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Encyclopedia > Kabuki (comics)
Cover to Kabuki: Skin Deep
Cover to Kabuki: Skin Deep

Kabuki is a comic book series by artist and writer David Mack, first published in 1994 by Caliber Press and later by Image Comics. The current miniseries, Kabuki: The Alchemy, is being published by Marvel Comics under its imprint Icon Comics. The series concerns an assassin belonging to a special, government-backed circle of masked and costumed female enforcers called the Noh in near-future Japan and her struggle for her identity. Cover from David Macks Kabuki Vol 4 Skin Deep This work is copyrighted. ... Cover from David Macks Kabuki Vol 4 Skin Deep This work is copyrighted. ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... David W. Mack is a comic book artist and writer. ... Caliber Comics or Caliber Press was an American comic book publisher founded in 1989. ... Image Comics is the third or fourth largest comic book publisher in the United States. ... It has been suggested that Felicia (pseudonym) be merged into this article or section. ... Icon Comics is an imprint of Marvel Comics for creator-owned titles. ... Jack Ruby murdered the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in a very public manner. ... Noh performance at Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, Hiroshima Noh or No (Japanese: 能, nō) is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. ...

The series has been collected into several trade paperbacks, which include several one-shots and spin-off limited series.


Style and popularity

Unlike most comic series, the plot of Kabuki moves very little over the course of the volumes. Most of the focus is on memories, dreams, thoughts and philosophy. Mack's characters, especially Kabuki herself, revisit the same scenes and memories many times, rethinking them and their significance.

Mack uses a myriad of art styles, not only with pencil, ink, and color, but with paint, magazine clippings, manga scans, and crayons. In Kabuki: The Alchemy especially, many of the pages are photos (or color scans) of collages, using a variety of materials; for example, the fingers of Japanese sandalwood fans become the borders of the comic panels. One technique he uses often is reusing the same artwork, the same scenes, to represent a characters' memories, or simply to shift scene back to something the reader has already seen. Imagery is very important and prominent in the series; Mack reuses the same images, often changing them slightly, and focusing on the emotional content of images and the power of memories.

Mack does not always do the art for these comics alone. In "Kabuki: Masks of the Noh" a dfferent artist was assigned to each agent as way of visually representing their personalities. In "Kabuki: Scarab" Rick Mays was the artist while Mack did the writing. In fact, Rick Mays was the artist who drew Scarab in "Masks of the Noh." It is possible that Mack will continue this trend in future volumes concerning the other agents of the Noh.

Core plot

The character, codenamed Kabuki, is the granddaughter of a former World War II Japanese military man known as "the General" and an Ainu comfort woman, and much of the conflict is her identity between these two worlds. Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Commanders {{{commander1}}} {{{commander2}}} Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties 17 million military deaths 7 million military deaths World War II, also known as the Second World War (sometimes WW2 or WWII), was a mid-20th century conflict that engulfed much of the globe and is accepted as... The Ainu (pronounced , eye-noo, アイヌ / aynu) are an ethnic group indigenous to Hokkaido, the northern part of Honshu in Northern Japan, the Kuril Islands, much of Sakhalin, and the southernmost third of the Kamchatka peninsula. ... The term comfort women (慰安婦 ian-fu) is a euphemism for women serving in military brothels in Japanese-occupied countries during World War II. Many surviving women have testified to being tricked, coerced or forced into serving the Imperial Japanese Army during its occupation of Korea, China, and much of...

In the beginning, Kabuki and the Noh are controlled by two masked men, known as the Devil, who wears an oni kabuki mask, and Dove, who wears an old man kabuki mask, although the group serves the Company, lead by the General. The Noh is charged with the control and elimination of various yakuza groups in Japan, especially the yakuza organization of the General's prodigal son (and the real father of Kabuki, who raped her mother), Ryuichi Kai. Oni may refer to: Oni (Japanese folklore) (鬼) are the demons and ogres of Japanese folklore. ... The Kabukiza in Ginza is one of Tokyos leading kabuki theaters. ... The Kabukiza in Ginza is one of Tokyos leading kabuki theaters. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards and make it easier to understand, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

However, Kai is powerful politically, and important to the Noh to keep alive for the time being. For her own personal reasons, and at the request of Dove, Kabuki goes against the General's orders and kills Kai and his gang. The Board of Directors of the Noh demand she be punished for her disobedience, and she massacres them before dying herself. She is revived, and brought to a facility run by the Control Corps, a combination prison and mental hospital where rogue agents can be reprogrammed. Her former associates, the Masks of the Noh, are sent to eliminate her, but she escapes, and takes on a new identity.


  • Kabuki: Circle of Blood (collects Kabuki: Fear the Reaper and Circle of Blood 1-6)
  • Kabuki: Dreams (collects Kabuki Color Special, Kabuki: Dreams of the Dead, Kabuki #1/2, and The Ghost Play)
  • Kabuki: Masks of Noh (collects Masks of the Noh 1-4)
  • Kabuki: Skin Deep (collects Kabuki: Skin Deep 1-3)
  • Kabuki: Metamorphosis (collects Kabuki 1-9)
  • Kabuki: Scarab (collects Kabuki: Scarab 1-8)
  • Kabuki: The Alchemy (ongoing)

Not Collected:

  • Kabuki: Dance of Death
  • Kabuki: Reflections 1-5

External links

  • Official David Mack website
  • Dance of Death - A Kabuki Fansite
  • DavidMackGuide.com - David Mack fan site

  Results from FactBites:
Kabuki: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (2046 words)
Kabuki theater is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by its performers.
Kabuki theater and ningyō jōruri, the elaborate form of puppet theater that later came to be known as bunraku, became closely associated with each other during this period, and each has since influenced the development of the other.
Kabuki was enlisted on the UNESCO's 'Third Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity' on 24 November, 2005.
David Mack's Kabuki (254 words)
Kabuki belonged to a corporation called the Noh, that had a set of eight 'Masks' that were so secret that they were put on TV, and the only people that knew they really existed were the Yakuza and other criminals that the Masks of the Noh put out of business.
Kabuki was the finest and most popular Mask; she was on Noh TV, informing Kyoto that "Little Sister is Watching You" and giving information about the weather, news and such, as well as stopping drugs baron, arms dealers and other criminals with the other Masks.
But Kabuki 'defected'; she was given the chance to kill Kai (the man who scarred her as a child), and avenge her mother (whom he killed); this she did, but was mortally wounded in the fight with the Noh directors afterwards.
  More results at FactBites »



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