The Devil’s Executive: Should You Be Reading ‘Brain Damage’?
With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
So you find out you’re sick. Like, really sick. And then a guy pops up in your home saying he’s a demon here to talk to you about some business before you die. This is the bleak scenario facing protagonist Anthea Chambers in Mikaela B.'s dark comedy Brain Damage.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Brain Damage follows Anthea Chambers, a high-powered business woman with work problems, love problems, and health problems. She's got far too much work but she's too important to the company to take time off. She's seeing someone she works with, which is never a good idea. And she's got these awful, awful headaches that she's self-medicating with painkillers, to no avail.
Anthea's undergoing extensive tests to find out the cause of her debilitating headaches when a demon named Cyril shows up. He’s a representative of H.E.L.L. Inc., here to guide Anthea into the afterlife, because it turns out those headaches are the result of a brain tumor. But Anthea’s a tough lady, and she’s not buying it. No demon hallucination is going to tell her what to do.
The thing is, he really is a demon. And he's not going away. Not until his business with Anthea is done, anyway. Cyril might be a demon, but he's good at his job, thank you very much. But how can Anthea just accept that she's going to die?
WHO’S IT BY?
Brain Damage is written and illustrated by Mikaela Buckley, aka Mikaela B. In addition to creating Brain Damage, Buckley is also the official artist for the Penumbra Podcast.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Brain Damage is dark. When you meet Anthea, she’s dealing with an incredibly demanding job, the glass ceiling, a workplace relationship with a guy who’s terrified of her, excruciating headaches, a doctor who prevaricates… It’s a lot to handle. Buckley makes us feel this by having page after page without dialogue; we’re forced to look closely at each panel, each face.
The comic gets funnier when Cyril joins the cast, but it’s a dark humor. Cyril’s there because Anthea’s going to die, and this is no big deal for him --- it’s his job, so what does he care? They’re both so stubborn that there are many fun moments with one of them trying to get the other to break.
Buckley does great work with the art, making it very kinetic even when there’s very little in the way of traditional comic action. It’s mostly set in Anthea’s office and home, but you can feel the pace of Anthea’s life through the art.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Anyone who likes gallows humor. Anyone who wants to know what happens when we die. Anyone who likes sassy demons.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
You can read Brain Damage on Tapastic and support its creation on Patreon. The series launched in June 2015, with a planned ending in sight.