Census #1 – Comixology Originals
Census #1 brings is a horror comedy about accounting for all the supernatural beings living in the real world. Liam Malone thinks he’s found himself a pretty good job for a poly-sci major, but it might just cost him his soul. Census #1 is written by Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman, illustrated and coloured by Sebastián Piriz, and lettered by Bernardo Brice.
- Written by Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman
- Illustrated and Coloured by Sebastián Piriz
- Lettered by Bernardo Brice
Census #1 is being published by Amazon’s Comixology Originals, and is available digitally on Comixology from September 13, 2022.
Census #1 Story
Census #1 starts strong, as we found ourselves with a half-naked and rather concerned looking Liam tied to a bed surrounded by three evidently demonic women as he laments how he ended up in the situation. We get both the horror and the comedy immediately in this first page, quickly and easily setting the stage for the tone going forward. This page also nicely echoes the ‘you’re probably wondering how I got here’ trope that has cropped up in so many comedies (and memes) over the years.
I really enjoy how everyday the supernatural elements are in this, what appears to be anyway, rather regular modern day world. We next see Liam waiting for an interview alongside a guy who is, at the very least, not human, and the conversation about why the guy has a hole in his head is very casual and feels reminiscent of interactions I’ve seen around people with tattoos or other forms of body modification.
There’s a really enjoyable ‘slice-of-life’ kind of flow to the story. Things do ramp up in terms of stakes and comedy, we have to learn how he ended up tied to the bed after all, but otherwise it all feels very, for lack of a better term, normal. Liam needed a job and he found one.
Certainly there are parts of this job that aren’t quite what anyone in the real world would expect, but they also honestly feel like how a job would be in a world with demons and djinn and other supernatural beings. You can already expect your boss to try and shake some extra overtime hours out of you, if they had the chance it wouldn’t be surprising to also learn they want your soul.
This first issue leaves me very curious to see where it goes, and not only just to find out how Liam copes with his job. We’ve seen worlds with supernatural beings a bunch of times before, but, for me at least, this one feels rather fresh. I’m incredibly curious to see it explored further and to see what else is in it. Perhaps the fact that the core premise, of taking a census of supernatural beings, lends itself to explore so many different sides of that world is why it feels so enjoyable to me.
I want to see where that premise can take us. I also want to see the characters get more fleshed out, as what we get in the first issue is a nice tease of so much potential.
Census #1 Art
Piriz’s art is an interesting choice for this story. Nothing here is particularly over the top or exaggerated in any way that makes it feel absurd. This is a story that works best if you believe, at least at a glance, that this world is real and works. The more subdued actions of the characters help to sell that, and even the supernatural beings themselves are, on the whole, rather subtle in terms of what makes them supernatural.
At least for this first issue. We do get a reference to beings such as dragons so I expect things to move further away at some point, but for the first issue the way they’re depicted helps a great deal in helping us accept this world.
One particular choice I really liked in this issue is in one point that a character mouths the words ‘say yes’. Now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that such an action is difficult to portray in comics (so almost never shows up). The clever trick used here is to have the words spelt out upon the character’s lips, as if written in the light reflected off them.
It’s a very simple solution that works rather well, even if it does still require a character to give context to what is specifically happening (I did at first think she literally spelt the words on her lips, which isn’t so strange in a world of supernatural beings).
I also like that in this issue the colours are largely kept rather subdued for the most part, lending itself to this ‘drab’ real life feel. It’s only in the more overtly supernatural moments that this shifts and the colours become more distinct and vibrant, adding a real magical flair to these elements.
Check Out Census #1
If you want to get to counting supernatural beings with Liam then make sure you grab Census #1. Census #1 is available on Comixology from September 13, 2022.