Pulp fiction is alive and well and living overseas. In Hollywood, the
OFFERED short-pitch would go a little something like this:
Olympic-bound athlete Boy meets insane biker militia Girl, who is offspring
of Hitler (whom we learn was augmented to greatness by some weird alien
fetal mummy) and reveals to Boy that Gilgamesh ejaculated into elephant
tusks and stored them in glaciers so that his seed would be eternal, Girl
cajoles Boy into sex, believing the offspring of Hitler and Gilgamesh would
rule the world, Girl is murdered by mysterious paramilitary supernazi
treasure-hunting cabal while Boy believes himself to be the heir of
Gilgamesh, so Boy and crew team up to unearth Gilgamesh's hidden treasures.
OFFERED is written by Kazuo Koike, the author of Lone Wolf and Cub; and
drawn by Ryoichi Ikegami, the artist of Sanctuary. For all of its insanity,
this fat little psychopulp has an unbeatable pedigree.
Who knows? Maybe there are hoards of Japanese comics readers absolutely
aching for some straightforward, three-act structure, A leads to B leads to
C-type of slim Western comics offerings. Maybe there are earnest and
learned salarymen bulletraining into Tokyo while dreaming about the kind of
shallow and predictable sprint-reads that require little to no engagement of
intelligence and, in fact, insists upon the reader's passive consumption of
the samo samo contained therein. Maybe these readers (and there could
potentially be millions of them) all read OFFERED and now demand the bland,
logical, and predictable in a kind of intellectual revolt against manga like
OFFERED and god knows how many others of its ilk. As a westerner, however,
just beginning to dip his toe in manga's vast waters, OFFERED comes as a bit
of a revelation.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.