Writers: Sam Sykes
Illustrator: Selina Espiritu
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
WHAT IS IT?
A charming, humorous and empowering story of a woman who has to run a successful restaurant in the middle of a town filled with monsters.
It's like Bob's Burgers meets Stardust meets a monster-themed cooking game.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Brianna's father is a world-renown chef looking to retire. He tells Brianna and her 15 brothers that each should start their own restaurant. Whoever own the most successful restaurant wins the honor of the family name -- essentially, the empire her father has built.
Brianna and her siblings each scatter to their separate cities. Needing to find somewhere affordable to live and work, Brianna moves to MONSTER CITY and opens a restaurant there.
Soon after, Brianna realizes that she's bitten off more than she can proverbially chew, needing to learn (quickly!) the types of cuisines and customs the local monsters enjoy. But can she do all that in time to conquer her brothers? And is her own self-doubt a more challenging contender than any of her brothers ever could be?
Read it and see!
Sam Sykes' writing always makes for endearing characters and fun dialogue with top-tier comic timing
There are so many universal human moments that readers can identify with, even if they aren't skilled chefs who live in a town of monsters
The characters are wonderful, nuanced creatures and you may want to be best friends with them by the end of the book
Espiritu's art is as endearing as the story's characters, able to convey emotion remarkably
The art also isn't afraid to make choices -- like making Brianna's brothers' faces all shadowy so the focus remains on our protagonist, or a dramatic color shift in the 4th issue
Throughout, there are little black poofs of what seems like self-doubt, low confidence, depression, or just generalized negativity, and I loved that representation of the negative thoughts that pop up out of nowhere and hold us back
Campbell's lettering is top-notch as always, and I especially loved his sugary sweet pink exposition boxes
There are also fun messages in tattoos and on T-shirts that add an element of discovery and depth to the world and its characters
Minority representation is wonderful: the main character is a woman, her friend is from South Korea, and most of the rest of the cast are monsters
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
It's a self-contained graphic novel, so once it's done, it's done -- which is sad if you love the characters and want to see more of them
The art is more on the cartoony side, so if you prefer comics with more "realistic" art, keep that in mind
It's a cooking-themed story -- I loved it, but maybe it's not for everyone?
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
You should read it because it's absolutely delightful! It's a fun, light fantasy story featuring a strong female lead and it's positive and wonderful and is a really great break from depressing news headlines.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Flesh and Blood, Steel and Gold by Sam Sykes & Ashley Cope
Flavor, Vol. 1 by Joseph Keatinge & Wook Jin Clark
Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman & Max Sarin
If you like the art:
Quincredible by Mildred Louis, Selina Espiritu & Michelle Wong
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Stevenson, Ellis, Watters & Allen
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir & Steenz
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Sam Sykes – Writer
Moniker: Real name is Sam Watkins
His mother is Diana Galbadon, who authored the Outlander series
Selina Espiritu – Illustrator
This comic was her first official comics gig!
Judging by interviews, she seems to really enjoy video games
Sarah Stern – Colors
Multitalented: Writes, illustrates, and colors her webcomic, Cindersong
On the Rise: Is fairly new to the industry but has been getting more and more praise for her coloring work
Jim Campbell – Letters
Outlander: Hails from the United Kingdom
Multitalented: Also enjoys the art side of the creative world
Prolific: Has done lettering for a large number of hit titles
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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