“Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai” (A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales) is a Japanese game where people would tell a story inside a circle of 100 candles with a mirror by the side of the circle. After the person tells his tale, he would blow out a candle and look in the mirror to see if he’s possessed. It’s a lot of fun. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, along with Joel Rose and a team of artists, have created “Hungry Ghosts,” a comic series with that idea, but it has a bunch of chefs and guests of a billionaire tell ghost stories with a food motif. The first issue gives a great glimpse into this idea.
The first story, “The Starving Skeleton” (at by Alberto Ponticelli,) is about a ramen shop owner refusing to give scraps to a hungry homeless person because he’s closing shop. He would regret that decision. Not much happens in this comic despite having an interesting concept. It’s a quick read that’s over before it begins. The art is great and the skeleton does look amazing.
The second and last story of this issue, “The Pirates” (art by Vanesa Del Rey,) is about a group of pirates who find a woman floating in the ocean. They decide the best thing to do is have their way with. This one’s pretty interesting, though not particularly scary. It’s more of a precautionary tale and you are more sympathetic to the woman. The art may not be as great as the previous story, but it does its job of looking scary.
Those are the only stories here besides the intro. While this may letdown some readers, one needs to remember that these stories are meant to be short since, as mentioned in the intro, one-hundred people are telling these stories in one night. Do not expect “Canterbury Tales” length stories since those were told to pass the time while on a journey that took days.
“Hungry Ghosts” may only have two stories to start, the setup is brilliant and the stories so far are actually quite entertaining. The art styles are great which makes this new series worth reading. It would be great if all of these issues were put into a trade because of how great this idea is.