Drawn in Circles

Filed under Link, News

First, a little publicity:
If you’re in or around Madison, be sure to check out some of my drawings at the State Street Gallery show.

Here’s an interview with the editor emeritus of Nature, who passed away recently.  Fascinating ideas about probing into the human brain using notions of fear, as well as all the other questions science has been probing lately.

Finally, speaking of fear and bizzare ideas, yesterday I read a horror comic called “Uzumaki” (“Spiral”) by Junji Ito.  It’s wormed its way into my mind and laid eggs, so I’m going to talk them out of my brain and get on with my business.  It’s a story about a town that is cursed by, well, spiral shapes, which act like a kind of contagion, slowly destroying the town and its inhabitants. On the surface this sounds irredeemably silly, but Ito has a knack for atmospherics that makes you believe these shapes have the supernatural power to make people go mad, or mutate into grotesque monsters, or kill each other and themselves in a variety of creatively gruesome ways.  The story follows a high school couple, and we see the events through their eyes as people are warped or killed by a kind of invisible, Lovecraftian personification of “spiral-ness” itself – as the story goes on, the pattern loses all its ordinary connotations and becomes a kind of character as well,  which appears in and corrupts everything it can.  Even the blades of grass begin to curl.  I’m not normally that interested in horror, but this has a kind of surreal, apocalyptic feel that propels it above the normal gore and scares.  Ito  draws beautifully, too, if sometimes a little clumsily, in a subtle, noir-ish way that augments the strangeness of the story. In the end, not to give too much away, the town is obliterated, but it seems like the fate of the villagers isn’t too terrible considering the events up to that point; they at least seem to end up in a kind of off-brand Nirvana, which is rendered exquisitely across a two-page spread.  Nothing about the curse or its origin is explained, beyond a basic “spirals exist to mesmerize, and so want desperately to be looked at.” – For mere humans, in this case, there is no answer.  Definitely recommended.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 15, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I watched the movie for this a few years back, it was definitely weird (especially with the Japanese production values).

    You should check out the 2 volume manga Gyo that Ito did, it’s an awesome story, and the 2nd volume has two short stories at the end that are amazing (one that’s very creepy and one that’s darkly humorous).

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