Appreciating The Horror Artistry of Junji Ito

If there’s one thing that bugs me, and many others, it’s the fact that some individuals will compare the work of one person to another by calling them the ‘so and so’ of this or that. In other words, Junji Ito being called the “Cronenberg of manga” feels a little too much like the need of the public to minimize a person’s work by citing another famous name in the industry by which to compare it. Many would claim that this isn’t the case, that they’re simply drawing a parallel between one person’s work and another, and that’s usually the case. Those that find it necessary to say things such as ‘the next Stephen King’ or ‘the next Stanley Kubrick’ and so on so forth only show their lack of ability to recognize artistry for what it is, an achievement that doesn’t need to be compared in such a manner so as to allow Junji Ito to have his own time in the sun without being likened to another artist. It’s very possible that Junji doesn’t care if he’s likened to other artists and might even find it flattering, but it’s still a bit annoying to think that being ‘the next’ anything is what people are willing to do in order to justify their interest in someone’s work.

That does sound a bit defensive and it’s not entirely necessary, but after reading up a bit on Junji Ito’s person it’s fair to say that he’s managed to incorporate parts of his own life into his artwork as inspiration and it’s even possible to think that he’s been inspired by other artists in a big way over the course of his career. Drawing horrifying and disturbing images has a strange effect on some people since there are quite a few individuals that apparently don’t understand where such images come from and therefore don’t really know how artists come up with the things they do. It’s usually a secret that many artists don’t want to tell since the kind of nightmares, sleeping or awake, that some artists do have, inspire a great number of things that people don’t always feel capable of comprehending. It’s actually more interesting to artists that more people don’t experience the kind of visions and dreams that they tend to have since the human imagination is thought to be one of the most potent forces around when it comes to our species. After all, it’s one of the few things that make us vastly different from the other animals in this world and drives us to new heights.

But the truth is that a lot of artists, not all, do deal with things that come unbidden or are inspired by various things that are seen, heard, or experienced, that give birth to strange and terrifying things at times. Ito has definitely found something to be inspired by over the years since his work has managed to be picked up by many upon many people and celebrated quite a bit by fans and those that have the influence to take them further. When it comes to horror though he’s become a master at the subtle and the bizarre when looking at his work, as what he’s managed to put out has been absolutely brilliant in some cases and utterly horrifying in others. It’s a hope that no one ever asks him to shelve his work since it would mean that society isn’t ready for the type of horror that yet another talented artist can bring to the entertainment industry.

It’s fair to say that some people feel overwhelmed by images and stories that they can’t fully understand, but it’s also confusing to think that anyone would shy away from imagination or be afraid of something that won’t hurt them. Fear is a strange thing sometimes when it comes to humanity, and despite the fact that none of what Ito presents is real, it’s obvious that some folks would rather it not exist. That’s the world we live in though, some folks can’t handle anything that’s unknown.

A talent such as Ito possesses though is something that needs to be allowed to expand and grow as much as possible. He’s made this happen over the years for many an appreciative fan, and it’s a big hope that he’ll keep doing it. Those that can’t handle his work don’t need to worry about it if they simply decide to let it be, while those that enjoy what he puts out are bound to call for more as the years go on. The one constant in any of this is that as he was inspired, so will he inspire others, as he’s probably already done. Art isn’t always bound to be nice and cheerful obviously since horrific nightmares and strange, uncomfortable tales are just as popular.

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