Publisher – Iron Circus Comics
Writers - Blue Delliquanti with Soleil Ho
Artist – Blue Delliquanti
Yarrow is trying to join a restaurant run by an influential chef named Chanda, who has no time for foolishness when it comes to insects and cuisine. Meanwhile, Yarrow and her neighbor Milani are starting to catch feelings for each other.
A key part of what makes Meal such an engaging read is its approach to insect-based cooking. Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho do a wonderful job of informing readers about it without damaging the pacing. Some of the characters not only know the ends and outs of how to prep creatures like mealworms, but also have their own personal reasons for engaging in the practice. It gives weight to the cooking, and adds a type of character depth rarely seen in comics. Even when things are not about cooking or insects, various characters maintain their own unique identity through solid characterization.
Delliquanti's art is solid in making the world of Meal appealing to the eye. The layouts make the flow of action visually clear without feeling dull. Characters emote in their own charming ways without feeling stiff or inconsistent in tone. Although the art uses a grayscale palette, clarity and mood do not get sacrificed.
Outside of the main story, additional material is included. The highlight of the extra content is the essay "How Can I Describe the Taste of Chicatanas?" by Ho. It is a fascinating read that delves into the thoughts of those who engage insect-based cuisine. While not essential to understanding more about Meal, it satisfies on its own, and feels like a natural extension of the graphic novel. There are recipes, tips, and suggested reading for those with more than a passing interest in the subject matter.
The lettering is pretty solid. Sound effects have a simple elegance to them. Dialogue that continues off-panel is not emphasized with caption boxes. Instead, the text is given a white border around each letter. That makes the text on the page pop out in an uncommon way. One of the coolest parts in regards to the lettering is in the back of the graphic novel. Key characters in Meal are given their own written signatures. It is a small little thing that adds an extra bit of charm to the work.
Overall, Meal is worth a look. Deliquanti and Ho have made something that educates and entertains, regardless of one's experience with cooking. Those who are seriously interested in the subject matter should seriously consider getting a copy of their own.