Saturday, March 16, 2019

Reader's Diary #2017- Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose (writers), various artists: Hungry Ghosts

I'll be upfront that I may have misjudged Anthony Bourdain, a little too harshly, a little ignorantly. Based solely on commercials for Parts Unknown, I had decided his was an arrogant prick. Since his suicide however, the more I've heard about him, the more I feel I was way off the mark. He seems at least to have been a pretty nice guy, and perhaps even a progressive, really nice guy.

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear that he'd written a horror graphic novel. Partnering with Jose Rose, this is a collection of tales framed as being told by a group of chefs, each one trying to out do the last. Various well-known artists take turns illustrating.

It had a very strong Tales From the Crypt vibe, which was intentional according to Rose's afterword. As most fans of that series could tell you, this means that it's more often gruesome and darkly comedic rather than really scary, but a lot of fun. Also like Tales From the Crypt, some stories are clearly better than others. The weaker ones here suffered from Saturday Night Live syndrome in their weak endings.

The art was consistently strong and not as jarring in style as you might expect despite featuring work by people I typically admire (such as Francesco Francavilla of Afterlife with Archie) and by people I'm normally not particularly fond of (such as Paul Pope of Battling Boy).

I do wonder though how Japanese people would feel about Bourdain telling these stories largely based on Japanese folklore.

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