Friday, April 01, 2005


Hino Horror volume 1: The Red Snake

Hino Horror volume 1: The Red Snake
Story and art by: Hideshi Hino

Hideshi Hino has apparently released over two hundred volumes of manga in his thirty year career. That’s six or seven 200 pages volumes a year. That’s like 50 American comics a year. That’s a number I can’t even understand. He’s also directed like nine films that just sound fucking creepy from their descriptions on imdb.

I’ve know about him for several years as he is apparently a major influence of Junji Ito, who’s comic Uzumaki is one of the best horror anythings I’ve read or seen in the last few years. It’s really amazing, go read it.

Anyway, I was curious about Hino’s work, he was supposed to be really good and is regarded as Japan’s master of horror comics. I wasn’t new to his work though. I’d read one of his works that was released in the early 90’s. Hellbaby was a pretty neat book, not as good as Ito’s stuff, but it wasn’t really in the same genre of horror. It was still good though.

So when Hino’s books started getting published here I was curious about them. There’s already fifteen out with more on the way. They seem to have stopped publishing two a month for the moment though (talk about flooding the market). I think the main problem with these books is that some of them are probably regarded as extremely excellent, while others are merely good. Unfortunately it’s not particularly easy to find out which is which

It’s sort of interesting to note that the company publishing these books is actually based in Japan. I wonder if that will become the way that manga companies release their stuff in North America. No more CMX controversies that way.

I started reading with the first book, and really it was only by chance that I started with this one as it was lying around in Rodney’s house and I borrowed it. The story is really pretty bizarre. It’s about a kid in this giant house that he can’t seem to escape. His family is all insane, his dad raises chickens so that he can give the eggs to his grandmother who thinks she’s a chicken and lays eggs. Meanwhile his grandfather has this giant growth on his face and he has it massaged with more eggs by his mom who also squeezes pus out of it.

Then things get weirder. It’s a pretty gross book. But it’s still really good. There’s a really bizarre dream logic that goes on in the book. The main character accepts what’s happening but is horrified at the same time, and the way the plot moves makes it seem like something that could happen in a dream. The art is really good, not really what you’d expect from a horror comic perhaps (and especially not a North American horror comic), but it works for the type of story it’s telling.
Based upon this and Hellbaby I’ll be checking more of these out. In fact I’ve already got volume three, so I’ll be reviewing that soon.

Coming soon: Review of Hino Horror volume 3: Oninbo and the Bugs from Hell (and maybe others, some of these sound awesome!).

Links: Check out all the Hino Horror books that are out so far. Read the reviews of Za ginipiggu 2: Chiniku no hana and discover why Charlie Sheen reported the movie to the FBI.

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