A Year of Free Comics: Inspiration is a Monster in Joy San’s Daemon

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It’s been a while since I’ve written anything for the Beat’s A Year of Free Comics feature. My brain tripped a while back and I’ve had a hard time writing, or even thinking about comics. I thought it would be good then to look at a comic that deals with inspiration, the lack of it and the difficulty in creating. Joy San’s Daemon then is a perfect starting point.

In Daemon, a woman is so struck by inspiration that she’s unable to sleep and decides to work all night. The problem is she’s unable to come up with anything. Ultimately, she’s too engaged to sleep. Joy San posits that this double edged sword may be inspiration, but also, perhaps something more insidious. Depicted as a kind of demon, it’s more akin to bipolar disorder or perhaps even depression. She’s feeling extremely motivated and creative, like her mind is hyperactive until it crashes and she’s no longer able to work. Like the joy and energy has been drained from her. It’s something I’ve experienced this past year as I’m struggling with depression. This intense drive to write and be creative followed by these periods of feeling worthless and useless. Joy San captures a lot of complex emotions in a such a short comic. It’s interesting to see San examine a creative urge and how it can transforms from something positive to something a bit more difficult to understand.

Joy San’s work is interesting to follow. Daemon is a short comic, but her site contains a multitude of other work, all of which are worth a read. I quite enjoy how she manages to use watercolours in her work, but also how she can create these very ambiguous and dark stories. Siopao Queen, who is also available on her website is a neat little look at self-image and feelings of worth based on someone’s look.

You can go and read Joy San’s Daemon as well as other comics on her website. You can also follow Joy on Twitter, Instagram or Youtube. You can also support her on Patreon or by visiting her online store.

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