Prison Pit Book One

Finally got this wonderful Johnny Ryan comic for Xmas.

Ryan’s said that Kentaro Miura’s Berserk was a influence on the book, but the thing its relentless black comedy and violence reminded me of was Go Nagai at his prime. If this was 1970s Japan, there’d be a Cannibal Fuckface cartoon for the kids to watch. Next to Scott Pilgrim this felt to me like the western comic that’s got closest to properly understanding the energy of manga, rather than simply aping the surface elements.

The story, such that is, follows our hero Cannibal Fuckface who is thrown in the eponymous prison pit and then commences killing and eating the similarly ultraviolent inhabitants of the pit. The first chapter is named “FUCKED”. The second is named “MEGAFUCKED”. That is probably all you need to know.

It’s the best art I’ve seen Ryan do in his career, more focused and while it mainly maintains a four-panel-a-page rhythm, when he breaks from that to do a splash page or change the panel rhythm, he does to great effect. If you’re going to do a splash page, it might as well be of a monster made of sperm or a barbed penis.

While part of me hopes for Cannibal Fuckface’s adventures to continue, it is “Book One” after all, I’d also really like to see Ryan do more work that expands his horizons from his gag roots.

Prison Pit @ Fantagraphics
Johnny Ryan

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