When I was a kid, I went through a phase where I was way into monsters -- Draculas, Frankensteins, demons from the pits of Hell, all that good stuff -- and, as these were the dark days before the Internet, I would hit the library on a weekly basis checking out books illustrated with the scarier pieces of pop culture and mythology. Well, I've got to say that right now, seven year-old Chris Sims is insanely jealous of his Japanese counterparts, because they had Gojin Ishihara, a manga artist whose work on numerous children's books from the 1970s is both terrifying and awesome.

Thanks to ComicsAlliance contributor David Brothers, I came across a gallery of Ishihara's work today, mostly from the 1972 children's book "Illustrated Book of Japanese Monsters," in which the prolific artist drew pictures that I'm guessing were explicitly designed to scare the living hell out of the kids who read them.

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Check out a few of my favorites after the jump!

The Ogre of Rashomon Gate

Enma Dai-Ō (The King of Hell)

Jorōgumo (literally translated as "whore spider")

Nekomata (cat monster)

Tenjō-sagari (ceiling dweller)

In addition to his monster illustrations, Ishihara did a whole slew of other children's books, including one that detailed various end-of-the-world scenarios...

...which I assume were marketed to kids who weren't scared by creepy ghosts who lived in the ceiling and watched you while you slept.

My favorites, though, are his contributions to 1970's "Prehistoric Man," in which he drew cavemen taking modern-day jobs as security guards...

...baseball players...

... and professional wrestlers...

...which are in the running for being my three favorite pictures of all time.

For more, check out the full gallery of over 30 Ishihara illustrations at PinkTentacle.com!