Manga has a stigma for being over the top and long-winded (One Piece has 84 volumes), but Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror is a great introduction to Japanese comics in the western market, at its original debut of only 3 volumes.
All of the work of Junji Ito is enigmatic and a must-read for anyone interested in discovering a new genre. Being a dentist by trade, Mr. Ito’s illustrations reflect his meticulous attention to detail. Each one of his panels is minimalist, yet beautifully complex and elaborate. His line art would be best described as a dichotomy between being delicately sensual with a burst of extreme discomfort and dread. His writing is equally strong in craftsmanship. It is in the same vain as H.G. Wells, being very grounded in reality with topics of the paranormal.
Uzumaki exhibits how adept Ito is at his craft and is a good introduction to his copious volume of work. It’s a collection of short stories that are set in the same town that is being haunted by a spiral. The general premise seems far from being scary, but the extent that the characters go to escape the symbol that infects the unsuspecting town is blood curdling, thanks to Junji Ito’s extensive knowledge in the horror genre. The best time to read it would be alone at midnight with a flashlight.
Review by Benji Griswold