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‘Kill 6 Billion Demons’ is worldbuilding insanity

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An unassuming commoner is revealed to be the chosen one, teams up with a ragtag group of misfits and embarks on an epic journey, saving the kidnapped princess and liberating the kingdom from darkness and injustice to usher in an era of peace. Old hat right? Now, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Allison, a 20-something barista, is attempting to have awkward sex with her pushy boyfriend Zaid when a stampede of spike covered renegade angels teleport into her bedroom, proclaim her boyfriend the chosen one, and abduct him into another dimension. 

Swiftly after the abduction, the headless corpse of the former sovereign of the multiverse inserts a divine weapon of mass annihilation into Allison’s forehead. This transports her to the Red City, a lawless and cruel metropolis formerly known as heaven, situated at the center of the cosmos and constructed out of the corpses of dead gods. From there, Allison teams up with a cranky fanfiction writing devil and a brusk genderqueer angel, navigating a realm of ultra violence and dark magics, in order to rescue her lame boyfriend, vanquish the seven tyrannical god-kings who have conquered all of reality and maybe find love along the way. It’s a tale as old as time, except with every single element turned up past 11 so the dial breaks off and the speaker bursts into flames. If you haven’t been clued in yet, “Kill 6 Billion Demons” is one of the most iconic and remarkable fantasy epics this side of the multiverse. 

“Kill 6 Billion Demons” (K6BD) is an ongoing web comic written and illustrated by Tom Parkinson-Morgan, otherwise known as Abbadon. Read it. Now. I would describe it in more detail but that would be some sort of unforgivable cosmic sin. The comic is best experienced going in blind, deaf and dumb as its main virtue is how incredibly subversive and unique it makes each one of its fantasy elements. “K6BD” has a new and twisted take on almost every high fantasy stable: chosen ones, magic, angels, demons, dragons, goblins, witches, gods what have you. Every element of Abbadon’s world and story is so stuffed with polished imagination that reading this comic is liable to make a would-be writer self conscious about their own creative capacity. Trust me, I know from experience.

Every inch of The Red City and each of its 777,777 associated worlds is simmering with vibrant kaleidoscopic detail. Much of this sprouts from Abbadon’s artwork which blesses every passing figure caught by a panel with an expressive personality, palpable backstory and one of a kind character design. Some of his pages are so packed with detail and unspoken stories that I am amazed Abbadon has space in his mind for anything other than making his comic. And that is to say nothing of the world building. If you, like me, are the kind of lore junkie who likes to grind up fandom wikis and inject them directly into your veins, then “K6BD” is basically heroin. 

On a base of Judeo-Christian apocrypha, and with bricks of Hindu, Zoroastrian, Greek and Eastern philosophical influence, Abbadon has built his world a mythology of Silmarillion ambition. Reading his work feels like you are being indoctrinated into a new religion, one complete with holy texts and parables which are helpfully inserted underneath each page of the comic online. These additional sections contain prayers, holy passages, excerpts from histories, lessons from fighting manuals, popular sayings and even lyrics to children’s rhymes. Every street, relic, palace, order of knights, race, guild and minor character is draped in so much glimmering novel history and mysticism, that you feel like your drowning in the fantastical reality of the Red City, In conjunction with the “Liturgy” page of the comic’s website, the cultural lore explanation Abbadon’s tumblr page, and the “Concordance” on the wiki, the universe of “K6BD” feels like an apotheosis of world building.

Aside from the masterful lorecraft, “K6BD” also excels at crafting dynamic and instantaneously classic characters, specifically villains. Each one of the seven tyrants that poison the multiverse embodies their own unique brand of villainy, and each is given time to have their human flaws and blindingly bright personalities be painted in full. They endear themselves to us, though their crimes are beyond redemption, from the furiously prideful and pathetically self pitying witch Mottom, to the senile yet affable grandpa dragon Mammon, to the petulant dream-walking glitter god Incubus. This is to say nothing of the heroine herself, Allison, who goes from being a fish out of water trying to find her hubbie to striving to master her divine powers and become the inheritor of all creation for her own sake. 

This comic ripples with a reinvigorating energy and the story never remains still. Our heroes go from escaping an army of bounty hunters in a flying palace, to planning a bank heist with devils in order to slay a dragon to participating in a literal anime-style multiverse martial arts tournament. And through it all, despite how hard core and chaotic at title like “Kill 6 Billion Demons” would suggest (I swear you can hear a Mettalica soundtrack while reading this thing at times), the comic maintains a beating heart of lovable characters, positive queer representation, and personal betterment. So be the change I want to see in the world and read “Kill 6 Billion Demons.” Follow the path of Royalty, master the holy septagrammaton and reach heaven through violence my friends.

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