In many ways Hayden Fryer‘s Billy Demon Slayer is the embodiment of the Australian indie comics scene. It’s bold, edgy, tongue-in-cheek, unapologetically Australian and most importantly was born from a love of the comic medium. Also he has chainsaw hands.
Billy’s been alive and kicking for 10 years now – that’s longer than some marriages! – and this chainsaw wielding figure is a constant at Sydney pop culture conventions.
Set in the Sydney suburb of Walksville, the Billy Demon Slayer series chronicles the supernatural adventures of teenage Anti-Christ William Damon who spends most of his time fighting the minions of hell. After the first 5 issue story arc that was Billy Demon Slayer season 1 ended with Billy killing Satan, God and leaving heaven in flames, you could be forgiven for assuming Fryer hadn’t left himself anywhere to move storywise. You would be wrong though.
Season 2sees Billy unknowingly caught up in the grab for power taking place in hell, now known to its demonic denizens as Underworld, after the timely demise of the Devil in the first story arc. The book opens on the surprisingly serious ‘Blades of Marduk’ prelude and then this seriousness is completely shattered when issue #1 opens to a naked Billy accidentally being summoned by a group of cultists while he was taking a shower.Indeed this story is full of the haphazard humour that was so great about the first story arc. Even with the presence of Nibbles, the demonic hamster, Season 2 features a more serious and darker tone then than its predecessor. Everything has a surprising amount of emotional weight to it and the story is much less tongue in cheek. It’s somewhat of a new direction for the comic, but it works well and adds a longevity to the universe and character that were previously absent. Parallel to the writing, Fryer’s art has also evolved to become darker, more serious and just more fine-tuned in general. In many ways his art is reminiscent of Manga, featuring lots of shading and use of greys. His imagery is bold and has a distinctive semi-realistic/semi-comedic style to it.To call Billy Season 2 energetic would be an understatement. It’s faced paced, all action and in just 7 issues Fryer manages to deliver an epic multi-faceted storyline that Marvel would spread over 20! He really knows how to keep the reader interested.Overall I found Billy to be funny, original and not afraid to take risks when it comes to story direction, most of which pay off.
Christof Bogacs is a full time communications student at the University of Technology Sydney as well as a freelance writer. He currently writes reviews for Pop Cultured, Kapow comic book show as well as for his own blog Barely Original. Christof is also writing his own indie comic that may possibly even see the light of day in the distant future. You can follow Christof at his blog- http://barelyorigionalblog.blogspot.com.au/
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