On a recent pilgrimage to the awesome SKYLIGHT BOOKS in Los Feliz, mega manga monger Dan (if you're there, ask for his or Darren's help in the graphic novel section, their combined knowledge of the market is more than humbling) recommended Uzumaki by Junji Ito to cure me of my manga-phobia. And it worked. Badass art and the awesome conceit of a town haunted by spirals (the noun and the verb) make this manga a total page turner that'll have you shuddering every time you see a spiral in real life. Which is often, being that the spiral is a crazily commonly occurring shape in nature, being that it's the best basic visual for a fractal. Which leads me neatly to my only complaint, which was that the spiral conceit, at least in the first volume (there are 3) is not exercised to its fullest potential, and by the end I did feel like the stories were getting a bit repetitive. However, if I'd read this at ages 13-16, the intended age of the audience (it was originally published in installments in a Japanese girl's magazine), it would have scared the pee out of me. The visuals are haunting and terrifying, and there were moments that made me shudder, need to put the book down, then immediately pick the book back up again. A perfect read for the morbid set of reluctant readers, and for silly adults like me who did not believe in the power of manga.