Culture

The Third Panel: Godspeed You! Child Of Black Yis – Kill 6 Billion Demons

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Welcome to The Third Panel. Every other week, Alex dispels the myth that comics are only about superheroes by sharing comics books, graphic novels, and webcomics that are off the beaten path.

So, some background on Kill 6 Billion Demons: it’s a webcomic that started off as an illustrated, crowd-sourced CYOA (choose your own adventure, for the uninitiated) story on the MS Paint Adventures message boards (readable starting here, NSFW [but then again if you are at work what are you doing reading this insightful column about comics?! File some TPS reports!]). The story itself started in April of 2012, and the webcomic went up about a year later.

What’s it about? Well that’s…a loaded question. It’s about a lot of things: the omniverse, dead gods, demons, and angels. But it starts off with a young lady just tryin’ to punch her v-card. Right as things are about to get hot and heavy, a heavily wounded extraplanar entity speaking an eldritch language beyond human ken comes in and totally ruins the moment. Long story short, a horde of masked devils arrives to behead the aforementioned Peeping Tom and abscond with our heroine’s boyfriend, but not before she gets a key lodged in her forehead that transports her to Throne, the kingdom of God and the final resting place of all 777,777 of God’s children.

Got all that? Good!

Oh, and by the way, this is what Throne looks like.

While in Throne, our heroine (who gives her name as Allison sometime in the second chapter) helps an angel named “82 White Chain Born In Emptiness Returns To Subdue Evil” (no, really), a peacekeeper who happens to have run afoul of a gangster named Preem Vash. Since this comic is fairly new, that’s about all the plot information we’ve got right now.

One of the things I really love about K6BD is how it handles its cosmogyny – a made-up word I stole from a former professor to talk about how the creation of the world comes about in a fantasy story. Basically there was one God, Yisun, who both always and never existed, and Yisun became tired of such a circular existence, committed suicide, and birthed two gods: White Un, Master Of All That Is Not, and Black Yis, Master Of All That Is. The coupling of these two gods gave rise to their 777,777 children, all of whom created life and told a story to the cosmos. First off, I love how completely off-the-wall bonkers that is: It’s like Hindu legend mixing with H.P. Lovecraft and the most bizarre smattering of philosophy I’ve ever encountered, and I love how sweeping its scope is.

Another thing I absolutely adore about this comic is how amazing so many of the designs are. There’s a portion when Allison and her angel friend (not typing the name out again, nope no sir!) where they’re waiting for the bus, but the bus is a giant demon piloted by smaller demons. I just love all the detail that’s put into these ostensibly throwaway characters (my personal favorite is the conductor wearing the diving bell!). There’s just a lot of charm to the designs here, in a way that reminds me of a slightly more madcap Miyazaki and that is one of the best phrases I’ve gotten to write all day.

Finally, I love how ambitious the scope of K6BD is: remember how at the beginning of this review, I talked about how it started off as a crowd-sourced CYOA? Well guess what: that’s still a thing. Every so often a page will have a note from Ys-Voya, a deity who thinks she is a collection of birds—or vice versa. Ys-Voya can’t remember too well, so she asks the readers of the comic to fill her in on some of the details of the events that haven’t happened yet. This is one of the best uses of the webcomic medium I’ve ever seen—a story that engages the readers directly and asks for their input is something you could only do on the Internet.

I’ve only known about this comic for about a week, and it’s quickly becoming one of my most frequently checked reads. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the backstory of the cosmos is hidden in the comments below each comic—if you’re not being vigilant about it, you might miss something really interesting, or in the case of the city ordinances against dead people, just something really funny. I’m being completely honest when I say I have no idea where Kill 6 Billion Demons is going, but I can’t wait to find out.