Friday, October 21, 2005

Ten Books To Read For Halloween: #10

In honor of Halloween's approach, I will be counting down ten comics that I feel people should read at such a time. The titles may not all include monsters, but rather suspense, or they may include monsters, but aren't really very scary, but I think it's a good, appropriate mix of goodies. Now, I haven't read a lot of the old EC Comics or the Essentials of Tomb of Dracula or Frankenstein's Monster, or even Black Hole from this past week, but given what I have read, I think I've put together a pretty damn good list of modern titles to thrill and amaze. I have read plenty of comics, after all, and I do gravitate toward the horror titles, being a fan of slasher films and thriller novels growing up. My favorite horror movies, to get completely off-topic are The Blair Witch Project, The Ring, The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the first three of which actually hindered my sleep after first viewing them. But anyway, without further adieu, the first of my ten comics (of which I will list one each day up until All Hallow's Eve)...

10. Uzumaki by Junji Ito
Junji Ito is a master of horror in Japan. Known for his Tomie series as well as the Uzumaki series that made the top ten, Ito has been thrilling manga fans with his tales of terror since he got a short story published in the shojo manga horror magazine Gekkan Halloween. Uzumaki tells the story of a small town on Japan's coastline that is plagued by images of uzumaki (spirals). They appear everywhere: seashells, dirt devils, whirlpools, eventually manifesting themselves in works of art and even upon people's bodies. Residents of Kurozu-cho are slowly growing insane by the sight of uzumaki as they become obsessed, and the earth itself seems to conspire to destroy its people using this device to mesmerize people to their deaths. The uzumaki is something that you can't escape - it appears everywhere. It kind of reminds me of a film I saw where a serial killer would enter someone's apartment and move little things around that only they would notice, enough to make them uneasy at first, then causing a sort of panic that others don't seem to understand. But anyways, Uzumaki has this sense of dread permeating the entire length of the book, dotted with scenes of the over-the-top grotesque images that I think a lot of horror manga is known for. Just sick, disgusting images. It's great. If anyone's interested, a live-action Uzumaki is available through Netflix, and there are two Tomie films out there as well.

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