Lost Horror Manga Masterpiece: HER FRANKENSTEIN by Kawashima Norikazu

Dare to read the psycho-horror classic that horror manga master Ito Junji called a “frightening but moving story about an unfortunate individual who, lost in search of his true self, finds his own annihilation instead.”

Little Tetsuo is a wimpy mess. His parents don’t love him. He meets the beautiful Kimiko, an ailing teenage girl obsessed with movies and mayhem in equal amounts. She doesn’t love Tetsuo either, or anyone other than herself. But she needs him. So Tetsuo becomes the man she wants—the monster she wants. He becomes HER FRANKENSTEIN!

Originally published in 1986, Kawashima Norikazu’s HER FRANKENSTEIN marks the bizarre and sadomasochistic finale to a cult era in Japanese horror comics. A few years after it was published, the author burned all of his artwork and abandoned Tokyo, never to be heard from again! HER FRANKENSTEIN is the inaugural volume of SMUDGE, a line of pulp, horror, and dark mystery manga, curated and translated into English by award-winning historian Ryan Holmberg.

"Though only getting his proper due now, Kawashima is an important figure in the history of horror manga," says Holmberg. "Considered by many to be his best work, HER FRANKENSTEIN was the swan song in a glorious era of horror graphic novels in Japan, which came to a close just as horror manga found its footing in the mainstream magazine market. Without under-appreciated pioneers like Kawashima, there would have been no Ito Junji." This history is further elucidated in an essay included in the volume by cartoonist Kawakatsu Tokushige.

"I've rarely read a comic so gripping, thrilling, and unclassifiable,” says Living the Line and Smudge publisher Sean Michael Robinson. “HER FRANKENSTEIN makes a compelling argument for searching for vital, vibrant work in the forgotten past.” 

Her Frankenstein will be available in spring of 2024. The 208 page book will retail for 19.95 and will include almost 20 pages of color extras, including a cover gallery and guide to Kawashima's work.

SMUDGE is a new imprint of Living the Line Books, a boutique graphic novel publisher owned and operated by illustrator and designer Sean Michael Robinson. Living the Line Books is a publisher of dynamic, visually-striking comics and graphic novels. Living the Line's graphic novel debut, The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (Dave Sim and Carson Grubaugh) was recently nominated for an Eisner Award, for "Best Reality-Based Work.", and their seven other subsequent publications have been well-decorated and much-discussed.