I wasn’t sure when I picked up Imiri Sakabashira’s The Box Man if it was an adaptation of Kobo Abe’s book to the form of comics. It’s not. It’s about a man carrying a box to the sea on a series of motorbikes. There’s a cat-thing that rides with him as they fight monsters and witness decadent wrestling matches and get chased by the police. It’s the kind of book that has very little dialogue and very detailed drawings. When the chase is across the corrugated roofs of a favela-esque part of town it’s almost hard to find the lines corresponding to the figures among all the background.
The whole thing is very spirally, with the recurrence of different events (most notably the acquisitions of new motorbikes). In the end there is a bit of an explanation for what you just witnessed. Actually, yeah, that’s a good word. Because of the lack of verbiage it feels like you’re a witness to this thing, without any more explanation than a person on the street would have. That witnessing thing plays into the voyeuristic aspect of some of the large spreads in the middle of the story.
I’d recommend not reading the back of the book because it gives you a bit too much of a possible explanation. It might frame it too much. Like I’ve done here, I suppose. Selah.
Kobo Abe’s The Box Man is about a man who lives in a box. He is paid to destroy his box and then sits around watching a fake box man and and his nurse/mistress. I don’t really have anything to say about this one. I found the voice annoying and confusing. It’s impossible to tell who is who and whether the narrator is actually narrating about himself or someone else or what the hell is going on. That’s kind of the point, this blending in and blurring of anonymous lines, but when the narrator is dead for a while chunk and you aren’t sure whether to take it seriously because you aren’t sure if he’s talking about himself or the fake version of him, then it’s all kind of a mess. I could have just been in entirely the wrong mood for this one.