Venturing into the Wild Wilderness of ‘The Smell of Starving Boys’

Nearing the festive season with the bitter winter chill in the air it’s arguably ideal weather to be staying indoors and catching up on the wealth of fantastic graphic novels which publisher SelfMadeHero have released this year. So what better time to check out what has to be one of their finest releases of 2017, the simply stunning ‘The Smell of Starving Boys’ written by Loo Hui Phang (Panorama ) and illustrated by Frederik Peeters (Blue Pills)



What’s particularly impressive about this remarkable book is the way it’s been printed as a phenomenal deluxe hardback (with dust jacket) which beautifully sets the tone of the story. Set in 1872,‘The Smell of Starving Boys’ takes us to USA post-Civil war  following the exploits of geologist Stingley and his photographer Oscar Forrest, accompanied by a young assistant Milton. The three are eager to explore unchartered territories with the hope of being on the cusp of a whole new foundation of civilisation in the West. However the territories they’re exploring are the homeland of  the ‘hostiles’. These Comanche natives have been pushed to their very limits and everything is at stake as the frontiersmen seek their wealth in the untamed wilderness. But in doing so they uncover more about themselves and in particular Milton who certainly isn’t everything he appears to be…

What strikes you immediately about ‘The Smell of Starving Boys’ is the sheer cinematic scale of the graphic novel. Frederik Peeters incredible artwork wonderfully conveys the grand scale of the Wild West, with vibrant deep earthy tones in his rocky landscapes. Also the characters are fantastically rendered and we really see the clash of the prospectors evidently out of their depth amidst the hordes of hostiles and roaming cattle. In particular the scenes of stamping buffalo convey an impressive sense of action and movement rarely seen on the page and it’s something which is sure to keep you pouring over those panels long after you’ve read the story.

But of course not forgetting Loo Hui Phang’s writing which will keep you fixed to the pages.‘The Smell of Starving Boys’ is far more than a standard Western adventure, and it’s impressive within such a familiar setting you’re kept constantly on your toes, with elements of unsuspected romance and even the supernatural! It’s far different to anything you’ve read before and is sure to be a book you’ll return to time and time again.

We loved‘The Smell of Starving Boys’ , it’s an impressively multi layered story, with incredible illustrations presented in a simply stunning package. Absolutely ideal for Christmas- grab yours now from