Sorry about the delayed blog — technical difficulties. Yesterday, as you hopefully noticed, we published a great, feature-length Joe McCulloch review of Junji Ito’s Fragments of Horror. Here’s an excerpt, but really if you are at all interested in manga or horror, read the whole thing:
First, the elementary. Every story in this book deals with an encounter with a character who represents the horrific. Perhaps they are supernatural. Perhaps they are merely eccentric. Perhaps there is a scientific explanation for everything that happens, and the “character” is merely an expression of some fevered and guilt mind. What is important is that they are all blatant and disquieting impositions on the common expectation for order. Also, all of the horrific characters, i.e. those given primacy over supplemental ghouls or spirits or beasties or doodles, are depicted as female. They are a diverse lot, with vivid faces and unique bodily characteristics. In contrast — at least in the seven stories prepared for Nemuki+ — Itō draws the women among his protagonists as variations on a Standard Female Character, as if the same exhausted actress has been given different haircuts for individual shoots in which she is playing essentially the same role.
She always exists in proximity to a man, and that man always betrays her.
Twice, the woman is named Madoka, and the man is named Tomio. In “Futon”, the story that caused Itō and his editor such grief, Tomio is most often shown buried under the eponymous bedding, babbling to Madoka, the household’s sole provider, about dark spirits that only he can see. Four pages later, Madoka is seeing them too, menaced on her own futon by all manner of viral ghouls and infectious devils, purportedly led into the house by a nude witch with a curvy skin tail: Tomio’s extramarital lover! The heroine flees, returning a month later to find her man barely alive and fused to the bedding with hallucinogenic mold; as it turns out, the syphilitic sorceress was only a product of Tomio’s guilt over fucking (or just intending to fuck) a presumably non-diabolical partner – a misogynistic scapegoat at which he could point his finger while the rot of his infidelity tainted dear Madoka as well.
And today, we have a new episode of Mike Dawson’s TCJ Talkies podcast, this time featuring two great cartoonists, Tom Hart and Dylan Horrocks, discussing Joe Chiapetta’s Silly Daddy.
—News. Delcourt just signed a major deal to bring translated comics to Comixology.
—Reviews & Commentary. For TNR, Jeet Heer writes about Chris Oliveros and Drawn & Quarterly.
Colin Smith reviews Kiki De Montparnasse.
Hillary Brown reviews Sylvie Rancourt’s Melody.
—Interviews & Profiles. Time magazine talks to Kate Beaton.
Priceonomics profiles Dan Piraro.
—Misc. The entire print run of ’70s punk magazine Slash is now online, and you can find a lot of early Gary Panter work inside.
The Paris Review on Stanley Mouse.
Tom Tomorrow has a Kickstarter.