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Review: The Wicker Pasty
From The Bigfoot Studio
Mixing food and some classic Cornish horror. Off the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign and now available in their online store, this is The Wicker Pasty from The Bigfoot Studio.
A Cornish summer and the festival of Gool Hoggan is in full swing.
Researching an episode for his food and folklore series, podcaster Jack Cousens finds himself in the ancient Cornish harbour village of Pendu. There at the invitation of a maverick recipe hunter, he finds a community blessed with exceptional good health and long life, following a faith tradition as old as the neolithic monuments that crown the headland above the village.
But when his friend fails to appear, Jack learns more of local custom and folklore, and while the drums in the streets grow louder he wonders how, and to what purpose, a person could vanish from the knowledge and recall of an entire village.
Written and illustrated by Trystan Mitchell.
Think of the Wicker Man - I’m sure the comparison to that movie is totally intended - and add some food and menu hunting. That is a good place to have your mind when reading this comic.
OK, so there are differences. No policeman is looking for a missing girl. Instead, have the story brought up to date with a culinary podcaster investigating the ways and recipes of a quaint Cornish village.
The first page brings us a fantastic info dump of the ‘quest’ and the village itself. With some folkways and curious good health, it seems just the place for a podcaster to visit for his show. The fact that it is a mobile and Wifi blackspot would set off some alarm bells for me, though!
As we progress through the story, Jack has a dual investigation going on. The first was the location of his friend, Sam, who had arranged to meet him there. He has since gone missing, and the locals seem to have no knowledge of him or what has happened to him. Jack cunningly combines this with his details on the local food, visiting bakers and fishermen. There is some good scope for the art and the story here, and it is mixed in well with some shady phone calls to the mysterious Magister.
Jack does manage to meet the Magister, and all seems well, but after an expressive encounter with the local vicar - who seems to have a minimal flock - some things are beginning to get laid out.
Things reach an excellent crescendo at the end of the story - with the Wicker Pasty, the fate of Sam and the reasons behind the whole thing. There are some excellent twists here, and the speed this moves is perfect.
The art gets a perfect mix. Not only the style of the artwork, with some great use of shadows and colour, but also the angles of certain scenes and use of suspense and the masks (like the front cover) and even the children.
It combines some amazing tropes and even brings some new ones as well.
The story is an intriguing mix of a culinary journey, a mystery, and a bit of a thriller. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves food and mysteries, as well as those who enjoy a good plot twist.
The art and story blend perfectly to create a captivating narrative, and the suspense keeps you turning the pages. The characters are well-crafted, and Jack’s resourcefulness and determination are particularly impressive. The locals, too, are fascinating, each with their own quirks and secrets. The setting, a quiet Cornish village, is a character in itself. It adds to the mystery and intrigue, and its rustic charm is beautifully captured in the artwork.
In conclusion, this is a must-read for those who love a good mystery, enjoy culinary tales, and appreciate great artwork. The story is engaging, the characters are interesting, and the setting is charming. It’s the perfect blend of mystery, food, and art. Here's to more culinary adventures, more mysteries to solve, and more charming Cornish village folkways to discover!
In the meantime, I think I’ll have a pasty!
Check out The Bigfoot Studios and their online store here: