Monday, May 21, 2012

Supersized: Strange Tales from a Fast Food Culture by Morgan Spurlock and Jeremy Barlow

Last year, Morgan Spurlock put out Supersized, which is kind of an unofficial graphic novel companion to his 2004 documentary, Super Size Me. In the movie, Spurlock ate only food from McDonald’s for thirty days and watched the negative affects on his health, which were many. Supersized goes in behind the scenes with even more disturbing facts and stories about fast food and an incredibly creepy faux Ronald McDonald.

Disturbing and creepy are definitely the words to describe this graphic novel. Spurlock writes about every gross thing that could happen at a restaurant like food being dropped on the floor and still served to customers or animal parts being mixed in with your lunch. He also talks about his experience in his documentary and a number of tricks the food industry uses to get people to eat more and more unhealthy food.

The art, from various Dark Horse cartoonists, is bright and fun and a nice contrast to the darker stories. There is also a number of subtle jokes and gags imbedded in the artwork, which adds to the depth of the book.

My overall opinion is a bit split on the book. I appreciate the new stories and information and this is a great format for what Spurlock wanted to accomplish. As a diatribe on the fast food industry, Supersized comes off as too blunt, too disgusting and overreaching. Yet, as a humorous, gross-out graphic novel, it is right on target.

Anyone who enjoyed Spurlock’s documentaries or books, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser or any of the other books detailing the modern food industry will appreciate Supersized.

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