The big joke is that, though he'd hate to admit it, the appalling faux demon Krauser is as much a part of Soichi as his regular girly/man day self. Soichi's unwillingness to be open about his show biz creation makes Krauser an even more formidable figure in his life. Visiting his kid brother Toshihiko back on the family farm, for instance, he learns the boy's fannish adulation of the creature has led to his turning into a young delinquent. ("My music," Soichi thinks, "has wrought chaos on this family!") Instead of just telling the boy that Krauser isn't real, he dons the character's costume and makeup and convinces Toshihiko that doing family chores and studying will make him a better Agent of Evil.
Wakasugi's art has a loose alt comics look that's well suited to this broad material. He's especially fun capturing the awkward Soichi in poses that emphasize his geekiness and contrasting this with the strutting, self-assured Krauser. In DSMC, the pop geeks blush becomingly and stand stiffly and modestly, while the death metal types thrust themselves with aggressive abandon. Though the manga writer/artist states that he's musically more attuned to the sweet stuff than the hard core, the latter is obviously more fun for him to draw.
Volume One contains 12 stories, plus a bonus throwaway gag centered on Death Records' president. A few of the earliest pieces can get repetitious, our whiny hero bemoaning his role as Krauser one too many times, but once Soichi begins his comically erratic relationship with Aikawa, the book picks up steam and gets you rooting for its hapless Romeo. As a humorous dissection of the evergreen fight between day-to-day existence and art, between commerce and creative expression, Detroit Metal City nails its subjects with cheerful offensiveness. I'm thinking if the anime adaptation ever shows up on Adult Swim, they're gonna have to do a hell of a lot of bleeping.