Let’s Get Metaphysical

(Soundtrack: Bikini Kill– The First Two Records)

The protagonist of Wood and Cloonan’s Demo is subjectivity itself–which is the only “power” any of us actually possess. Each issue features a new character struggling to shed the halo of egoism–to stage-dive out of that spotlight into the crowd of otherness. And the price of failing to believe in the reality of those people out there is a broken face.

The quirks of personal biography are legion, but subjectivity is always the same–a source of infinite power that casts a shadow upon everything we see. That’s modern life: there’s no place prepared for us–or if there is, as in issue #4–it feels like a sham. Nobody “fits in” anywhere because there’s nothing to fit into. We sculpt “structures” out of the cell-blocks of our own alienation. Every kid in suburbia thinks everyone else is a faded cypher. But there’s really no one to fight with. We have more power to affect the world than most of us really want–most notably, we have the power to recognize, unilaterally, the legitimacy of all those other mutants out there. By fashioning the web of intersubjectivity into a cape, we become, to update Dickens, the heroes of each others’ own lives.

So far, we haven’t seen any of that in Demo–we’ve seen waves of solipsism rise and fall upon the sea of self-consciousness. In issue #5, we met a character marked by a morbidly enlightening awareness of the way others perceive her, but even this nascent “double consciousness” drowns in the wishing-well of obsession. Is there land in sight? We’ll see!

Good Night Friends!

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