The final issue of Anthony Bourdain‘s Hungry Ghosts is coming this week, and this work sums up why the best is often left for last. Irene Koh illustrates The Snow Woman, perhaps the best-known spectre from Japanese supernatural lore and whose tale been retold many times in media. This artist’s visual style is very elegant and perfect. When considering she is better known for drawing the Legend of Korra graphic novel series, her character designs are the best! Yuki is beautiful. This lonely spirit will be haunting this unnamed boy for a while. This work takes a few ideas from the film, Chinese Ghost Story and reverses it. Thankfully, there is no greater force at work to challenge this supernatural romance.
Author and chef, Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential) and novelist Joel Rose are back with more culinary shenanigans in Hungry Ghosts. They wrote Get Jiro!, a send-up about food culture for DC/Vertigo six years ago and their play on words with this new title (published by Dark Horse Comics) is not a send-up on the traditional meaning, where ancestral spirits are forgotten by future generations. With this new work, veneration is explored in a different sense.
On a dark, haunted night, Mr. Fedachenko, a Russian oligarch dares a circle of Michelin star international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 Candles—where each storyteller has to tell a terrifying tale. Each of them better pray they can survive the challenge. This game is not like Russian Roulette. Instead, it’s a test of courage and perhaps a means to summon the undead. By the time the last candle is blown out, the hope nothing demonic is present.
Issue #1 is due to hit stands January 31st. In my preview, I was salivating over the modern delights of this retelling and modernization of supernatural lore from Japan. I find this culture’s — and my own (China) — take on the paranormal far more phantasmagorical than their Western cousins. Nothing against Europe and the gothic tradition, but in Asia, the often colourful and misty backdrop makes for a far more worrisome world for mortals to live in. In Japan, this world is revered. In Europe, it was often feared.