by Takashi Nemoto
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At long last, this underground Japanese classic has been translated into English. A seminal work of manga from the mid-1980s, "Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby" is a Candide-esque tale--if you can picture Candide as a mutated sperm brought to life by radioactivity. Unremittingly explicit, this is the comics equivalent of Henry Miller at his best: direct, honest and insightful while simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. Tokyo-based Takashi Nemoto, who was born in 1958, has been called the R. Crumb of Japan: Nemoto and Crumb share a similar, surreal drawing style and pessimistic, satirical stance, for which both have faced their share of negative criticism. Due to his unapologetically squalid subject matter, Nemoto has long been a controversial figure in Japan--clashing violently with mainstream Japanese morals--and is just now receiving some critical success there. Reviewers are finally looking past his gross-out humor to find far-flung influences and connections like Mark Twain, Otto Dix and Andre Masson.
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