The Laughing Vampire, or Warau Kyuuketsuki in Japanese, is a shocking two volume series of the Suehiro Maruo and follows the vampire of Rakuda as she first emerges from parallel scenes of atomic destruction in World War 2 – evil was already amongst us as despairing truth. In Japan, she subsequently stalks a corrupted modern city to convert companions to partake in her ravenous carnage – a vampire no less prone to loneliness and isolation. Bathing in newborns to invigorate herself, and indulging every carnal lust remorselessly, she is the embodiment of the cruelest instincts as a predatory fiend whose destructive nature is parasitic to any calm… or perhaps the violent blends into an already incensed world. The work itself a profound statement on human nature in relation to a barbaric violence we arrogantly projects to monsters as a denial.
She proceeds to sire a cohort in the high school student Konosuke Mori and as are the impulses of any adolescent, he is keen to involve his peers in this transformation – he won’t be so isolated in the destruction ensuing, portrayed in an extravagance of violence thickened with artistic flair. This inevitably has dangerous ramifications creeping into his school and whole neighborhood – he is far from timid as a vampire only lurking in the shadows.
Exploring decadence in a shockingly amoral fashion, with contrasting the worst of humanity against vices attributed to monsters to serve an allegorical point, we see a savage tale unfold as vampires thrive in a diseased city devoid of moral verisimilitude – their instinct evidently less a choice in comparison to the deranged humans mirroring their lifestyle. They thrive in a depraved society as akin to a natural force and their carnivorous adventure is a a pleasure to spectate as the narrative progresses – grotesque events unfolding, which the artist contours elegantly in sharp tones of black, to evoke such lucid detail for lacerations into the imagination. Motion, and expressions, are captivatingly delineated with frantic echoes of frames leading to raucous conclusions.
Vampire are not romanticized in the tale and there are few moral boundaries for these monsters- it is a vicious storytelling to the best degree as satisfyingly uninhibited: unabetted violence, unabashed eroticism and tragic chaos. There are no contrived tropes to appease any reader, it is a wild adventure with following the ruthless hunt of these monsters. You will be thrilled, disgusted and shocked, but these seen subside for curiosity to take charge from the unpredictability in disregarding orthodox norms.
Some say the countdown begun when the first man spoke, others say it started at the Atomic Age. It’s the Doomsday Clock and we are each a variable to it.
Welcome to Carcosa where Godot lies! Surreality and satire are I.
I put the a(tom)ic into the major bomb. Tom’s the name!