(Hunt Valley, MD) — (November 10, 2023) — Diamond Book Distributors is pleased to announce that its publishing partner, Living the Line, has unveiled a new publishing imprint, SMUDGE. SMUDGE is a line of pulp, horror, and dark mystery manga, curated and translated into English by award-winning historian Ryan Holmberg.
SMUDGE is set to debut in Spring 2024 with cult classic Her Frankenstein headlining the inaugural issue. Originally published in 1986, Kawashima Norikazu’s Her Frankenstein marks the bizarre and sadomasochistic finale to a cult era in Japanese horror comics. A few years after it was published, the author burned all of his artwork and abandoned Tokyo, never to be heard from again.
“Though only getting his proper due now, Kawashima is an important figure in the history of horror manga,” says Holmberg. “Considered by many to be his best work, Her Frankenstein was the swan song in a glorious era of horror graphic novels in Japan, which came to a close just as horror manga found its footing in the mainstream magazine market. Without under-appreciated pioneers like Kawashima, there would have been no Ito Junji.”
This history is further elucidated in an essay included in the volume by cartoonist Kawakatsu Tokushige.
“I’ve rarely read a comic so gripping, thrilling, and unclassifiable,” says Living the Line and Smudge publisher Sean Michael Robinson. “Her Frankenstein makes a compelling argument for searching for vital, vibrant work in the forgotten past.”
Her Frankenstein will be available in spring of 2024. The 208-page book will retail for $19.95 and will include almost 20 pages of color extras, including a cover gallery and guide to Kawashima’s work.”
SMUDGE is a new imprint of Living the Line Books, a graphic novel publisher owned and operated by illustrator and designer Sean Michael Robinson. Living the Line Books is a publisher of dynamic, visually-striking comics and graphic novels. Living the Line’s graphic novel debut, The Strange Death of Alex Raymond (Dave Sim and Carson Grubaugh) was recently nominated for an Eisner Award, for “Best Reality-Based Work.”, and their seven other subsequent publications have been well-decorated and much-discussed.