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"Venus in the Blind Spot" Graphic Novel Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by VIZ Media

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Written and illustrated by Junji Ito
2020, 283 pages
Graphic novel released on August 18th, 2020

Review:

During my interviews with horror comics creators in Funny Book Splatter, one name came up in almost every episode: Junji Ito. I was previously unfamiliar with his work and, as a horror fan, that was a travesty. Ito is a master of horror, creating some of the most terrifying manga the world has ever seen. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to check out Venus in the Blind Spot, a new collection of his work from VIZ Media.

There is an impressive amount of variety in this book. There's no one theme, aside from maybe scaring the crap out of you. The premises for each story are completely unique. Some come from a simple idea, like a man hiding in a chair, and others are truly bizarre, like finding human-shaped holes in a mountain. They all end in a similar point, where you're too terrified to continue, but you have to see it through to the end.

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I found myself needing to take breaks while reading Venus in the Blind Spot. Some of the stories are so intense, where the terror reaches such heights that I needed to go watch a sitcom or something to reset. That isn't to say the stories aren't enjoyable. That's the farthest thing from the truth. These are top-notch horror tales. It's hard to pick a favorite in this collection. They are all great, and by great I mean truly unsettling.

You know that feeling you'd get watching a show like Curb Your Enthusiasm, where something is so cringy that you wish it would end? It's so uncomfortable that you almost have to look away. That's the feeling Ito invokes with every story, although it's more of a frightening cringe, like you can't believe this person's body is being twisted and pulled in those directions or what might be lurking within that mysterious box. It's the perfect tone for a horror story.

Ito's artwork is clean and crisp. The characters are well defined and showcase the terror they're feeling well. They often end up in a sort of trance, possessed by the horrors they've witnessed, but are compelled to follow. This parallels our own feelings because you can't look at this and not want to see how it ends.

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Some of the pages in this collection are in color, while most are in black-and-white. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to this. Perhaps some segments were colorized for an installment previously published. In most cases, color amplifies the artwork; however, Ito's work has a stoic and powerful quality on its own. It doesn't need any help.

In hindsight, starting my journey into manga with Junji Ito was probably a mistake. It's like watching Citizen Kane as your first movie. Fortunately, there's a lot more to dig into. Venus in the Blind Spot is the latest example of this incredible creator and the absolutely insane scares he's capable of producing. There is nothing else like this out there and it's a delight to read. It's also completely terrifying and I'll be having nightmares for some time, but it's so very worth it.

Grades:

Story: fivestars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
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Buy from Amazon US
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Buy from Amazon UK
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Buy from Amazon UK
Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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