Written by Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes
Artwork by Mikel Janín
Inks by Vicente Cifuentes, Colors by Jeromy Cox
Chef’s Note: The question of whether ghosts get hungry* is a fascinating one. As we have seen before, it is common for people from many cultures to engage in the practice of leaving food for the dead. In many of those traditions, the food offered up is not eaten, per se. Instead, the essence of the food is somehow ingested or absorbed by the spirits in question.
Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is veneration of the dead, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths. Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living.
The second tier of the altar is the most personal, furnished with a thoughtful selection of ofrendas for the remembered deceased. Special care is given to the composition of this layer by those creating the ofrendas, giving due consideration to the important things their loved ones most enjoyed during the course of their lifetime.
In remembrance of deceased children, toy and game sets, cuddly toys, as well as candy and snacks they enjoyed may be placed here. For adults, it’s traditional to leave samples of the food and drink they especially enjoyed (or the ingredients which make them).
Here, though, we are seeing a ghost who does not want any kind of “spiritual” food. He wants real food: a triple bacon cheeseburger, in fact. And, here’s the thing: he’s totally willing to take over someone’s body to get one.
If you’ve been following this project you will know that superheroes seem to have thing with stealing other people’s food. Now, it is technically true that, being dead, Boston did not physically take Larry’s delicious burger away from him. So perhaps this is not theft from a strictly legal point of view.
But we cannot ignore the fact that Larry, like anyone who has just ordered a meal, was probably very much looking forward to enjoying his Big Belly lunch. And then along comes Boston who “couldn’t resist taking possession of him” and stealing the whole culinary experience. And what does poor Larry get? Just a bit of a bigger belly. Not cool, Boston!
* Note: we are not talking about Hungry Ghosts, which are whole different thing:
The term is not to be confused with the generic term for “ghost” or damnation, 鬼 guǐ (i.e. the residual spirit of a deceased ancestor). The understanding is that all people become such a regular ghost when they die, and would then slowly weaken and eventually die a second time. Hungry ghosts, by contrast, are a much more exceptional case, and would only occur in very unfortunate circumstances, such as if a whole family were killed or when a family no longer venerated their ancestors.