This is not the first time that the works of Junji Ito have made their way here to the states but Dark Horse Comics has printed the first pristine collection of the “Tomie” series here in their Museum of Terror Vol. 1 – Tomie 1 which collects over 350 pages pure relentless terror. One of the things that make this collection better than any other collection of these stories previously is the pain staking details and love that Dark Horse has for the material. The stories are presented here for the first time in chronological order and the artwork is rich and detailed as it has never been before.
For those not in the know about the “Tomie” stories here is a little background. Tomie is a high school student whose beauty has the unfortunate side effect of turning men obsessive to the point that they often try to kill her and cut her up into little pieces to hide their crime. Too bad for them that Tomie has the ability to regenerate herself from even the smallest piece of her body which at times can be quite deadly especially when characters have to face off against multiple versions of Tomie. The stories can be quite terrifying as Tomie has an appetite for enacting revenge against those who have wronged her.
This volume collects nine of the “Tomie” stories (Vol. 2 collects the rest of them) some are stand alone while others are in multiple parts. Ito’s series is popular because it touches upon teenage fears of relationships and intimacy even touching upon student relationships with their teachers and student suicides. Ito has no problems touching on taboos which is what gives his work that extra punch.
Ito’s work is not for everyone but diehard fans of horror will love the fact that he doesn’t pull any punches and he always goes for the jugular (literally in some cases). If you can’t stomach the manga then there is a series of films which depict separate stories about the Tomie character (bout seven in all right now) but they don’t come anywhere near creating the same terror as Ito’s stories.