I’m not sure what possessed to request this graphic novel – I haven’t been reading a lot of graphic novels lately, and I’m not a fan of the manga style of art, but there was something in the description that caught my attention, and I’m so glad it did!
Tombs: Junji Ito Story Collection is a graphic ‘novel’ collection of short stories by Junji Ito. The author/artist’s name means nothing to me but might to dedicated graphic novel or manga readers. What I found, though, were nine wonderfully dark, often creepy, always twisted, stories.
We start with the titular story, “Tombs,” which really sets the tone for the book, letting the reader know that things are going to be a bit weird as we enter a town where tombstone markers are everywhere – even in the middle of the streets. The tombs grow where people died.
The stories all have this dark, Twilight Zone vibe. Some are incredibly dark, bloody, and creepy, like “The Strange Tale of the Tunnel” and “The Bloody Story of Shirosuna”. Some gave me the shivers, like “Slug Girl” and “Washed Ashore”. But at least a couple of them (“The Window Next Door” and “Bronze Statue”) were a little too obvious for me.
In general, as I was reading through this, I felt that 15 year old me would have been absolutely crazy for something this ‘creative’ and unusual. I loved reading (and seeing) ‘the impossible’ and if it was dark and creepy I liked it even more. This harkens back to the old Eerie and Creepy magazines but the art style appeals more to Gen Zers and Millennials.
I’m still not a fan of this style of art (I love B&W art, but I’d rather see Gene Colan, Gray Morrow, or Neal Adams than Junji Ito, Osamu Tezuka, or Eichiro Oda), but in general I wasn’t put off by this (there were times that it bothered me more than others).
I should also note, as I have before, that as someone who does not read typically read manga, reading from right to left does not come naturally and I was a few pages in, wondering why this wasn’t making sense, before I remembered how I needed to read this. And every subsequent page I needed to consciously make the effort to remind myself how to read the page.
This collection includes:
“The Window Next Door”
“The Strange Tale of the Tunnel”
“The Bloody Story of Shirosuna”
Looking for a good book? Fans of dark, weird stories (think Creepy Magazine for those of you over 50), the graphic novel Tombs, by Junji Ito, is a delightfully macabre collection of tales.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Tombs: Junji Ito Story Collection
author: Junji Ito
artist: Junji Ito
publisher: VIZ Media LLC
hardcover, 344 pages