Yasushi Nirasawa’s (1963 - 2016) career spanned garage kits, video games, film, and comics. In the realm of TV he was particularly prolific in his work for the Kamen Rider series in Japan. In the English speaking world however, the first time viewers got to see his unique character designs on TV came courtesy of Sci-Fi Channel UK.
On the southernmost tip of Tokyo, a stone’s throw from Haneda airport and about an hour from Ikebukuro’s Otome Road is the quiet neighborhood of Kamata. It’s glitzy or glamorous nor is it a historical destination or the site of some religious ceremony, one of its bigger claims to fame is a scene in 2016's Shin Godzilla when Godzilla, in his nascent larval-like form, makes landfall. Yet for a brief period, it was laid siege by some of the greatest monsters in cinema history.
On December 2, 2020, Richard Corben passed away at the age of 80, leaving a visceral legacy across comics and illustrations spanning fantasy, science fiction, and horror. My own first time witnessing (just “seeing” art feels too passive) Corben’s art was in Banner, written by Brian Azzarello for Marvel in 2001. I was taken by the sheer ferocity of Corben’s Hulk contrasted by the dread and gripping anxiety of his Bruce Banner. I didn’t have the mental vocabulary for it, but I realized later on how it deftly combined grace and grotesquery, craft and carnage.
Since 2012 Katie Skelly has been drawing a world of pastel colored carnage. Not interested in anything that would typically be considered grounded, Skelly’s worlds are sensational, sensual, and sanguine. Nurse Nurse, released in 2012, played with elements of science fiction evocative of Jean-Claude Forest as a space faring nurse encountered strange new worlds and dismembered ex-boyfriends. Operation Margarine from 2014 exists in a Russ Meyer-esque world of stylized biker gang violence as two women go on the run in the desert.My Pretty Vampire from 2018 is a parade of wonton bloodlust and secret societies evoking the sleaze cinema of Jess Franco. Skelly’s erotic anthology The Agency, also published in 2018, is sort of a sampler platter of all of the above but with the ribald sexual excess of Guido Crepax or Milo Manara. In her latest comic, Maids, Skelly enters into a world of class struggle, teenage rebellion, and murder.