Venus in the Blind Spot is the latest collection of horror stories by manga artist and writer Junji Ito to be published in English by VIZ media. Marketed as a “best of” collection of stories by the author, there is a common thread throughout each of them related to compulsions and/or utter fixation. Included is the fan-favourite story “The Enigma of Amigara Fault,” previously included in the deluxe hardcover of Gyo, with some bonus colour panels/pages featured in that story and others, unique to this collection. While the majority are Ito original stories, this collection is noteworthy for including a few stories by other authors, which Ito has adapted. Additionally included are a colour poster and gallery of art featuring the subjects of some of his other famous works not included in the collection, which can be removed and displayed if the reader so chooses.Read More »
Through the Woods is a comic book collection of short horror stories written and illustrated by Emily Carroll. Each of the five tales touches upon death, transformation, and brushes with the forces of the abyss that are the unknown in our world. Three girls receive strange visitations after their father fails to return from a hunt, a young man is troubled by the return of his brother, whom he killed, a young woman learns the value of telling stories about monsters, and more. Each bears with it the motif of the woods, an enchanting yet dangerous place where such strange things can come from.Read More »
Age of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians by Ricardo Delgado is the fourth book in the author’s graphic novel series fictionalizing the lives of the great behemoths that once dominated our world: the dinosaurs. Set in the swamps of Cretaceous Africa, a region that would become Egypt millions of years later, the story follows a lone Spinosaurus (Spinosaurus Aegypticus) who wanders into a territory teeming with hungry scavengers, vicious predators, and vindictive herbivores who don’t take being prey without a fight. Serving as a sort of prehistoric anti-hero, the Spinosaurus is a force to be reckoned with and his arrival in the environment brings the conflict between these feuding parties violently to a head.Read More »
Bloodborne: The Veil, Torn Asunder by Aleš Kot, Piotr Kowalski, & Brad Simpson is the fourth volume in the comic book series based on the Bloodborne action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware. Like its predecessors by the same creative team, this book is largely a standalone story. It follows Yarem, a self-styled adventurer, who has traveled to the city of Yharnam to uncover something he believes to be truth; that the nightmarish visions he occasionally suffers from are not the product of his sick mind, but rather glimpses into a reality overlapping with the human world. Reading an overlooked page in an old tome, which he understands while reading but can never recall the words of, he embarks upon a strange journey that throws all of reality into question.
I do get into some of my own interpretations here, which some may consider spoilers. If you care about that, you have been warned.
No Longer Human is the most recent book by manga creator Junji Ito to be translated and published in English. It adapts the famous novel of the same name originally authored by Osamu Dazai. The literal translation of the Japanese title is “Disqualified from Being Human.” Set in Pre-WWII Japan, the story follows the life of Yozo Oba, the son of a prominent family who deals with existential anxiety and a deep disconnection with what seems to make other people happy. He deals with this problem from a young age, playing the clown to keep his anxieties hidden from other people. Suffering abuses at home and worried that a classmate has discovered his charade, his life begins a gradual spiral out of control, succumbing to substance abuse, debauchery, and his own declining sanity as he gets older.Read More »
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill is a unique volume in the series, serving as a bridge between volumes two and three. Far removed from the late Victorian era of the previous volumes, this book takes place in England in the 1950s. The government of Big Brother had been in control of the country following the Second World War, but has since been ousted and the country is in a state of transition. Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain, inexplicably young after all the years since we last saw them, sneak into their old headquarters to steal the titular Black Dossier in order to discern what military intelligence knows about their activities. With it secured they must flee the country, MI6 agents in hot pursuit.Read More »
A Song of Crows by Aleš Kot (writer), Piotr Kowalski (artist), and Brad Simpson (colourist) is the third graphic novel adapting the world of the video game Bloodborne, a horror action-RPG developed by FromSoftware. This is the first book in the series to feature a character from the video game as the main character. Eileen the Crow is a Hunter in Yharnam with a unique duty: hunting down other Hunters who have succumbed to the blood they imbibe and lost their minds. During the course of her duties she comes across a butchered Hunter whose remains are arranged to reflect a ritual she finds disturbingly reflective of a practice from her home in foreign parts. In search of the perpetrator, she embarks upon a mind-bending journey that has her confront the ghosts that haunt her past.Read More »
Sabrina is a 2018 fiction graphic novel by Nick Drnaso, and the first ever graphic novel to make it to the longlist for the Man Booker prize. A young woman named Sabrina Gallo goes missing in Chicago, leaving her family and boyfriend, Teddy, distraught. After a month with no sign of Sabrina, her sister Sandra struggles to cope, while a grieving Teddy goes to stay with his friend Calvin in Colorado. Not long after this, VHS tapes are released to the media depicting Sabrina’s murder. The killer is identified as Timmy Yancey, who is found to have killed himself in his home after sending out the tapes. As the atrocity goes through the 24-hour news cycle and the video surfaces online the situation devolves into rampant speculation about what really happened and harassment of those associated with the victim.Read More »
The Healing Thirst by Aleš Kot (writer), Piotr Kowalski (artist), and Brad Simpson (colourist) is the second graphic novel adapting the world of the video game Bloodborne, a horror action-RPG developed by FromSoftware. This volume tells a story that stands alone from its predecessor, about a healer and scientist named Alfredius and a priest of the Healing Church named Clement who form an unlikely friendship while Yharnam slowly succumbs to plague all around them. The beastly scourge—an illness that turns humans into beasts akin to werewolves—is becoming more and more prominent. Meanwhile, another mysterious sickness known as Ashen Blood is laying waste to the population as well. The two pool their resources together to uncover the source of these ailments in hopes of discovering a cure.Read More »
Smashed is the newest English translation collection of short horror stories by manga artist Junji Ito, bringing together 13 chilling tales. Most of them are one-shot stories, with the exception of trio that focus around a strange haunted house attraction that pops up in abandoned buildings near the outskirts of towns, charging outrageous prices but promising to scare you out of your wits. I didn’t know much about the stories collected in this book going in. I saw there was a new collection coming out, and that’s pretty much all that was needed to get me to commit to picking it up.Read More »