Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 70

Helter Skelter

by Kyoko Okazaki
Genre notes: culture critique
320 pages
ISBN: 1935654837 (Amazon)

Before she was left pretty much completely debilitated in a car accident in the '90s, Kyoko Okazaki was sending up delicious, brutal, and incisive satirical culture-critique via the comics medium. Her stuff is raw and disarming.

Helter Skelter tells a tale reminiscent of Sunset Boulevard (and even straight-up references the Billy Wilder film) and prescient of Moyoco Anno’s Sakuran. Actually, it probably plays avatar for the million other stories about women whose usefulness is predicated on their sexual beauty and the desperation with which they fear the abolition of such a temporary celebrity. Not only do such heroes of the popular culture have to contend with the constant fickleness of a populace whose tastes bend and twist on a dime, but terror of the inconstancy of the masses is bolstered by the model’s knowledge that age weathers all and that she only ever had a dwindling, minuscule shelf-life. In Liliko’s case, her terror is accelerated by a brute fact of the procedures she used to mold her body into a physical perfection—while drugs and treatments may temporarily slow the degradation, her flesh will begin eroding at a terrifying rate. And more than just aging dramatically, women who’ve undergone similar treatments show seeping lesions, deep bruises, and corrosion of the material beneath the flesh. These women become monsters, and monstrosity is Liliko’s certain future—so she’ll see if she can’t get a jump start on it.

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