Mmmm Manga! Food-Themed Comics on the Rise
With web comics spiking in popularity and numbers, comic book artists are drawing anything from space zombies to re-imagined fairy tales, and now, they’re even drawing last night’s dinner. According to NPR, comics about food and cooking are on the rise. From comics who elevate chefs to superhero-status like 'Rutabaga: Adventure Chef,' to personal accounts of love affairs with food like Sarah Becan’s 'Saucesome,' the new spate of food comics have something for every reader’s taste buds.
Even chefs are getting in on the action. Top Chef Chris Cosentino teamed up with Wolverine over the summer and in 2012, and Anthony Bourdain’s comic book about warring chefs called “Get Jiro!” topped comic book charts
We spoke with two food comic book creators to get the scoop on the in’s and out’s of comic book-creating for the gastronomically-inclined. Alisa Harris is the creator of “Cooking Up Comics,” and she re-writes her vegetarian recipes in web comic form. John Layman is a writer for the unique hit- comic, “Chew” which features a crime-fighting former FDA inspector, who has psychic connections with the food he eats.
“Of course food is something that's universal,” said Layman. “People grow out of superheroes eventually, and it used to be they would simply outgrow comics. Now it seems people are finding comics that are more suited to their interests."
For Harris, she wanted to combine her loves of cooking and comics, and isn’t surprised that food comics are becoming a hit in the United States, especially since they’re so popular in Japan.
“Sometimes when reading a recipe you may not be sure what a certain cooking technique is and have to stop to look it up,” said Harris. "With comics, I can just draw how to press tofu or how to clean a certain vegetable. Recipes and comics are a perfect match."