World-renowned horror mangaka Junji Ito took the time to give an interview during San Diego Comic-Con@Home. Hosted by Urian Brown and featuring translator Junko Goda, Ito answered a number of questions concerning his work, his process and the upcoming English release of Venus In The Blind Spot.

To start the interview, Ito started by saying he had always been drawn to scary things. To this end, he would try to mimic it but at the same time try and make something original. This was touched upon for his manga Frankenstein, a retelling of the classic Mary Shelly story. He stated that it was hard for him to move away from the well-known Boris Karloff design of Frankenstein’s Monster from the 1931 film. However, he added it influenced him subconsciously, as did the Christopher Lee interpretation of the Monster from The Curse of Frankenstein. Of his own personal inspirations, he included H.P. Lovecraft, and added that a few dream collaborations for him would include Stephen King and Kazuo Umezu, the latter of which is the mangaka of his favorite manga growing up, The Drifting Classroom. For one of his newest publications, the titular Venus In The Blind Spot, he stated that he played with the idea of the blindspot in the human eye.

The subject of Junji Ito’s process also came up in the interview. One of the major questions that was raised was about his process. He stated that while he has made the switch to digital formats to help him meet deadlines, however he still loves using the traditional pen and ink for his work. His story process, on the other hand, stayed the same. When asked about what he does to relax, Ito laughed and said that he isn’t able to carve out much relaxing periods due to his deadlines. However, he states he often listens to jazz or other relaxing music along with baths to help “warm [him] to the core”, even if doing so causes inspiration to often strike.

Finally, fan-submitted questions were taken. When asked about what his creation Tomie and if there was any symbolism behind her, he stated that she is “all that is bad about humans is stuffed into her”, adding that part of what he writes is about the terror of the ordinary and familiar, as that there are “stories everywhere”. He went on to state that after being featured in the Hideo Kojima video game Death Stranding, he is currently not assisting with any video game development. However, he has been in talks with director Kojima. One question that was raised to him was if he personally had seen a ghost or experienced any paranormal activity. He stated that he had not seen a ghost, but possibly had seen a UFO. He went on to add that he brushes off most supernatural experiences, but he can’t disprove any as he does have a phobia of ghosts that appear in photos.

To end the virtual interview, Ito was asked if he had a message to his fans. He stated that he was disappointed that he was unable to visit San Diego Comic-Con in person but he looks forward to visiting in the future. Until then, he will keep creating for all of his fans in Japan, stateside and around the world.

Ito’s newest release, Venus In The Blind Spot, is a best-of collection that features a number of stories for the first time in English. It is currently slated for a release on August 18th from VIZ Media. Such stories include The Human Chair and The Enigma Of Amiagra Fault. Junji Ito’s Eisner nominated retelling of Frankenstein is also available for purchase from VIZ Media.