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EXCLUSIVE: Hungry Ghosts Finale Cover by Paul Pope

by  in Comic News Comment
EXCLUSIVE: Hungry Ghosts Finale Cover by Paul Pope

Hungry Ghosts debuts later this month, the inaugural series from Dark Horse Comics’ Berger Books imprint. Not only does this mark the full-time comics industry return of legendary former Vertigo editor Karen Berger, it’s also the first comic book work by noted chef and author Anthony Bourdain since the two Get Jiro! graphic novels.

RELATED: Joel Rose & Anthony Bourdain Tell Weird Scary Stories in Hungry Ghosts

In the four-issue Hungry Ghosts series, Bourdain is joined by frequent co-writer Joel Rose, and a variety of artists including Vanesa Del Rey, Leo Manco, Alberto Ponticelli and more, with Paul Pope illustrating the covers. CBR has the exclusive first look at Paul Pope’s cover to issue #4, scheduled for release in April and with art by Francesco Francavilla and Irene Koh.

EXCLUSIVE: Paul Pope’s cover to Hungry Ghosts #4.

“They’re so peculiar and distant from what we know as ghost stories,” Rose told CBR of Hungry Ghosts. “One is called The Cow Head, and that’s a story that has cast an urban myth. It’s a story that was supposed to be so fundamentally frightening that anyone who heard it, would immediately die from fright. It was so horrible that the story was disassembled and each piece of it was sent to a different part of the world so the story could never be put back together… and of course, we’ve put it back together.”

Hungry Ghosts is inspired by Japanese legend, and tells food-related stories of weird horror. For January’s “Horsepower” column that appears in the back of Dark Horse’s single-issue releases, Joel Rose penned the story of how he first met Anthony Bourdain in the 1980s during Rose’s days publishing the Between C&D magazine, collaborating on Get Jiro! at Vertigo and bringing Hungry Ghosts to Karen Berger. Courtesy of Dark Horse, CBR presents the full text of Rose’s column below.

In 1983, I landed my first book contract and bought myself an Epson QX-10 computer, running VALDOCS, at the time, a state-of-the-art word processing program. Man, it was beautiful. What I especially loved is seeing my manuscript print out from the dot-matrix printer in one continuous attached stream replete with sprocket holes. My neighborhood at the time was pretty iffy. Drug gangs ran the place. My street, and every other street, was infiltrated. Dope was packaged in tiny little Ziploc plastic bags. My daughter was two. I used to draw with her, using markers, and the computer’s sprocket paper.

One day I realized my computer was a printing press. I put out a magazine in a single file on the dot-matrix paper. I solicited stories from writers I knew, all of them just coming up, except for maybe Kathy Acker. I bought larger versions of those Ziploc bags and hand drew and colored cartoony characters, inspired by the neighborhood, on the covers. Every cover was different.

I brought the finished product to St. Marks Bookstore and by the time I got home the phone was ringing. “We need more. We’re sold out.”

My magazine, Between C&D, became an overnight sensation. The Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney—they all collected them. There were articles in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Esquire, Vanity Fair, a slew of others. We were on MTV.

And then one day, not long after that first issue, in the mail, unsolicited, I got this manuscript. It wasn’t fiction, which was what I was publishing, but a comic. I looked at it. The art sucked. But the writing was good. I dropped the guy a note and one day he showed up. A tall dude, if I could judge, had just scored. He looked and sounded high.

Tony Bourdain.

We been friends ever since. I published his first story, “Chef’s Night Out,” and helped Kitchen Confidential to see the light.

Through it all, I have ever known, comic books, was his first love.

As much as he’d like to have been Hunter Thompson, Tony would rather be R. Crumb.

He’d been after me for a while. “C’mon, let’s do a comic book together.”

One Thanksgiving he cornered me. His daughter was sick on the couch, but he said to me, “I have this great idea. About this chef . . . ”

Get Jiro!

Karen Berger had just published Mat Johnson’s incredible Incognegro at Vertigo.

I said okay to Tony and we wrote something up, a sort of proposal, and the next thing I know we were into the most fun project ever.

We did Jiro I and II at Vertigo, and then Tony had this other idea.

Karen had moved on, eventually over to Dark Horse. I contacted her and I said Tony and I have this idea to do a run of Japanese ghost stories. You interested?

“Am I interested? Tell me more,” she said.

So here we are.

Hungry Ghosts, for me, pure pleasure. For Tony, the same.

First issue is out January 31st, with the most awesome array of artists resurrecting the dead, avenging the yokai and the yurei, helping themselves to their rightful pound of flesh.

Joel Rose

Hungry Ghosts #1 is scheduled for release on Jan. 31.

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