Uzumaki: Volume 1: Junji Ito
This may be the only time I recommend Manga, only because if there is one thing us web nerds try to force on people, it is our love of Manga, and I won’t do that to you guys. I will say that this is one of the creepiest stories I have ever read, easily one of the most insane, and just oozing with originality throughout its entirety. It is also pretty damn creepy.
Uzumaki is a story about a town being haunted by spirals. While that idea may seem shallow and silly, it is taken to some absolute extremes, and some of the visuals and ideas in this story will really stick with you. There is this scene with an eyeball in the book, where this girls head opens up and swallows her eyeball into a spiral, all while she stands there, emotionless. Though it is not particularly gory, it is a very effective moment, and something about the visuals of the scene have stayed with me since the first time I read it.
Yup, that’s it. That is the “head swallows eyeball in a spiral” scene that flickers through my subconscious every night when I try to sleep.
While there is no denying that the book is strange, there is a sort of Twin Peaks madness to the people who inhabit this town, and what is happening to them. Wow, I have brought David Lynch up twice. I write movie lists, I compare them to comics. I make comic lists, I compare them to movies. Odd how my mind works.
Uzumaki is told like a soap opera, with cliff hanger scenes between volumes. And every time something insane happens, you think they have reached the apex of weird. Then you get the next volume and something even weirder happens.
Pay extra attention for “snail boy” because the way he looks will eat away at your soul.
It is like the video in The Ring. I have to show this to you, so it will no longer haunt me.
By the way, Uzumaki was made into a live action film, and somehow, it is not that bad. Actually, comparatively to the book, it sucks. Stick with the source material and read the books. The movie is only enjoyable if you are on drugs, and we all know, drugs are bad, mmmKay?
Locke and Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft: Joe Hill
When I heard Joe Hill this was Stephen King’s son and he had made a horror comic set in a New England town called Lovecraft, I was both intrigued and apprehensive. Intrigued, because, well, horror has to run in his blood, after all.
But apprehensive because a New England town named Lovecraft just sounded too much like something his Dad would have written, so that threw me off. Luckily, my cool Uncle ( we all have one ) bought me the first graphic novel, and I was immediately hooked.
From the artwork to the imagination involved, this book is close to perfect.
As much fantasy as it is horror, the book tells the story of the Locke family, who move to Lovecraft after an untimely and unforseen tragedy, involving the death of their father, a school teacher, under some terrible circumstances. The new home they move to, though, has more in store for them than they can possibly imagine.
Wait, that sounded like a trite ghost story.
And they move into a house that seems to have more secrets than they do.
Ok, that sounded like a cheesy B-movie tagline.
Ok, let me try again. The long and the short, they have different keys to different doors in the house, and the doors are actually portals to different dimensions and different powers, and each new book tends to focus on new keys and new doors. SO while one chapter may involve dead people and a serial killer, another invovles the Locke children going through a door that makes them into their spirit animals. Ah, that sounds better.
Strange, yes. But brilliantly weaved and wonderfully illustrated, it is like a Narnia for a new generation. With way more death, and a few less religious metaphors.
And though I need to recommend the entire series, start with Welcome to Lovecraft and be prepared to be drawn in to this world, hook, line and sinker. Oh, and some serious props for the artwork of Gabriel Rodriguez, whose thick line work and expressive faces almost evoke a Pixar vibe. Pixar as fed through the King lens.
I would want to live in this world, if there was less eyeball stabbings.
And in a move of utter stupidity, FOX passed on an incredibly well made pilot for the series. Anyone who has read the books can tell you , this trailer was pitch perfect with the book, and if my eyes never get to see this in its entirety, I will be a very sad Remy.
Kickstarter to fund this series, please? Here, take my money.
Sweet Tooth: Post apocalyptic trip about a boy with antlers, trying to make sense of a dying world. Amazing book.
Chew: A detective who gets psychic impressions from eating things. And sometimes, eating people. Funny, cool and original.
Y the Last Man: Great series that fell a little short on the ending, but still warrants a read before Hollywood ruins it.
Fables: Before shows like Grimm stole the idea of fairy tales living in the modern world, Fables did it first, and Fables did it better.
PopBot. Ashley Wood is a God of mine. Pick up PopBot (or anything with his name attached) and find out why.
Anytime I mistake myself for an artist, I look at some Ashley Wood art and go weep in a corner.