REVIEW: ‘Recipes For The Dead’ #3

(Greentea Publishing, 2014)

Recipes for the Dead #3: Steam Minted Meringue
Written by Vera Greentea
Art by Allison Strom
Lettering by Adam Wollet

*Recipes for the Dead #3: Steam Minted Meringue will debut this coming weekend at New York Comic Con

By most accounts the business of indie comics is a struggle, a grind against time.  If you have the stamina and more than a little bit of talent, you have but a chance.  This is not meant to be disparaging to any who dream of making comics.  If you feel the need to make them, then by all means do so.  That statement is but a foreshadowing of what you may have to endure on the road to becoming successful.

Indie creators today have a niche that I don’t think was there ten or even five years ago.  The second-tier of publishers like IDW and Boom! Studios often find new talent from the indie scene, and the opportunities for indie books to self-publish and find an audience is more prevalent than ever with crowd-funding options.  (I of course, mean no disrespect by the assignation of second tier, only that they, and a host of others, are not of the BIG TWO.)

Vera Greentea is on the cusp.  As an indie publisher, Greentea has six books beneath her label of Greentea Publishing, including Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits, Papa, and Recipes for the Dead.  Each is a unique story, often involving ghosts or other partially visible nasties, and the third installment of Recipes is no different.

Recipes for the Dead #3: Steam Minted Meringue continues the story of bakery owner Veronica, who recently “liberated” a certain strange cookbook from its previous owner.  Said book involves no small amount of sugary and delicious sorcery, which provides tasty and sinisterly sweet treats.

Greentea has a talent with stories like this and it’s hard to read a preview copy without spoiling too much.  Part of her success as a publisher is most definitely on her perfect choices in artists.  Much like with Nenetl, in which Laura Muller took the artistic reins, in Recipes, Allison Strom is a huge part in the overall feeling the book leaves you with.  Her art is visually stunning, and paired with Greentea’s captivating story, it makes me wondering why neither one of them is working in more mainstream comics.  But of course, if they were, we wouldn’t have these little tidbits to keep us awake at night.

Strom’s style is very manga-inspired and animation based.  Her characters look like they could step into a Disney film and feel right at home, and that’s part of the reason I think they work so well in this book. Her art gives a fantasy feel to the book when it could feel more horror-based with darker art.  Ok, now I’m going to spoil one little thing, but it is only in reference to Ms. Strom and Ms. Greentea, who I hope will read this.  (And of course, to build up great expectation in all of those readers who will rush out to buy this and see what I’m talking about…)  The reveal on the Demon from the Bank of Elegance, that, my friends, was wonderful.  The imagery was perfect and so strangely great.  (See what I did there?  Now you must go out and buy it…c’mon you know you want to be one of the cool kids.)

Recipes for the Dead is like a sugar rush, and number three in the series is no different.  It leaves you wanting more, and when you’ve finished it feels like it was gone too soon.  But the beauty of these books is that they are indie comics at their best.  Greentea Publishing continues to produce some of the most beautiful and professional looking books on the indie market…and they’re good reads as well, which is a pairing that adds up to comic gold.


Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.

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