Do you like the Twilight Zone? Do you enjoy horror movies? Do you like mischievous half-human observers who set off events of mutilation, transformation and dismemberment?
Then you will like today’s giveaway, CAT-EYED BOY Volume 1 by Japanese Horror master Kazuo Umezu. OF this volume AICN wrote:
The manga offers an inclusive look at oddities and monstrosities. Opening on a creaky, mildew stained mansion, the manga closes in on the attic, then, on a pitch shadow in the attic, and in this shadow lurks a pair of cat eyes. When the view is eye ball to eyeball, laughter springs out of the darkness, and the Cat Eyed Boy introduces himself and addresses the reader as a co-conspirator. “Wherever I appear, something frightening happens. It must be that terror summons me. I hope nothing happens in this mansion.” This devil child offers a participatory point of view of events that trade on anxiety, repulsion and fascination. The perspective seeks out the weird and disturbing, as if the world was a rock that could be turned over in order to spy on the creepy crawlies underneath. And though the Cat Eyed Boy is indomitable, beaten and berated, he continues to willfully endure, the manga pings the reader’s uncertainty about their own monstrous nature. It plays to our fear that our parents aren’t our parents, and rather than scientists from Krypton, our true parents are really menacing outcasts. It plays to our fear that our flaws are glaring, uncorrectable and ultimately fatal. For an older reader, and given the grisly imagery of the manga, most of its North American readers are going to be older, the nervousness and the excitement recalled by this mix amounts to a child-like but not juvenile experience.
This is the second J-Pop classic I’ve done as a giveaway, and the reason is simple: these books should be much more popular in America than they are. Whatever yuo think you don’t like about manga — girly, hard to read, trivial — that is not the case with Umezu. This is just great comics by a master just hitting his stride.
Email your NAME and your ADDRESS to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6 pm
tomorrow (Thursday) when another giveaway goes up! US and Canada only, sorry!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.