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Get Jiro! Hardcover – July 3, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Get Jiro Series

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Hardcover, July 3, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Q&A with Anthony Bourdain

What made you decide to write a graphic novel? Were you always a fan of the medium and had this story on your mind for a while?

Anthony Bourdain: I've been a comics fan since childhood--when I was a serious collector of early Marvels (1960s, MAD, horror comics--later began collecting EC's, a few Golden Age, and late 60's West Coast Undergrounds). An early ambition was to be the next R. Crumb. Sadly, my illustration skills--while decent--were not up to anywhere near that standard. When Joel Rose brought the idea back up after an earlier discussion, I thought, "What red blooded American boy in his mid fifties wouldn't do a graphic novel if given the chance? Let's try! As long as we can do it right." The fact that Vertigo, very early on, was supportive of the kind of high quality art we were looking for made all the difference.

How have your travels across the world informed this story? Did you draw inspiration from anything specific?

AB: Well, I clearly love Japan--and am obsessed with hyper-fetishistic, uncompromising old school style sushi, and due to my travels, have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time there. But the book reflects a lot of my food obsessions (funky classic brasserie/bistro) and prejudices. Travel changes you. It exposes you to things. My love of street food is certainly a product of my travels.

Food culture as a whole has been a bit of a phenomenon in the media over the last few years, but not so much in comics. Was that part of your motivation for wanting to create Get Jiro?

AB: I think the explosion of interest in chefs and restaurants is certainly easy fodder for satire. But my motivation was really nothing more than to help tell a story that would be fun, extremely bloody, beautifully illustrated--and insanely detailed as to the specifics of cooking and eating. I'm a big fan of classic Japanese cinema, Hammett's Red Harvest, spaghetti westerns and food--so these were obvious elements.

Your co-writer, Joel Rose, and artist Langdon Foss have both done comic work in the past. What was it like working with them, and how did their experience with creating comics help shape the book?

AB: Joel is the very first guy in the world to have ever published me--back when he ran the legendary Lower East Side literary magazine, Between C and D. He's a friend, whose books I admire enormously, who's been supportive--an even instrumental--in my career since the beginning, for over two decades. It surely helped that he also worked on some of the most influential graphic novels of the last decades and that he had previous relationships with Vertigo. Most importantly, he knows how to tell a story. I care less about that. I'm all about dialogue and atmospherics. I think we complement each other's work nicely. I hope so.

Review

"'Get Jiro!'" unfolds in a dystopian version of Los Angeles where today's (mostly) polite and academic discussions about food have evolved into grisly gastronomic feuds.... In some ways, "Get Jiro!" represents a coming-full-circle thing for Mr. Bourdain."—The New York Times

"What's an ex-yakuza enforcer turned sushi chef to do, ask culinary expert and author Bourdain (Medium Raw) and co-writer Joel Rose (La Pacifica) in this boisterous lampooning of food culture, a pet project for Bourdain, who seems to revel in the unrestrained narrative allowed in a comic book. Their answer will be enjoyable to anyone versed in samurai revenge stories or the films of Sam Peckinpah.... The book's saving grace is the wonderfully clean and detailed art by an all-star team of artists led by illustrator Foss, whose meticulously researched and composed visuals mirror Jiro's precision with a knife and produce equally appetizing results."—Publishers Weekly

"Bourdain...promised 'an ultra-violent slaughter-fest over culinary arcane,' and he delivers pretty much exactly that....Bourdain let's his foodie id run wild, extolling the elegant simplicity of a peasant dish like pot-au-feu here and caving in skulls with sauté pans there.  Foss' stubby, dough-faced figures walk a fine line between goofy and thuggish, and fall apart with great ickiness when dismembered. Equal parts blunt culinary opinion-mongering and satiric takedown of the very same chef-worship culture Bourdain helped create, this amusing diversion coasts comfortably in the wake of the standard bearer of gore-soaked foodie comics..."—Booklist
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Product Details

  • Series: Get Jiro!
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401228275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401228279
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. C. Kinder on July 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really liked Get Jiro. I liked the snide references, the in jokes, the sheer bloody mindedness of the whole production. What makes it all work, the pulsing vein under the tattooed skin, is Bourdain's profound love of food, of the craft of cooking and of the cooks who make it. It is that love of "The Good Stuff" that so often translates as snobbishness, when in fact it is the soul of a connoisseur. That soul is on proud display in Get Jiro.

