"Are they gone yet?" asked Zombos, stretching his thin, long arm longer than he really should to reach the top of the Christmas tree. Precariously balancing the golden star of Bethlehem in one hand and the bright silver garland of hope in his other, he stood on tiptoes atop the ten-foot ladder, straining to reach the top of our vibrant green tree a scant few inches from his grasp. I suppose that's what faith is all about.
"No, not yet. They've started a bonfire on the north lawn," I said, looking out the window at the torch-wielding mob of angry holiday shoppers. They began chanting the same thing over and over again.
"What's that? What are they saying?"
"Give us more, give us more, give us more, and something about a dreidel," I told Zombos. "I think they want more gift ideas for the horror fans on their shopping list."
"Well, then, what are you waiting for? If they want more, give it to them."
"Alright, then. Manga will make them merry," I said, and got down to business.
Japanese horror manga, while similar to our comic book format, has been around for centuries. Heavily influenced in the past few decades by the atrocities of a world war, status competition, familial disaffection, and American culture, its illustrations and storylines can be grotesque and arabesque, or comically naughty, or a mix of all three with a dash of irony.
In no other manga series is the grotesque and arabesque displayed so poetically than in Junji Ito's Lovecraftian-styled confection of spiraling, out of control horror, Uzumaki, Volumes 1, 2 and 3. Combining absurdity, whimsy, terror and alienation in three volumes, it stands out as one of the most entertainingly creepy and original series of manga stories currently available.
The town of Kurozu-cho is beset by spirals spinning out of control into
the psyches and lives of the townspeople, bringing madness,
other-worldly change, and twirling, gruesome death. Whence the spirals came, and how the town is slowly being driven to destruction, is a reading experience not to be missed. Uzumaki was turned into an equally disquieting film in 2000.
High school student Kirie Goshima is witness to the ever widening madness and physical change that affects her classmates and the town's buildings. In these pages you will find a heady blend of black and white illustration and bizarre events best read with all the lights on. In Ito's manga universe, the natural laws of physics and biology warp into chaos, transforming the lives of his ordinary characters, inch by inch, until their existence becomes the horror.