Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Get excited ya'll,, Suehiro Maruo's newest comic has begun serialization in the monthly magazine COMIC BEAM. The first chapter premiered in the June 2009 issue, and I've just picked up my copy at our local Kinokuniya in San Francisco. Let me tell you, it's beautiful and awesome. (The issue also features the newest chapter of SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko, a short by Yoshida Sensha, and outsider SF stuff by Sugiura Shigeru. From my previous post on the new Maruo:
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.


Anonymous said...

Looks great! Can't wait to get this for my collection.

johnny l said...

I really enjoyed this story. Maruo has always been good at blurring the line between nationalistic glory and the grotesque, and with some of the spreads here he's outdone even himself at it.

jimpac said...

Wow. Words can't even describe how gorgeous Maruo's artwork is. I mean, he's always been impressive but his recent works (ie. this and Panorama Island)are beyond great.
Someone NEEDS to licence these for release in English speaking countries... come on, seriously now!
(obviously this title won't get an English release anytime soon, what with it only just having begun serialisation in Japan, but what's with no one jumping on Panorama Island?!?)

Ryan S said...

@gea: It's beautiful! I can send you Xeroxes if you get desperate in the meantime :)

@johnny: Nationalism = Grot

@jimpac: The panel and layout stuff he is doing is extremely elegant. I especially love the last half of the first chapter.

As for the rest of what you wrote: Interesting thoughts.

Joseph Luster said...

Man, that looks incredible. Also, I need to emphasize what a cool name for an anthology COMIC BEAM is.

Anonymous said...

Not certain if this is frowned upon, but for those desperate souls who wish to see it, here's at least some jpeg's of it. thanks to an anonymous soul on gurochan...


Ryan S said...

If people wanna go that route, it's easy to find. I won't be hosting or scanning raws here-- and I will say that I strongly hope that folks don't scanlate the new Maruo projects. We never did anything longer than a short story, and going after such "accessible" (to US publishers) stuff is whack IMHO.

ejiki said...

im pregnant of maruo

Azraelito said...

Maruo is still one of the best out there!This is a remarkable proof! Nice the color pages!

thx for the showing this!

I think he is drawing better and having a bit more of stoytelling!!

well hope to have this short story one day!!

saludos as always from argentina!!

Shinee said...

I always loved that particular story... having read the book (with other stories) ever since I was a kid. I'm so excited to see this fully, it's not even funny. And the scans... dude... ten shades of awesome. Thanks for posting it up :D

Unknown said...

i finally bought and read this yesterday! so great, since the new issue comes out today. no need to wait for the next chapter!

Ryan S said...

@baka: Are you going to keep the horrorbaby?

@azraelito: I really like this style and setup he has matured into. I'd love if he keeps on like this with the Maruo estate!

@Paperdoll: Happy to be of service... I just saw that the "Rampo Reader" was released at the end of 2008? It features previously unavailable (in English) stories and critical essays.

Which is your favorite Rampo short story or novel? Which would you want to see Maruo tackle next? :)

@monika: Oh nice, lucky you! I'm getting it through Kinokuniya in SF, so it has to come over on the boat. I think it should be hear for me like July 9 or something...?

I wonder how many chapters this one will run?

Monika Uchiyama said...

next chapter was deeep.

i just remembered, in yume no Q-saku he has an amputee character that looks just like the man in imomushi! the panels are very similar...

Ryan S said...

@Monika: I can't wait to read it!!! I think that my copy of Comic Beam is hopefully on a ship heading toward the port of Oakland right now :)

That's funny you mention Yume no q-Saku-- I was just re-reading it yesterday afternoon and saw that story! The caterpillar dude in that story is so much more grotesque and bloated and horrible... and the ending is obviously a bit different :)

Maruo's had Rampo on the brain forever, so glad he can finally do it up properly. I wonder how the Panorama Island and Caterpillar projects got started? Who contacted who, etc?

alexmercado said...

Suehiro's work is so hauntingly dark, and complex. I can't wait to take a gander at this one. He really understands how to make the truly hideous and ugly into a beautiufl work of art.