When you think about comic books or online webcomics, food is not usually the first thing to come to mind. Usually, a superhero fighting the forces of evil, rebels fighting against a dystopian society, or intergalactic adventures take the spotlight of our comic book dreams.
In recent years, comic writers and illustrators have been branching out from traditions and have expanded into new topics and worlds, including the world of food. Take a look at these top picks to start digging into comics about food.
1. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Bryan Lee O’Malley, author of the Scott Pilgrim series, came out with another graphic novel that has the perfect blend of reality and the supernatural. Meet his new hero, Katie. She is “The Boss” at the highly successful Seconds restaurant, but desires to open up her own restaurant where she can do things her way.
One night Katie has an encounter with a house spirit who grants her access to a box with a mushroom, a notepad, and instructions on how to erase her mistakes.
The mushroom gets used sooner than expected when Katie has a passionate moment in the storage room with the sous chef that inadvertently causes one of the servers to be burned in the kitchen.
All is well until Katie finds more mushrooms, and another house spirit that isn’t so friendly.
See what happens when Katie tries to balance all of these changes while still trying to achieve her dream of opening a new restaurant. This graphic novel is great and relatable for anyone who has worked in a restaurant kitchen, or anyone who ever wanted to go back and correct a few mistakes they’ve made in their lives.
2. Rutabaga Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal
Rutabaga Adventure Chef is a webcomic by Eric Feurstein, who also goes by the name Eric Colossal. This story follows a chef named Rutabaga who travels the land in a quest to find rare and exciting ingredients to add to his cookbook.
Our adventurer chef encounters magical beasts (including dragons) and interesting people on his journey, using his culinary skills along the way to meet any challenge.
As a great addition, there are also recipes included to make some new dishes (though you may not have the blood berries or other rare ingredients to concoct them). This comic is updated every Monday and Wednesday and worth a read if you’re into food and adventures.
3. Chew by John Layman (art by Rob Guillory)
What do you get when you mix the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a futuristic world where all chicken and bird meats are illegal? A dark, but popular comic book series called Chew written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory with a cult following.
This story is about police detective Tony Chu who is a cibopath, or a person who can get psychic impressions from the foods he eats. And by food, it can be anything from “chicken” noodle soup to the arm of the chef who used humans to supply the chicken in his soup.
Chu is hired to work for the FDA with another cibopath to solve cases on food adulteration and illegal food practices, which tend to be a bit more gory and murderous than today’s cases.
This is a fascinating series that leaves readers hungry for more, but perhaps a bit wary about what’s in their food.
4. Kitchen Princess by Miyuki Kobayashi (art by Natsumi Ando)
If manga is more your style, check out the series Kitchen Princess. This story is about Najika Kazami, an orphaned teenage girl who has a perfect sense of taste and desires to be a chef to fulfill a promise she made when she was a young girl.
Shortly after her parents died, Najika was rescued from drowning by a mysterious boy and was given a flan with a special silver spoon to cheer her up. Before the boy left, she promised to make him the best-tasting dessert in the world, which began her path to find him again.
Najika ends up at the prestigious Seika Academy in Tokyo for aspiring chefs (which happens to be the origin of the silver spoon) and gets closer to finding her flan prince.
While there, Najika makes new friends (and some enemies), competes in cooking competitions, faces tragedy, and maybe even finds love. This story combines all of the elements of school, culinary delights, and sweet romance that will satisfy any palate.
5. Saucesome by Sarah Becan
The webcomic I Think You’re Saucesome is a personal account of Sarah Becan’s relationship with food and the food encounters she has in her life.
Originally created to help with her body image issues and to increase her awareness of the foods she eats (and why she eats them), Sarah creates a picture of her life in Chicago that is very easy for readers to identify with.
Along with some aspects that will make you laugh (like Sarah being polyramenous), there are great recipes and tips to make cooking a bit easier.
Check out one comic where she shows us how to make DIY salad dressings. This comic doesn’t update regularly, but you can always find Sarah on Twitter talking about food, art, and her daily adventures.