Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Box Man

The Box Man
Drawn and Quarterly

I'll be honest with you guys. I've read a lot of strange things in my time, and I think I have a better handle on some of the oddities of Japanese manga than most, but...

this book is fucking weird.

A man drives a scooter while carrying a box on his back. He is accompanied by some sort of cat/turtle thing (it looks kind of like a cat, but has a shell... the back cover compares it to a mollusk, but it looked more like a turtle to me.) He is chased by monsters and the police. At one point a monster decapitates one policeman, then castrates another. At the end, the man arrives at the Sea of Decadence, where he leaves his father -- who has been acting strangely ever since his lower body became that of a crustacean, and who the man was carrying in the aforementioned box. The end.

Seriously? What. The. Fuck?

Don't get me wrong. I really liked this. The art is solid, especially the background and landscapes, and manga-ka Imiri Sakabashira does a good job of keeping the story going despite the odd happenings and the almost total lack of dialogue.

But still. I mean... really. Click on the cover above and you can find a 16-page PDF preview to see what I'm talking about. Be warned that it is probably Not Safe For Work. I think.

People bandy about the word 'surreal' a lot these days, and sometimes it leaves me feeling like Inigo Montoya. But The Box Man -- The Box Man is the real deal. It was like reading one of Rick Veitch's Rare Bit Fiends comics, without the narration, and focused through a completely different cultural lens.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quick New Reads: Swamp Thing #4, X-Club #1

Swamp Thing #1 (Feb 2012)
Ongoing Series
DC Comics

The reintroduction of Alec Holland into the mainstream DC Universe continues on apace. I felt this issue wasn't as strong as the previous one, going by a little too quickly, but it's still an engaging story, and a series I recommend.

#1 (Feb 2012)
Limited Series
Marvel Comics

The Previews blurb for this series caught my eye, with its emphasis on SCIENCE and the like, so I decided to pick it up, even though I haven't been a big X-people reader in a long, long time. Like the Swamp Thing issue, I think this went by too quickly; there were some nice touches to it, but overall I think the characters are a shade too abrasive and the plot a titch too undefined at present. A good plot hook could draw me in even though I wasn't too keen on the characters, while compelling characters could make me come back next issue to see the actual plot develop. Unfortunately, neither really took hold, and I don't think I'll be back, at least not at cover price.

I wonder if I would've been more satisfied if I'd picked up the new Defenders series instead.