Gorebrah! The Mightiest Chef In The Universe! was only introduced in The Phoenix comic a couple of years ago, yet this first graphic novel collection of stories shows exactly why it has become such a favourite with readers.
Gorebrah is a kind-hearted barbarian chef who, after unleashing his dramatic battle cry, literally smashes into each the first panel of each story. He meets characters struggling for culinary inspiration and immediately sets about creating bizarre and outlandish recipes, such as Werewolf Donuts and Zombie Lasagne. However, when disaster inevitably arrives, Gorebrah must think on his feet in order to save the day. There are also several short, magazine-style articles (e.g.Top Tips For Hosting A Dinner Party) interspersed between the main stories.
The book is flavoured throughout with energy and humour and is an absolute feast for the eyes. Each page serves up a helping (too many cookery puns?) of vibrant artwork, unusual characters and amusing wordplay. A story set in a wrestling ring and featuring two barbarian chefs battling to create the perfect egg dish is titled Omelettes, Get Ready To Rumble! Ambitious and challenging vocabulary is used throughout the book’s pages, and it is quickly apparent that James Stayte, the creator, has maintained the high standard of writing that The Phoenix is known for. As with many of the best children’s comic strips, there is also an occasional joke deliberately aimed above the heads of its intended readers. (I spotted a couple of references to the horror films of director John Carpenter.)
Although Gorebrah! The Mightiest Chef In The Universe! is a recent addition to my classroom, it has already gained a cult following. Feedback has been positive; it’s a quick read, it’s full of jokes, and it’s a lot of fun. From a teaching perspective, there is the potential to use the articles as an engaging way to explore instructional writing. This is my first introduction to the work of James Stayte, and it is clear that he is an exciting addition to The Phoenix team.
You may also be interested in Corpse Talk, another collection originating from The Phoenix.
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