Friday, May 15, 2009


I just read some very exciting news from Suehiro Matuo's site. Maruo announced that his latest comic will begin serialization in the anthology COMIC BEAM, starting with the current June 2009 issue. That issue came out in Japan on May 12, and features a cover illustration by Maruo.

The new comic is 芋虫 [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.

It sounds like this will be another collaborative project working in tandem with the Rampo estate, like Maruo's loving and beautiful adaptation of Panorama-tou Kidan.

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!)

Exciting news for Maruo/Rampo fans! I will be heading to Kinokuniya to try and get a copy reserved, and post more as I hear it.

UPDATE: Just got myself talked into a 6-month subscription to COMIC BEAM at Kinokuniya in SF. Will be picking it up in person each month starting with the June issue, SCORE! I also added a bigger image to this post.


Azraelito said...

first of all

brilliant news!!fan of maruo!!

rampo I didnt read anything .(!!!I always read that he is consider the edgar allan poe of japan!!

apart from that Incredible and outstanding cover!!

Great to have Maruo doing things and not only covers or artbook!!

did you read the sequel of doing time of kazuichi hanawa? it is called after prison I think!!is it good??

saludos and also to evan

keep up the good work!!

from borges land

Brendan said...

That cover is so good..

Is this possibly a new translation project for you guys, Ryan? *Puppy dog eyes* Story sounds amazing!

Ryan S said...

@Azraelito: Yes, very exciting to see him tackle a new comic again so soon... I wonder if it will end up book length again or be a shorter story?

I haven't read that Hanawa book--- I really enjoy Doing Time, it was super different than what I was expecting. Saludos, as always!

@Brendan: Naw, this comic hasn't even come out in Japanese yet!
It is a great story-- you should be able to check out a least a few pages at the link in the post. I strongly recommend that book, if you can get it on Amazon or at a used shop :)

Anonymous said...

Oh how wonderful. I've never read the story, really. But I do remember watching the short in Rampo Noir and I can't wait to see Maruo's take! Thanks for the good news!

Ryan S said...

@saihara: Oh, that's right! This story is depicted as one of the shorts in Rampo Noir. Evan keeps trying to get me to watch the movie but I still haven't, whoops!

Did you enjoy the movie?

Anonymous said...

The film is actually quite good! There's some nice build up from the first and last segment. It doesn't feel like it held back either. It wasn't as gory as I expected, but still pretty decent. My favorite has got to be Crawling Bugs though, it just ended so wonderfully and some images were stuck in my head for a few nights. ;)

I'm not sure if you've seen the trailer but here 'ya go:

Ryan S said...

@saihara: Thanks for the link-- I'm excited to see it finally. I think the one I'm most looking forward to is the silent(?) one, The Canals of Mars

Shinya Tsukamoto took liberties with the story, but basically adapted Gemini from a Rampo short story called Twins.

zytroop said...

I like what Maruo has grown into, I've always thought thought of him as a pretty poor writer and leaning on Rampo for structure and inspiration seems like a smart move. His lines are so fucking clean now, miles from what he did back in the eighties.

Ryan S said...

@zytroop: I agree pretty directly with your take on Maruo's progress. If you've seen Panorama Island you know that he really flourishes when decoupled from the responsibility of jarring and shocking the reader.

The line work in the book is ridiculously elegant, especially in the opening color pages. I feel really excited when I see his newest efforts in composition and lines... It's like he can get at some of the cleanness and romanticism of his paintings without having to get all jagged and punk.

Rampo is a great writer for him to hang his hat on (as somebody described it)-- I'm interested in where this goes.

I wonder if Maruo would ever attempt a proper adaptation of Kyusaku's Dogura Magura :)

bittermelon said...

Umm, amazing?! I can't wait to peruse your copy (of course). I'm sure you'll bring it as show and tell to one of our gatherings, I hope? Also, psychosexual stories with an amputee = classic Maruo, right? I love it.

Ryan S said...

@bittermelon: Definitely! The June issue came out this week in Japan, Kinokuniya says mine should show up within a couple more weeks.

I'll keep you posted!

Laika said...

Oh boy. Late to this show but... Been a couple of weeks since it was available so I'm guessing kino must've gotten it to you by now and you've read the first chapter of it. If you aren't gonna work on it as a project maybe you can make some raw scans available? Otherwise I guess I may just be forced to purchase Comic Beam as well.

Ryan S said...

@Laika: Hey, thanks for the comment! Funny you comment today, I just got a postcard from Kinokuniya to let me know the first issue of my subscription (this one) is now available for pick-up :) I'm gonna go get it today.

If by project, you mean a scanlation-- no, we won't be doing that. I don't really make/post raw scans of stuff, but I will definitely take pictures and try to post a few page that way :)

Unknown said...

awesome sauce. rampo's one of my faves.

Ryan S said...

@morningstar: Rampo's the best :)