The new comic is 芋虫 [Imomushi - The Caterpillar], which will be an adaptation of the 1929 Edogawa Rampo short story of the same name. The Caterpillar is a haunting psychosexual tale of Lt. Sunaga, a disfigured and limbless veteran of WWI who returns home to his young and beautiful wife. Sunaga initially is given a hero's welcome, but is quickly forgotten and shunned because of his injuries. Unable to speak or care for himself, he is completely at the mercy of his wife as she grows to loathe and toy with him. There's more, but I'll leave it there for now.
Elements from Edogawa Rampo's original short story have already been seen in Suehiro Maruo illustrations and muzan-e works; Rampo's The Caterpillar was previously translated into English as part of the Edogawa Rampo short story collection, "Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination". (This is one of my absolute favorite books! If you have not read this book, YOU NEED TO GO BUY IT RIGHT NOW!)
Here is a first look at the June 2009 issue, and chapter one of Caterpillar by Suehiro Maruo x Edogawa Rampo:
I hadn't realized how thick each issue of COMIC BEAM is... The cover and spine are a thick matte with gorgeous color art.
Imomushi's stark and beautiful title page
Similar to Panorama-tou Kidan, Imomushi features a lush color two-page opening with a quote from Edogawa Rampo.
The comic starts slowly, with subtle depictions of rural life of 1920s Japan.
I was surprised that we see Lt. Sunaga depicted so quickly. As folks that have read the original short story remember, he can only communicate by blinking or writing with a pencil in his mouth.
Large doses of psycho-sexual drama (and some EXPLICIT depictions)
Look at those outdoor details!
Halfway through the chapter, Maruo jumps back to immediately after Lt. Sunaga's maining in the war.
A crowd scene on par with Maruo's infamous short story, Planet of the Jap
SO CREEPY! The panel and formal experimentation stuff in these Rampo adaptations are so exciting and refreshing to see.
The last panel from chapter 1, a stunning depiction of Tokiko's laying eyes on her deformed husband for the first time.