all the good stuff I said about the artwork there and pretend I said it about this comic too.

Overall: I think this creator has a good shot at being a professional cartoonist sometime in the near future. I highly recommend reading Demon of the Underground now while it doesn't cost anything.


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