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What made you decide to write a graphic novel? Were you always a fan of the medium and had this story on your mind for a while?
Anthony Bourdain: I've been a comics fan since childhood--when I was a serious collector of early Marvels (1960s, MAD, horror comics--later began collecting EC's, a few Golden Age, and late 60's West Coast Undergrounds). An early ambition was to be the next R. Crumb. Sadly, my illustration skills--while decent--were not up to anywhere near that standard. When Joel Rose brought the idea back up after an earlier discussion, I thought, "What red blooded American boy in his mid fifties wouldn't do a graphic novel if given the chance? Let's try! As long as we can do it right." The fact that Vertigo, very early on, was supportive of the kind of high quality art we were looking for made all the difference.
How have your travels across the world informed this story? Did you draw inspiration from anything specific?
AB: Well, I clearly love Japan--and am obsessed with hyper-fetishistic, uncompromising old school style sushi, and due to my travels, have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time there. But the book reflects a lot of my food obsessions (funky classic brasserie/bistro) and prejudices. Travel changes you. It exposes you to things. My love of street food is certainly a product of my travels.
Food culture as a whole has been a bit of a phenomenon in the media over the last few years, but not so much in comics. Was that part of your motivation for wanting to create Get Jiro?
AB: I think the explosion of interest in chefs and restaurants is certainly easy fodder for satire. But my motivation was really nothing more than to help tell a story that would be fun, extremely bloody, beautifully illustrated--and insanely detailed as to the specifics of cooking and eating. I'm a big fan of classic Japanese cinema, Hammett's Red Harvest, spaghetti westerns and food--so these were obvious elements.
Your co-writer, Joel Rose, and artist Langdon Foss have both done comic work in the past. What was it like working with them, and how did their experience with creating comics help shape the book?
AB: Joel is the very first guy in the world to have ever published me--back when he ran the legendary Lower East Side literary magazine, Between C and D. He's a friend, whose books I admire enormously, who's been supportive--an even instrumental--in my career since the beginning, for over two decades. It surely helped that he also worked on some of the most influential graphic novels of the last decades and that he had previous relationships with Vertigo. Most importantly, he knows how to tell a story. I care less about that. I'm all about dialogue and atmospherics. I think we complement each other's work nicely. I hope so.
"What's an ex-yakuza enforcer turned sushi chef to do, ask culinary expert and author Bourdain (Medium Raw) and co-writer Joel Rose (La Pacifica) in this boisterous lampooning of food culture, a pet project for Bourdain, who seems to revel in the unrestrained narrative allowed in a comic book. Their answer will be enjoyable to anyone versed in samurai revenge stories or the films of Sam Peckinpah.... The book's saving grace is the wonderfully clean and detailed art by an all-star team of artists led by illustrator Foss, whose meticulously researched and composed visuals mirror Jiro's precision with a knife and produce equally appetizing results."--"Publishers Weekly"
"Bourdain...promised 'an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcane, ' and he delivers pretty much exactly that....Bourdain let's his foodie id run wild, extolling the elegant simplicity of a peasant dish like pot-au-feu here and caving in skulls with saute pans there. Foss' stubby, dough-faced figures walk a fine line between goofy and thuggish, and fall apart with great ickiness when dismembered. Equal parts blunt culinary opinion-mongering and satiric takedown of the very same chef-worship culture Bourdain helped create, this amusing diversion coasts comfortably in the wake of the standard bearer of gore-soaked foodie comics..."--"Booklist" --This text refers to the library edition.
- ASIN : B008N2QDM6
- Publisher : Vertigo; Illustrated edition (May 7, 2013)
- Publication date : May 7, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 169860 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 162 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #300,433 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I knew of the Get Jiro story but never looked into it. I was surprised it was a decent story and well drawn. The story would only work in manga form. The idea of a world where empires are run by foodies and restaurants was fascinating. It has the over the top type of violence that just works.
Jiro is a great character. Classic rohnin type of character who is a sushi master and the foodie empires want him due to reports of his battle prowess and the skill of his food.
The story did leave it open for sequals which probably will not happen. Sad and yet that happens in the manga world.
It was fun enough, I just found myself wanting more. It reminded me of Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo", set in a near-future world where chef's rule. It was violent, great fun, but really needed to be fleshed out more. I finished the story feeling unsatisfied, like looking forward to a great meal and having your plate taken away before you were done.
It's too bad, since I'm a fan of all the things Bourdain mentions inspired him to produce "Get Jiro" comics, classic samurai and kung-fu films and of course, food.
My copy, which came in today (7/4/12) had me riveted to the couch, going over every single panel in great detail marvelling over the... well, the detail, the visual in-jokes and reflecting on all the Bourdainisms that I've enjoyed spread throughout his non-fiction works and TV series. It's almost like - well, reading a condensed Alan Moore graphic novel only with crisper art re-imagined by way of Zack Snyder. And to address some early reviewer comments, it's a glossy hardcover, full-color throughout - no corners were cut on the production of this book.
Very briefly, Anthony's set up a three-way brawl between a corporate-foodie chef's empire (could be anyone), an anarcho-raw foodie chef's empire (Alice Waters by way of Whole Foods) and a sushi samurai who ends up being the accidental fist of the oppressed sushi 'n pho immigrant-food community which, for anyone who's followed Bourdain's books, is his deepest love. Casual Bourdain fans will probably not get some of the best bits (how not to eat sushi, the Maguro Bocho sword, the Ortolan scene) but there's enough background elsewhere for casual foodie readers to follow along provided that they understand where Bourdain's coming from. And that's just it - if they don't, then they're probably missing out because the real pleasure comes from catching all the insider aspects where the author's skewering personality shines through. Be aware however that "Get Jiro" is played with a very dry humor - if you can get past the food-rage, they are there in spades.
BTW Jiro, the main character, is almost certainly named after Jiro Ono of "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi" fame - if you doubt, note the attention given to the rice!
One thing that I thought was awesome cool was that a few days after that President Obama ate at the actual Jiro's in Tokyo during a state visit.
Like all great comics, it's left itself wide open for a future of sequels that I'll be anxiously awaiting .
Top reviews from other countries
Beautifully illustrated, wonderfully absurd, pure Bourdain. A solid effort of dipping his toes in a different part of his creative side (while making a few bucks).
In a world addicted to tindering and tweeting, it's nice to just take a few extra minutes and unplug while you're on the porcelain throne, and read this colourful peak into Tony's imagination, the way he probably intended it.
Muy bien dibujado y con excelentes colores.
Y, además de la calidad del comic en si, la presencia de Anthony Bourdain como uno de los autores hace que el libro muestre, sin perjudicar el ritmo ni la trama, muchas nociones sobre comida y del mundo de la gastronomía que no está mal conocer.