Cover to 'Hungry Ghosts' #2. Art by Paul Pope/Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books

Cover to ‘Hungry Ghosts’ #2. Art by Paul Pope/Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books

By Kaitlin Beer. Two voracious tales as told by culinary mastermind Anthony Bourdain and writer extraordinaire Joel Rose are sure to ruin your actual appetite, but their spooky confections will certainly leave you wanting more. In the second installment of this four-part series, the reader is treated to another round of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (or “A gathering of 100 supernatural tales”) as our fated restaurant staff once again gathers around the dinner table to listen to another batch of ghastly stories.

The pairing of these two tales is incredibly complimentary. The first, titled “Salty Horse,” features one of the most anxiety-inducing short stories about food ever inked. The artist, Leonardo Manco (Hellblazer, Hellstorm) takes Bourdain and Rose’s words and turns them into a visceral nightmare. His artwork shifts the story from eerie to terrifying as you watch the frenzied decay intensify on each page. José Villarrubia (Sweet Tooth, Captain America) uses a palette that compounds the impending horror. (Most notably, in “Salty Horse”, the spectral steed’s eyes in the story have the sickliest veiled greyish blue that foreshadows the terror to come.)

Interior page from 'Hungry Ghosts' #2. Art by Leonardo Manco and José Villarrubia/Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books

Interior page from ‘Hungry Ghosts’ #2. Art by Leonardo Manco and José Villarrubia/Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books

The second story, “The Heads,” feels a bit lighter as a dash of humor comes into play. The artwork again shines as Mateus Santolouco (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dial H) backs up the spookiness with playful, yet striking, scenes. Given the nature of the series, one would guess that things might not end well for the protagonist, but the reader is left unsure of his fate.

Both stories exemplify the quintessential aspects inherent in spooky stories. They keep the readers guessing while fear looms ever-present in the waning background. But Hungry Ghosts doesn’t just make us afraid to look at what might be creeping behind us; it has us second-guessing our cuisine choices. This issue leaves you craving seconds. Or, in this case, thirds.

Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics/$3.99

Written by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose.

Art by Leonardo Manco and Mateus Santolouco.

Colors by José Villarrubia.

Letters by Sal Cipriano.

Edited by Karen Berger.

8 out of 10

Check out this six-page preview of ‘Hungry Ghosts’ #2, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and Berger Books!