[Editor’s Note: This review was based on the comiXology digital version of “Demeter.”]
Becky Cloonan’s self-published “Demeter” a bittersweet and ultimately tragic tale of love, illustrated in stunning black, white, and grey, is available on Comixology this week and you should run (or the internet equivalent) to pick it up. “Demeter,” the third volume in an “unofficial” trilogy (meaning you don’t have to read the others two volumes to understand this one), is far more than meets the eye, standing up wonderfully to multiple reads, each revealing new and fascinating layers.
Cloonan’s black and white art work is stunning. Her characters and locations have an unheard of depth without ever becoming overwrought with fussy details. There’s a purity and simplicity in her execution that is truly exceptional. Cloonan’s line weights have an impeccable fluidity and her balance of black, white and grey is near perfection.
On the surface, Cloonan’s “Demeter” is simply a haunting and beautifully illustrated tale of love and loss, sacrifice and obligation, with magical and horror elements driving it. However, given the title of the piece and some of the visuals and plot elements, I believe Cloonan is actually doing something a little more layered. Using inspiration from the Demeter and Persephone myth at its core, “Demeter” speaks about sacrifice and obligation in fascinating ways.
I think what I enjoy most about “Demeter” is that the story works on both levels. If you want to see a beautiful but tragic love story play out and call it a day, you can, but if you prefer to look deeper and see hidden layers and old myths being explored you can do that too. Regardless, it’s well thought out and lovely work, just like Cloonan’s other two books in the “unofficial series” — “The Mire” and “Wolves” (both also available on Comixology).
While “Demeter” is currently available for the insanely low price of $0.99 on comiXology, the print version is available via Cloonan’s website. No matter what the format, I urge readers to pick up all three and spend some time immersed in Cloonan’s beautiful but haunting world, all for less than the price of your average superhero comic.