Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Black Paradox by Junji Ito

My holiday is over and it's back to the same old. I actually really like my "same old". It includes lots of comics, cooking, a bit of beer now and then, not to mention a sexy man to come home to at the end of a long day at the office. Not bad really. This holiday I got a bit of reading done which I wasn't altogether sure I'd be able to do. As it happens, I found a few translated Junji Ito stories online that I hadn't already read. Love it when that happens. Only a fraction of Ito's work has been translated into English and made it into to print. Mostly by the good people at Darkhorse who have a knack for choosing manga to release in North America. They are also responsible for bringing us Eden: It's An Endless World by Hiroki Endo.

Sadly I've only seen this book translated into French but The Black Paradox is outstanding and I'd love to get my hands on a copy in English. Until then, I'm stuck reading all new Ito online and coincidentally, so are you. There are plenty of decent places to find it though so I thought I'd be sweet and share with you openawesome's link.

The Black Paradox centers around a group of four who meet online and form a suicide pact. Each suffering from their own condition, they share their stories and choose to end it all when things go horribly wrong. As with most Ito stories, one character remains firmly gripped to reality and horrified at the events which unfold while others are sucked into the nightmare, accepting the horror. Paranoia is one of Ito's greatest tools. As the only sane character struggles to make other's see what is wrong in the situation, they also suffer from paranoia and wonder if they have gone mad with the whole world. 

This story differs from many of Ito's work in the end. I won't spoil it but simply state that it doesn't end on quite the doom and gloom that things normally end on. As this is a much longer story comprised of six chapters, you can compare it more easily to that of Gyo and Uzemaki. Yet the ending didn't leave me filled with dread or hopelessness. 

Ito has utilized many of his favorite eerie tools in this story. As typical, the master of body gore manages to creep us out with horrifying exploding bodies and disunited jaws. He also includes a bit of familiar mechanical horror as well not unlike Gyo. Some of my favorite Ito includes the mad scientist routine. 

This story was originally released with two bonus stories. The Licking Woman and The Mystery Pavilion. The first being very typical Ito and the second is a sort of surprise. I really do hope this is released in the near future as I'd love to add it to my very small Ito collection which comprises only of Uzemaki and Gyo due to the fact that no one ever releases anything here. 

The other day I found a picture of Ito on tumblr where he was at a book signing. I had a day dream that I got to meet him and ask how he imagines all these stories and how horror makes him feel. For me, horror is essential to keeping myself balanced. The supernatural and existentialism in Ito's inspires me to think outside of the box when I'm writing where anything can be horrific. Think I'll have to do some writing tonight.