The plot is lifted directly from Yojimbo and other similar films. A badass comes into town, and two rival warlords battle each other for his services. Here that badass is Jiro, a super traditional Edo style sushi chef, willing to decapitate a customer for violating sushi etiquette. His blade work (pun very much intended)gets him noticed and the two warlords set out to recruit him. I am not sure who the industrial-internationalist chef is supposed to be modeled on, I suspect he is an amalgamation of chefs and business owners Bourdain has known over the years. The eco-warrior/locovore/organic chef is a blatant riff on Alice Waters. I am reminded of the essay in Medium Raw where he compares her food philosophy to that of the Khmer Rouge. Not favorably.

The interesting thing about Get Jiro, and staying true to the Yojimbo format, is that both sides are shown to be absolute bastards. Not stupid, not incapable of producing good food. Just the reverse- both sides produce great food. Just that each camp falls into it's own unique corruption and hubris. Growing in the cracks between the two ideological camps are taco vendors who's food might not be remotely authentic, but are tasty and use good ingredients. Standing in line for a Vietnamese sandwich and eating it with delight.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow, looking through some of these reviews I've got to say... tough crowd.

My copy, which came in today (7/4/12) had me riveted to the couch, going over every single panel in great detail marvelling over the... well, the detail, the visual in-jokes and reflecting on all the Bourdainisms that I've enjoyed spread throughout his non-fiction works and TV series. It's almost like - well, reading a condensed Alan Moore graphic novel only with crisper art re-imagined by way of Zack Snyder. And to address some early reviewer comments, it's a glossy hardcover, full-color throughout - no corners were cut on the production of this book.

Very briefly, Anthony's set up a three-way brawl between a corporate-foodie chef's empire (could be anyone), an anarcho-raw foodie chef's empire (Alice Waters by way of Whole Foods) and a sushi samurai who ends up being the accidental fist of the oppressed sushi 'n pho immigrant-food community which, for anyone who's followed Bourdain's books, is his deepest love. Casual Bourdain fans will probably not get some of the best bits (how not to eat sushi, the Maguro Bocho sword, the Ortolan scene) but there's enough background elsewhere for casual foodie readers to follow along provided that they understand where Bourdain's coming from. And that's just it - if they don't, then they're probably missing out because the real pleasure comes from catching all the insider aspects where the author's skewering personality shines through. Be aware however that "Get Jiro" is played with a very dry humor - if you can get past the food-rage, they are there in spades.

BTW Jiro, the main character, is almost certainly named after Jiro Ono of "Jiro Dreams Of Sushi" fame - if you doubt, note the attention given to the rice!
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Format: Hardcover
Renowned Chef and best selling author Anthony Bourdain grew up a fan of comic books. He loved the work of comic legend Will Eisner. He aspired to one day make comics. In the Vertigo original graphic novel Get Jiro! Bourdain follows in the footsteps of his comic idols and puts pictures to his words. Along with co-writer Joel Rose and artist Langdon Foss, Bourdain gives a twisted and violent look at the future of a food obsessed society and the proper presentation of sushi.

The story focuses on the sushi chef Jiro. We learn right away is that Jiro does not suffer fools in his sushi restaurant. When a patron dishonors Jiro by sloppily eating his nigiri and requesting a California Roll, Jiro slices his head off. Instead of the police getting Jiro, the top two restaurant financiers in the world seek out the sushi chef to have him bring his passion for good food to their establishments.

In the not too distant future, the new power in the world is its chefs. Two chefs rein supreme. Bob, of Global Affiliates, churns out chain restaurants to feed his bank account treating the masses as uncouth sheep. Then there is Rose, of the Farm, whose devotion to local grown organic goods inspires zealotry in her followers. These two chefs run mob-like organizations and are out to get Jiro.

Bourdain and Joel Rose explore the dueling nature of the food cultures brilliantly, playing up the hypocrisy of both sides. Jiro, while protective of his food and how it is enjoyed, remains outside of the fanaticism of these food mafias.

Much of Bourdain's personality can be seen in the graphic novel. Bourdain exudes his views on food culture and the games among chefs that have overtaken the importance of quality food.
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