INDIE SPOTLIGHT: Hungry Ghosts #1

A Russian oligarch has dared a group of international chefs to play the samurai game of 100 candles, invoking terrifying ghosts and demons, but will they survive?

Writer: Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli, Vanesa Del Rey
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist: Paul Pope
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics / Berger Books

What You Need To Know:

One dark, haunted night, a Russian oligarch by the name of Mr. Fedachenko enjoys the feast prepared by a group of international chefs won at a charity auction. Though the chefs feel something spooky about the area and their host, they are all soon invited to join the Russian so he may thank them for the dinner.

Little did they know, Mr. Fedachenko has more planned for them. A samurai game of the Edo period played by warriors as a test of nerve and courage. Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, or Kaidan, is the name, and with it brings terrifying tales of ghosts and demons now tainted with the common thread of food…

Spotlight Review:

From infamous author and chef, Anthony Bourdain and acclaimed novelist Joel Rose comes a uniquely horrifying story that explores the game of 100 candles, or “Kaidan”. The two brilliantly weave a narrative based on a game of the Japanese Edo period all around a common theme of food. The story quickly establishes a dark setting and progresses into multiple short tales spoken by those who are forced to participate by Mr. Fedachenko, each one horrific in its own way. Using food as a common thread brings an interesting perspective that offers unexpected terrors and thought-provoking concepts.

The artistic direction from Alberto Ponticelli and Vanesa Del Rey, with colors by Jose Villarrubia, contributes beautifully to the dark and mysterious atmosphere surrounding Hungry Ghosts. The differences in the execution of each tale within the first issue help to distinguish the horrors while refraining from straying too far and distracting the reading experience.


Overall, the first issue is a delectable tale of horror that, at its core, is an incredibly original and intriguing take on the samurai game of 100 candles. Hungry Ghosts is a four issue mini-series from Dark Horse’s imprint Berger Books. Issue #2 is set to release on February 28th, 2018 so catch up today!

“We’re using the classic ghost and demon stories as a jumping-off point for stories set all through history and all over the world. They’re not all set in medieval Japan. And we’re putting it in the world of chefs rather than samurai.

There are certain preoccupations that are just non-Western…They are shy about things that we are not shy about. They are very open about other things that we are not. The things that scare or titillate or provoke or excite, it’s different. But fascinating. Translating that to a Western kitchen in the present day has been really interesting. We just did one that came from something that’s very, very unthinkably not Western. The whole concept of the story is just, like, f-cking mind-blowing.

A good story is a good story, regardless where it’s set, or in what time-period…or what medium, for that matter. As long as the visual aspects support that story in a useful and effective way, whether you’re making a film, a television show or a comic book. When those things come together, it’s magic. We have every expectation that’s gonna happen here” – Anthony Bourdain

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