The Smell of Hungry Boys: an atypical western | Review


Published on Jan 25, 2018


The new year for the publisher Bao Publishing begins with a cartoon of a large size, a volume that is special, which sees the pencils, an author who the publishing house already knows very well: the swiss Frederik Peeters, which are published for Bao the acclaimed Blue Pills and the saga of science fiction Aâma, only to mention some of his works arrived in Italy.

With this new title, The Smell of Hungry Guys, Peeters illustrates the script of Loo Hui Phang, writer and versatile artist in the world of comics worked with several designers in Italy, we can read his one hundred thousand Days of Prayer, published by Coconino Press.

From the first pages the reader understands that The Smell of Hungry Guys is not the classic western: the protagonist, in fact, is not a sheriff, and even a bandit, but a photographer of the second half of the Nineteenth century, with a past to leave behind. He is in journey to the west with a geologist wiry and a boy skilled with the horses to explore that territory in the wild and document it, in order to evaluate the founding of new cities and create a “perfect world”: all the while the natives of the place observed from a distance.

Of the three main characters, none is what it seems and everyone has something to hide: the tense relations between the protagonists add a menacing pursuer and a mysterious power that many are those who covet and want to take advantage of. But the protagonist of this story is the desire, considered by the supporters of progress, an obstacle to be removed in favour of science.

In The Smell of Hungry Guys, the story and its protagonists are told through a screenplay made yes to dialogue, but also of silence and expectations, of the characters that observe and being observed: all set in the vast desolate landscape of the prairies of the american West, inhabited by the Comanche, and by the herds of mustang wild, before the arrival of the civilization of the so-called “progress”.

The large size tables allow you to best appreciate the scenery, including landscapes upside down, which simulate the vision of the lens of the camera. The colors are saturated and often the hot and the cold are set in contrast: the day the yellow and the orange of the landscape is in contrast to the clear blue sky, while at night the red reassuring of the fire stands in the middle of the blue of the night environment. The other contrast is given by the presence of dream scenes and the blue, often visions of the protagonist photographer, that haunt him due to his past.

Quoting the publisher Bao, The Smell of Hungry Guys is a “western emotional atypical” in which the emphasis is on the importance of desire and love, the most primitive, and is told as something essential and even inevitable, a need essential to the whole of humanity, even those who would do less: it is a read that will charm even non-lovers of the environments in the western.

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