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‘Tales of the Unusual’ taps into humanity’s greatest fears and flaws to teach valuable lessons

‘Tales of the Unusual’ taps into humanity’s greatest fears and flaws to teach valuable lessons

tales of the unusual 2

Tales of the Unusual (2014-present)
Written and Illustrated by Sungdae Oh
Published by LINE Webtoon
Updates Wednesdays

Tales of the Unusual is a webcomic series of strange and mysterious stories by Sungdae Oh in which terrible things happen to terrible people 95% of the time, and innocent people are caught in the crossfire the other 5% of the time. Either way, each thrilling tale has a moral at its twisted end.

Below my dear reader, you will find highlights from my favorite unusual tales.

In “Gallery of the Damned”, Jaeyoon, a victim of bullying, takes his revenge plot too far when he becomes obsessed with finding out who is hanging his portrait in the “Gallery of the Damned.” Ah, but before we get into the ramifications of cursing anyone you don’t like, let’s rewind a bit and start at the beginning. Readers embark on their journey into the ominous world of the high school with a trip to an eerie gallery lined with images of the dead students. The rules of this terrifying gallery are as follows:

“Place a photo of a person you want to kill under your pillow, and you will wake up in a dream holding that picture in a frame. If you walk through a fog with the photo, you will get to the ‘Gallery of the Damned.’ This place won’t be entered by just anyone, you have to have a strong murderous intent to unlock the door. If you can open the door, hang the photo on the wall, then all the people in the photo are cursed…after waking up from the dream, rip the photo that you used for the curse, and the person in the photo will die.”

Adults in the media rationalize the recent epidemic of mysterious student deaths as a side effect of rampant bullying, but the truth is far more sinister. Children are actively murdering one another for any “injustice” brought down upon them. In seeking “justice” however, students often drive themselves mad killing off classmates who might reveal the truth. For those unlucky souls who travel into the Gallery, sleep comes less and less frequently until sleeping pills are the only means of leaving the physical realm. As one might imagine, no happy ending is in sight for those students who enter the Gallery with murder on their minds. Jaeyoon is no exception to the rule.

Another strange tale that catches my eye is “Beauty Water”, which deals body consciousness. Yaeji Han is looking for a quick way to lose weight without dieting or exercising. Cue the Beauty Water commercial. Beauty Water is a revolutionary product that allows users to sculpt their body any way they see fit. In pursuit of the perfect body, Yaeji spares no expense. She spends and spends and spends. Turing her overweight and unattractive body into an image of the perfect woman. Yaeji is happy with her new self for a while, but then gets bored and begins to eat out of boredom. Displeased with the new weight that she’s gain, Yaeji uses Beauty Water once again to regain her perfect body. Things don’t go according to plan however, and her latest body modification goes horribly wrong. Instead of melting away a few extra pounds of fat, Yaeji simply melted away. It is only because of her parent’s unconditional love that Yaeji is able to return to normal…there may have been a case of murder involved as well, but it was mostly love that brought Yaeji back.

One might think that the story ends there. Crisis averted.

Nope. There is still a lesson to be learned, one that will forever change Yaeji’s life.

“My Wife’s Memories” stands out from the crowd because while it is not scary, it is undoubtedly the most emotional story thus far.  A touching tale of love and loss, “My Wife’s Memories” is about a man who witnesses the ghostly impression of his wife’s memories after she suddenly passes away in a tragic accident. From the day she was diagnosed with Dementia to the day she died, the husband observes his wife’s “Dementia Spirit,” memories recorded in the fabric of time and space, and begins to mimic her daily routine. Every day the husband feels as though he is becoming closer to his wife, closer than he had ever been in life. Though the husband poured all his energy into his work, he is given a second chance to learn about the woman he fell in love with when he was a young man. On the third anniversary of her death, the husband can do nothing but watch in horror as his wife leaves a hot iron on the rug. The line between reality and memory blur as the husband tries desperately to save the woman he loves.

Oh’s strange and mysterious collection packs a powerful punch that strikes a haunting chord with readers that leaves many wondering if perhaps they too may find themselves starring in an unusual tale of their own. Never again will readers feel the urge to buy miracle water. Nor will they take online chat rooms lightly. Tales of the Unusual’s simple color palette and twisted endings ensure that lessons learned will not soon be lost.