The horror (comics)! The horror (comics)! #8: Uzumaki
Back again from the world of horror comics. At first glance we appear to be harmless- like a simple spiral shape, but slowly we infect mind and body, much like this week's horror comic:
The city of Kurouzu-cho is plagued by spirals.
That is an odd sentence.
Uzumaki is an odd story- brilliant, but odd.
There are concepts in horror that, when you hear them, make you think: that really isn't going to work. I'm ashamed to admit that this was one of those for me. I was completely and utterly wrong. Long before finishing this wonderful, beguiling, hypnotic story, I was won over and since finishing it I have not been able to look at the spiral of a Danish pastry in the same way. I jest, of course, I haven't seen a Danish pastry since the whole pandemic kicked off...I really miss Danish pastries...
Not only is Junji Ito's storytelling brilliant, but his artwork is absolutely stunning- how can one person be so talented? Should they be allowed?
When Matt set me Uzumaki as a homework on the podcast I was amazed that it had been adapted for film and I've been holding off watching it because I cannot see how this could have been done successfully. I'm also not sure if a film adaptation is needed.
Reading Uzumaki is a visceral experience- at least, it was for me. When a scar on a girl's head is corrupted and warps into a spiral that engulfs her entire face, I felt this unsettling sensation of being creeped out and unable to stop reading. One of the things that makes Uzumaki so effective is that the horror starts off in small, everyday details which (forgive me) spiral into images and events that you don't expect. It gets under your skin and refuses to let go.
I'm late to the party on Uzumaki. Since it came out in 1998-1999, the film adaptation was released in 2000 and Adult Swim announced last year that they would be working on a mini series. I think the fact that people keep returning to the source material shows how effective and powerful it is and if the sound of stunning, creepy, intelligent, Manga body horror floats your boat, then you need Uzumaki in your life.
Next up in our exploration of horror comics, we continue our look back to the gargantuan work: