SUPERSIZED: Strange Tales from a Fast-Food Culture
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Writers: Morgan Spurlock and Jeremy Barlow
Artists: Lukas Ketner, Ron Chan, Lucas Marangon, and Tony Millionaire
Colorists: Ronda Pattison, Dan Jackson, and Jim Campbell
Letterer: Michael David Thomas
Cover Artist: Ron English
Format: 88-page HC (6"x9")
Just like the subject matter, this anthology goes down easy, but might make you sick to your stomach afterward. It's GROSS and not for the squeamish, but it's also an EXCELLENT read! You'll be lucky if you can get anyone else to read it though, especially if they would rather not know about certain things...
Move over Crypt Keeper! There's a new host for your horror comics, McSupersized, the obese clown spokesman from the McDopey's corporation. He used to be a thin guy on a shoe-string budget, only eating beans and rice, when he discovered that he could eat just as cheaply, but much more tastily by partaking of the smorgasbord of inexpensive fast food. He'll guide you through the "real-life" terrors of your nearby franchise eating establishment...IF YOU DARE!!! After reading this book you'll know the meaning of "ignorance is bliss".
The presentation of the book is fantastic, starting of with the Table of Contents, which is listed like a food nutrition label. McSupersized weaves the 16 short, but sickeningly sweet, tales together, providing the before and after commentary. "Some of the stories were pulled from the original Super Size Me film, but the majority are brand-new accounts taken either from news organizations or the individuals themselves who actually worked on the frontlines of the fast-food battlegrounds [from the Introduction]." Three tales are several chapters long and are interspersed throughout the book. Two involve timed experiments: Super Size Me and The Smoking Fry (Where we learn how indestructible those fries actually are! If they can't degrade in a jar, how are they going to digest in your stomach!). The third multi-parter is a series of "cards" explaining the "Five Ways the Fast-Food Industry Hijacks Your Brain." It's like those old Garbage Pail Kids cards. Breaking up the tales, usually with a different artist on each part, is a great way to keep the book moving and I just about read it all in one sitting. Oh, there are also two tabloid parodies and I just noticed the Fry Men are dressed like the gang in A Clockwork Orange (I'll never watch that film again).
I don't recognize the names of any of the artists, but they're all very good. My favorite one is Ron Chan, whose art seems like it would fit in a Marvel Adventures comic -- very clean and smooth. The coloring by Ronda Pattison for his chapters is generally bright, which helps offset the grim accounts. I also really liked Lukas Ketner's Super Size Me chapters, his style reminds me of Gene Colan a little, especially when he draws Morgan's doctors. Ronda handles the colors for him too, but the palette is appropriately more subdued. Lucas Marangon mainly tackles the Brain cards, the fry experiment, and a few other tales with Dan Jackson doing the colors. The cards are great and each page has a unique design to it. These two also produce the most emotional tale of all -- the E-Coli chapter detailing the tragic fate of a little girl who ate an undercooked burger. The most indie stylistic art team is by Tony Millionaire and Jim Campbell. Their art reminds me of something out of a Mad magazine -- reminiscent of Al Jaffee. It really works for their tales too. I don't know what was worse, the rat in the chicken fryer or the manager having a "quickie" in the same room!
According to Morgan, this may be the first book in a series. You can e-mail him your fast-food nightmares at RealFastFoodStories@gmail.com and they might publish your story in a future volume. Hopefully, most of y'all don't have any such stories. I can certainly appreciate stories taken directly from the news, but I'm a little more suspicious about the "true life" personal accounts. How do you know they're not embellishing the incident? That's really my only quibble with the book and it's a very minor one. I hope I haven't painted two grim of a picture of the tales, because McSupersized is always creepily funny even after you've winced at the previous tale.
Grade A Jumbo: A tasty treat, if you can stomach it!
Not bad for an impulse purchase. Much better than the first issue of Venom! Man, I know why they only showed one image of the art in the promos. It didn't help that I was getting Tony Moore confused with Terry Moore. I was not expecting that style of art. Maybe, it'll grow on me like a black oozing symbiote.