2009-05-18 / 17:54 / dave
In running for this year’s “least expected link source” award, Jace from the mudd up blog recommended Ito Junji’s Uzumaki. It’s an amazing combination of Edward Gorey, H. P. Lovecraft and Twin Peaks: intricately inked depictions of horrific events occurring in a remote
Washington Japanese town. Unlike a lot of manga, Uzumaki has a plot and doesn’t waste time getting to it. It also has a surprisngly tender ending (kind of). For the cash strapped, you can always steal it.
2. Black Hole
It seems shallow to put two twisted supernatural horror comics before a tale about both the holocaust and the complications of a father-son relationship, but basically this list is in arbitrary order anyway. Not much to say that hasn’t been said already.
I feel like I should dismiss this as self-serving pretentious art crap (which is kind of how I felt about The Mother’s Mouth) but I really liked it. It’s about a maladjusted and self-deprecating 20-something and his dysfunctional/strangely-functional family. And it contains comic book sex.
I read it before the movie and thought it was pretty darn good. Then I read it after and the opinion was reinforced. In comparison to the movie, the movie ending seemed more realistic but the comic more believably portrayed the Nite Owl as a flabby middle aged dude with good tech. Remember in the movie where Nite Owl and Silk Spectre run down the jail hallway kicking rioting prisoner ass? In the book they punch two people.
Angsty teenage boy + hyper(sexual) older girl with guitar + robot = insane manga. Maybe it’s my ADD, but I found it totally addicting. Stepping out of conventional, FLCL also plays around with the comic format, changing animation styles and making fun of the genre. The movie‘s good too. Read it for free.
7. Fun Home
Another classic. Great despite inspiring a generation of ankh wearing goths. Astute readers might note that the photo is not comic artwork but a rendition of Tom Cruise as the Corinthian. Thanks, internet!
A sprawling psychological thriller, Monster is engrossing through all 162 chapters. I read it in two marathon sessions (to the detriment of everything else on my todo list). Its only faults are the near canonization of protagonist Dr. Kenzo Tenma and occasional meandering sidestories. Read it free.
10. Rurouni Kenshin
Apparently a classic in Japan, Rurouni Kenshin is part teen action, part romance, part history lesson and part bushido love-fest. Despite heavy doses of melodrama, overly-cute manga moments and typical samurai schlock, it’s an engrossing story. Unfortunately it also weighs in at 255 chapters. You can cheat by watching the movie, which tells the back story of titular protagonist Kenshin. Read it for free.
Gothic horror manga starring women with big swords. Claymore does an excellent job of creating mood. I found the plot kind of meandering in the middle, but it seems to have picked up. An ongoing series, it’s hard to say how it will end up. Read it free.