So, last week I fucked up and started a tumblr. Anime + manga. Immediately, the compartmentalization of my life, which I’d cultivated for years, collapsed into a heaping mess of JPEGs. I mean, should I not be posting about Japanese...
So, last week I fucked up and started a tumblr. Anime + manga. Immediately, the compartmentalization of my life, which I’d cultivated for years, collapsed into a heaping mess of JPEGs. I mean, should I not be posting about Japanese stuff at the top of this column anymore?
On the other hand… we all still love Yoshikazu Ebisu, right? First seen in English via 1996′s Comics Underground Japan and rarely seen since, Ebisu is one of those artists who’s grasped a certain amount of mainstream renown in his homeland — Taiyo Matsumoto is an avowed fan — but mostly finds himself associated with ‘weird’ manga art in the west, particularly France, where Le Dernier cri recently featured him in an illustration collection titled (*sigh*) Kawaï Kencho Kintama.
That’s not where I found the image above, though; it’s actually part of a story, “Dirty Girl,” which was presented earlier this year en français by United Dead Artists — founded by Stéphane Blanquet, if I’m not mistaken — as part of a 36-page comic book-format(!) collection of pornographic works titled A sens unique. Probably *not* due from Diamond any time soon, but the €5 retail price makes it eminently importable.
Not content to simply smut it up, however, the oft-satirical Ebisu transforms the book into an apocalyptic depiction of male desire. “Dirty Girl” is merely the prelude, in which a creeper ‘reads’ a woman’s body language on the train as enticing him to ravage her – she then kicks his ass, and the man, inevitably, blames her for leading him on.
Soon, however, flying saucers are attacking. There are virtually no words in the second story, “La Jeune fille et le loup,” which finds a naked girl crawling from the wreckage of her post-bombing home. She has lost her parents. Soon, she is pursued by a hungry wolf, which knocks her to the ground and… chews the cheeks off her rear end, as lasers blaze from above. A gross fantasy? A fairy story’s warning against sexual activity transported to a (future) post-War setting? A parable of amoral masculine desire?
It’s quite difficult to say. “L’Homme à sens unique” rounds out the suite by pitting one man against one woman in a world of the dead, skeletons laying in spiked blue grass and shadowy aircraft roaring overhead. A man with an arrow on his back confronts a woman with worms erupting from her vagina on a straight purple road. In a reversal of “Dirty Girl,” the woman now seems desire the man’s enticement, but he is angry and repulsed. Is this the conclusion of male fears of female sexuality? “…tu es un homme plein de préjugés,” she declares, as the man sweats in her presence.
Certainly these works bear further examination, ideally coupled with additional Ebisu works; Comics Underground Japan co-translator Kevin Quigley cited to Ebisu’s “hapless and perverse salary men,” as manifestations of “a Swiftian horror and disgust with the world” characteristic of underground mangaka. From that, we might simply abridge the identification to ‘hapless and perverse men,’ alternately obsessed and disgusted with women, and doomed to fulfill their awful longings in only the bleakest circumstances. Not exactly sex-positive erotoca, but a sharp dispatch from a world that damns us for courting too many times a state of zero comprehension.
PLEASE NOTE: What follows is not a series of capsule reviews but an annotated selection of items listed by Diamond Comic Distributors for release to comic book retailers in North America on the particular Wednesday, or, in the event of a holiday or occurrence necessitating the close of UPS in a manner that would impact deliveries, Thursday, identified in the column title above. Not every listed item will necessarily arrive at every comic book retailer, in that s