Monday, February 6, 2012

The Utterly Splendid World of Suehiro Maruo

Miminashi Hohichi in the Dark (1999, 2011; Seirin Kogeisha)  is another extraordinary excursion into the world of Suehiro Maruo, the prolific artist behind Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show (filmed as Midori) and Ultra Gash Inferno.

Although there have been several English language editions of his books, many have never been translated from the Japanese, and probably never will.

Maruo often insinuates iconic figures into his work, so the appearance of Frankenstein's 'Monster' in one story here provides disturbing and fascinating pulp fodder. After encountering a mother and daughter, he proceeds to engage in intercourse with one while the other becomes an equally unwilling participant.

There have been slightly sexualized versions of the Monster's story, but few feature the ferocious carnality of this gem.    

Georges Bataille's Histoire De L'oeil (Story of the Eye; 1928) surely had a muscular influence on Maruo and many of his contemporaries. Variations of and tableaux inspired by the book's deliciously grotesque eroticism permeate the artist's work.

Imo-Mushi (Beam Comix; 2009) is Maruo's take on Edogawa Rampo's Caterpillar story (filmed twice as: Caterpillar, and as one of four stories in the uneven Rampo anthology Rampo Noir). 
With surprisingly little fanfare, Koji Wakamatsu's Caterpillar (reviewed on this blog several months ago) has finally been released in the US by Kino Video.  

Although I had some reservations about its very plain digital appearance, it is still a very worthwhile and respectful take on the story.

As these images indicate, Maruo's version is a more deeply erotic interpretation, eschewing some of the source's political content. Still, the artist amply conveys the horrors of war hero worship and delivers a frightening, brutal yarn.

  An upcoming Maruo translation to English is The Strange Tale of Panorama Island. Although the book has been delayed for a while now, I hope it's release is still imminent. 

Personally, I'd prefer a translated volume of Maruo's insanely brutal and beautiful Lunatic Lovers (2007; Seirin Kogeisha). The images below barely capture the corrupt, vile, transgressive essence of this work.

An exceptionally good source for Maruo's work is


  1. I know you probably heard of this guy, but I'll just say his name in case you haven't. Shintaro Kago. He's brilliant and right up your alley.

  2. Mac -- yes, Kago is definitely up my alley. I haven't posted about him here because I don't have much of his work in book form; he's not as widely published in the West as folks like Maruo, Saeki, or Ito. I am a big Guro fan, though. There is a fairly new French edition of his stories, so I'm onto that. If you have any good links to his Japanese work (he's done a lot!), let me know. His Wiki listing always makes my mouth water. Extremely evocative titles, too.

  3. Miminashi Hohichi in the Dark is perhaps my favorite Maruo work, and oddly enough, one of his earliest. Glad you know about akatako! She is a godsend for guro fans!

  4. Infinite Jester -- yes, it's a truly brilliant work of his. Katie Ak. IS a godsend for guro fans. Can't disagree with that. Thanks for visiting these parts.

  5. Infinite Jester reply (2)

    If you know of any other Guro blog resources or links and you'd like to share them, I'd be most appreciative.

    I buy stuff from Akatako, Last Gasp, and Timeless. Sometimes from, too.

    Trying to get everything that's out there from Maruo and Saeki.

    I'm also keen on Hino, so anything that exists beyond Panorama, Hellbaby, and the 13 or 14 books put out in the US is of interest. I have some Japanese-only editions, but not too many.


    feel from to email: phantomofpulp (at) gmail (dot) com