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.