Writer: Brian Wood
Art: Dave Stewart & Danijel Zezelj
Publisher: Image Comics
Summary from Comixology: UTENSILS DOWN, HANDS UP! WELCOME TO STARVE! Once the world’s most famous chef, Gavin Cruikshank’s been in a self-imposed exile for years. His little foodie television program has since evolved into STARVE, an arena sport that pits chef against chef for the pleasure of their super-rich patrons. It’s a stain on a once-noble profession, and Chef Gavin is ready to go to war to stop it. Two things stand in his way: his arch rival Roman Algiers, and his adult daughter Angie, who probably just wants her dad back and acting normal. Whipsmart world-building and a creative dream team (DMZ, The Massive, Star Wars, Loveless, Hellboy, The Sandman) come together for a brand new monthly series!
Let’s be honest, there’s really nothing I can tell you about the comic in this overview that wasn’t already covered in the summary above. What I can say though, is I knew literally nothing about this book when I picked it up. I saw that an Image #1 and figured I’d give it a shot. I’m really glad I did because Starve is not something I would’ve ever expected to be a thing…
The story starts with our protagonist, Gavin Cruikshank, being retrieved from his off-the-grid, hermit-esque life in Asia, at the behest of the television network of which he used to be a huge star for. He clearly doesn’t *love* that this happening (hell, he doesn’t even LIKE that it’s happening) but he understands it, and seems to accept the inevitability of the situation. Upon returning to his former homeland, he discovers that not pretty much nothing is the same as when he left, and he’s thrust into some pretty intense friction between himself and he ex-wife, and his nemesis. (Huh, look at that… I guess I did have more I could’ve added to the overview.)
Think of it as The Hunger Games, or The Running Man, meets Masterchef. Sound crazy? I 100% agree. It is crazy. Crazy like a fox! I mean, the idea of writing comic book about a reality cooking show set in a sort-of dystopian future is pretty bizarre. They absolutely pull it off though. Honestly, not knowing what to expect may have put me at an advantage that I’ve now denied to you. Sorry. It’s just that, I had no expectations. The book could’ve been anything to me, so I was really excited when it turned out to be so unique and clever.
Brian Wood has created some of the most respected modern comics out today. The work he’s done on series like DMZ and The Massive is absolutely fantastic, and I believe that soon people will be listing Starve right up there with them. He’s crafted a story that by all most standards should casually interest you, at best. And yet, It’s so impressively visceral and unique that you will not be able to put it down or read it fast enough.
Another reason Starve works so well is the artwork. Stewart and Zezelj are a brilliant team that somehow manage to take a minimalist approach to comic art and they incorporate so much complexity and depth without it ever being confusing or complicated. I’m also very fascinated with they way the use coloring. If you don’t look closely enough at the panels you will miss some genius color-work that almost camouflage’s itself. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
I promise you, there is no other comic out there like Starve. I desperately want to compare it to something to help you get an idea of what it’s like but I just feel like anything I could name wouldn’t be close enough. I also feel like it would be a disservice to Starve to drop a half-assed comparison to some other comic that it barely resembles. If you’re hungry for something new to read, and you like your comics with a little raw meat, then treat yourself to Starve.
Music Paring –
Maybe it’s just me, and this is actually a terrible musical paring, but I listened to Japanese metal band Sigh while I was reading this. I feel like they’re equally as difficult to label as Starve is and their brand of, we’ll just say “Avant- Garde Extreme Metal”, is a perfect compliment to the unpolished genius of this comic. Check it out!