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Two Eyes Of The Beautiful Part II
posted December 16, 2010

imageCreator: Ryan Cecil Smith
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 48 pages, 2010.
Ordering Information: Eventually available here

This is a limited-edition mini by the talented cartoonist Ryan Cecil Smith, currently teaching in Japan. It's the second installment in a horror comic based on Umezu Kazuo's Baptism (also known as Blood Baptism or Baptism) called Two Eyes Of The Beautiful. I'm not familiar with the original work other than having some dim memory it was about an evil child. Whether that's true or not, Smith's story gives us a relative innocent who becomes slowly aware of her scarred mother's plot against her: to eventually place her brain in the child's body in order to become beautiful once more.

The book's primary delight, perhaps even the reason Smith is pursuing an adaptation of this specific comic, can be found in the measured, deliberate, delicious pacing. Two Eyes Of The Beautiful could be about a subject matter 10,000 times less lurid and I'd still enjoy the way in which scenes slowly unfold, providing the suggestion of 1950s women-at-the-mercy-of-their-times films and making an assertion that evil acts arise out of the pattern and shape of everyday existence. This drip-drop progression finds reinforcement in a style of scripting heavy on exposition and the character's describing their various situations as they unfold, a not uncommon mode of communication in this day of digital self-regard or in art where the audience is expected to confront a certain set of issues. Dancing very close to a line over which he might be working at cross-purposes, Smith also wrings a great deal of humor from the way the horror elements erupt and fade; many of the situations described and implements discovered feel arbitrary and bizarre, the result of bad household planning as much as the reflection of an evil soul. Smith's designs may not satisfy everyone, but the restraint inherent in his page to page transitions quickly rip one's attention away everything except the dilemma placed in front of each character. I have no idea where Two Eyes goes from here; I can't wait to find out.