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Kazuo Umezu, who started drawing professionally in the 1950s, is considered the most influential horror manga artist ever. His many horror and sci-fi/horror works include Nekome Kozo (The Cat-Eyed Kid, 1967-1968), Orochi, The Drifting Classroom (1972-1974), Ultraman (a manga adaptation of the TV series), Senrei (Baptism), My Name is Shingo, The Left Hand of God/Right Hand of the Devil, and Fourteen. His popular gag series Makoto-Chan (1976) and Again prove that Umezu is also an accomplished humor cartoonist. (He is also a musician.) Umezu's weird style, incredible ideas and sometimes terrifying imagery have made him a fixture of Japanese pop culture, and his work has been adapted into movies, anime and collectibles. His homepage is "http: //www.umezz.com/"
An earlier work from the creator of The Drifting Classroom, this 1967 series is an anthology of horror short stories by the man known as the master of horror manga. The cat-eyed boy narrates some tales as be observes them; in some he's a direct participant. The third and most interesting tale, "The Tsunami Summoners" recounts the events surrounding the cat-eyed boy's birth. The first two puzzling chiller tales feature monster men as well as men who become monsters, but the stories lack any moral message, which might place the book as comeuppance theater. No one gets revenge or learns a lesson, and the monsters' inner lives are just as evil as their outward grotesque appearances. The cat-eyed boy casts no moral judgment on the people who pelt him with rocks even as he tries to save a town from tsunami-summoning monsters. Umezu excels at drawing cute but totally shocked school boys and the grotesque monsters that scare them, but his art is hypnotic in its juxtaposition of the two. Two giant volumes of the series are being released on the same date--a date that fans of classic Japanese horror should have circled in big letters. (Reviewed from a partial galley.) (June) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.