DisComfort Food Comics: The Shiver Journal by Keigen Rea

The Shiver Journal

Content Warning: death, cannibalism, suicide, general creepiness

From the dates of October 17 and October 21, Keigen Rea read ‘Shiver,’ a collection of ten short stories by Junji Ito. This is a journal of his time reading.


Oct 17, 2020- Used Record

I know stealing Johnson’s table was wrong, I knew it at the time. It was my table first though. He couldn’t sell it, let alone for a profit. I was wrong, but I’m still better than him.

The idea of a haunted record is fantastic, especially paired with the record being haunting. It feels like a statement on horror, a genre built on fear. I go to horror to be scared, even when I don’t want to be. Good horror sticks with me, hanging in the back of my mind. It intrudes on what I’m thinking about, forces a look at the terror.

Oct 17, 2020- Shiver

CW: death

When my grandpa died, I ate my cereal in the same room as his body.

The disease throughout ‘Shiver’ itself feels like a metaphor for the small traumas I endure. They build up and eventually kill me, but even during my time enduring them, they are still constantly harming me. One of the powerful things about short stories, especially horror ones, is that they make me fill so much in in order for them to be effective.

Oct 18, 2020- Fashion Model

CW: cannibalism

I have never eaten human.

Kindra and I talk a lot about how attractive features are dictated by people who have access to ways to make themselves look different from anyone else, making “beauty” less accessible to the average person. Even just having the time to build skill in makeup application, and contouring are people who have time (and thus money) to be able to have said time. Even so called, “natural beauty” has to match those cultural and societal standards, to some degree. Unless you’re a very tall lady who eats people, I suppose.

Oct 18, 2020- Hanging Blimp

CW: suicide

Uuuuuuhahaha this one’s pretty messed up, actually.

I feel that there’s something here where suicide is being weaponized in an interesting way that seems true in general. We learn suicidal ideation from somewhere, especially specific forms of suicide. In a horrible way, fiction, and culture in general taught me what suicide looks like, while my family taught me what suicide feels like, but the two work hand-in-hand. Glorification of suicide is weaponized suicide.

Oct 19, 2020- Marionette Mansion

My sister has had a doll for longer than I’ve been alive. It’s name is Dratin. It blinks

The idea of the puppet controlling the puppeteer is interesting, and is especially when looking at the idea of all art as a form of puppeteering. Ito made these short stories, but by this philosophy, they were pushing him to create what they wanted. The stories forced themselves out of him.

In the same way, am I writing this, or is it expressing itself out of me? Is this writing of me, or is it itself something that wants?

Oct 19, 2020- Painter

I failed the GATE test every time I took it. I would tell my parents that I threw it.

There’s something inherently pretentious about creating art, and in criticizing said art. In order for me to pitch, or to request to review something, that means I believe I have something worth saying about it, which is to say I have something worth reading, which implies that I have more of a right to be writing than others do, which good goddamn is just not true. But I might need more of that conviction. That artistic competitive drive isnt something that I have or care for, but here, it only leads to a few little murders.

Oct 19, 2020- The Long Dream

I’ve had recurring dreams most of my life where I’m falling from unlikely places for long periods of time. It’s not uncommon for people to have dreams like these. For some reason that doesn’t make me feel better.

I’m not sure I have anything interesting to say about dreams. I don’t always remember my dreams, I’m not sure I always do dream. I do not like daydreams where I fall on my face and lose my teeth.

If I was afraid of being trapped in a dream forever, I would simply avoid sleeping.

Oct 20, 2020- Honored Ancestors

I don’t know much about previous generations of my family, and what I do know is vague and untrustworthy. In some ways, I’m not sure I have any honored ancestors.

I have no idea what it would be like to be devoted to what my family required, especially one going back centuries. Whatever version of me that would follow their wishes is so far from my reality that I couldn’t reliably say anything about them, really. It seems like it’d be pretty cool to have access to all of those memories, and it does come with a cool hat.

Oct 20, 2020 Greased Oil

CW: cannibalism

I love fatty meats. They are something I could conceivably live without, but I choose to continue to eat them, because I enjoy it. It is selfish, it is harmful. It is delicious.

Children are frequently born, unplanned and/or unwanted. I was unplanned, it’s arguable whether I was unwanted. In my situation, what is the point of me? Finding my point is one explanation, sure, but really, would it be so bad to be fed to some restaurant goers?

Oct 21, 2020- Fashion Model: Cursed Frame

CW: cannibalism

I have still not eaten human, and I feel like an outlier at this point.

Seeing an established professional in her field literally chew and, well, probably not spit out, so much as chew chew chew, her younger competitor feels very apropos. I look at the comic book industry, the video game industry, film, television, and even the critical and journalistic apparatus for those industries, and it’s rare to see established people take real risks on creating ways for newcomers to join them. More often, it’s people they already know, or people who are already popular who get positions of power, with née people struggling beneath for longer than is necessary. How many people have been eaten by these industries? How many more will be? Will I be one of them?

Thus concludes Keigen Rea’s journal depicting his time reading Junji Ito’s ‘Shiver.’ He went on to read and watch a bunch of ‘Angie Tribeca’ as a palate cleanser.

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