Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mulliga's 2020 Halloween Spectacular: Junji Ito Double Feature

Not even a seemingly endless global pandemic can cancel Halloween! As if 2020 wasn't scary enough, this year I am featuring my usual ghoulish assortment of posts.

Happy Halloween! Today, let's look at two surreal collections by Junji Ito, Japan's most prolific horror mangaka (to the point where people have to make lists of manga not created by him):

Fragments of Horror

Of the two anthologies, I liked Fragments of Horror better. While the book contains a few gonzo stories apparently designed for fans of Ito's intricate body horror artwork ("Futon" and "Dissection Girl"), there are also intricately-plotted supernatural stories like "Gentle Goodbye" and "Black Bird" that could easily be adapted into movies.

Venus in the Blindspot

The stories in Venus in the Blindspot are supposed to represent a "greatest hits" collection of Ito's short story work, but I found them a little hit and miss. My favorites are "The Enigma of Amigara Fault" and "The Licking Woman," mostly for their uncompromising refusal to explain themselves. Weird things happen in these stories and people die, but there's rarely a pat expository page about an ancient curse or spirit to wrap things up. 


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