For this paper, I read the graphic novel, One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry. Barry’s novel is similar to Kochalka’s series, American Elf since her life is the main plot and focus. Like the title, Barry divulges into instances from her life that could be considered a demon, or something negative. For example, the first demon she discussed was about her first love and how much he differed from one of her boyfriends. This was considered a demon to her because of how he treated her and how she felt better off without him. In a way, this novel is Barry’s method of expressing her negative moments and sharing them to the public. Not only does this graphic novel encourage others to speak about their demons, Barry is healing herself from her negative experiences while sharing them so others can relate to her story.
The front cover of One Hundred Demons reflects the art style and subject matter of the graphic novel. Designed in a scrapbook like fashion, Barry has an array of colors and medias that make up the front cover. A reader can see a collage of paintings, glitter, photographs, scraps of paper, lace, string and ink that give the cover a disorganized feel. Like the rest of the novel, the art functions as a collection of memories thrown together. The cover follows a color scheme that is used throughout the book as background colors and colors frequently used in the illustrations.
The inside of the book is similar to the cover with the expression of Barry’s imagination. In the first few pages, the collage-esque theme is continued with the use of mixed medias to design each page. The colors; orange, purple, green, and pink are used in these illustrations and for the background covers. On the borders of these pages are doodles of monsters and animals. This clash demonstrates Barry’s childhood innocence and the negative experiences she endured.
The structure of this graphic novel is fluid and diverse. The front cover, the title of each chapter, and a few pages in between, have the collage/scrapbook type style. The actual chapters and strips are more uniform and structured. Each page had 4 panels and each chapter was 12 pages long. Collaborating with the chapter title pages, the background of each chapter matched. For example, if the title chapter pages had a color scheme of green, then the actual chapter had green backgrounds to fill the space in between panels. This method makes each chapter, or situation, more isolated in comparison to the other chapters.
Plot wise, each chapter wasn’t in chronological order, but told by the instance. By isolating each story, it continues with the scrapbook theme and tone by explaining each situation in moments. Traditionally, when organizing a scrapbook or a memory book, one goes about this by picking out key memories or putting them in chronological order. Putting them in chronological order can be confusing when telling a story, fiction or non-fiction in the way Barry does, since too much information will be told without a real purpose. Barry’s structure organizes her life experiences in such a way that her readers will be able to understand her demons and how they affected her.