Anyone who is familiar with horror has undoubtedly at least heard the name Junji Ito. Often called a master of psychological horror, Ito has written some amazingly terrifying horror stories in manga form, and is currently celebrating the releases of Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection and Venus In The Blind Spot, another collection of some new stories and some old favorites. Ito also has an anime coming up on Adult Swim called Uzumaki, which many of his fans are looking forward to.
Comic Con at Home held a panel with VIZ Media hosting Ito to ask him questions about his stories, his new releases, and his methods. They then opened up the floor to fan questions, which let all the fans have a peek inside the horror mangaka’s inner thoughts. This panel was hosted by Urian Brown, and interpreted by Junko Goda, and was intimate and chill for a comic con panel. Ito is a very unassuming person to look at and listen to, and has a sly sense of humor that sneaks out even when he’s speaking about horrifying subject matter.
Brown asked Ito about his inspirations, his preferred tools, his favorite stories he’s created, and even how the master of horror manga relaxes. Ito is a traditionalist, loving pen and ink, but is almost being forced into working digitally to keep up with deadlines. Ito also loves H.R. Giger and his Alien design, and collects any figure of the titular alien he can find! Ito is an extremely thoughtful creator, speaking about letting other works and images influence and seep into his work without him making direct copies of them. He loves to explore monsters that are beyond human and beyond human comprehension; perhaps even unredeemable. Ito likes to “make horror from the familiar,” as he put it, and I think that sums him and his immense body of work up quite perfectly.
This panel was so fun to experience, listening to the Japanese and watching the interactions between Ito, Brown, and Goda. Ito is a charming and soft individual, which is quite hilarious considering his nightmarish body of work. As someone who has read Ito’s more famous works like The Enigma of Amigara Fault and others, this panel just made me even more anxious to get my hands on some of his newer works and see how he can scare me next. His interpretation of Frankenstein in particular piqued my interest as it was described as being very faithful, but the design they showed was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
VIZ Media gave us a really fun, intimate sit-down with this incredible artist, and I’m really happy I attended. My favorite thing I found out was that Ito and I share a fear - ghosts appearing in photographs. Who knew that someone who creates disgusting, terrifying nightmares for a living has such a common fear? Yes, horror artists are just like you and me! Except, maybe a little more twisted.