When I’m not playing games on The Hour Cosmic, I am often writing about the comics industry – new creative teams taking over books, some reviews, a little bit of everything. My bread and butter are mainstream comics – the site I write for/edit, Multiversity Comics, travels mainly in such comics. #FoodPorn, by Meghan Turbitt, is about as far from a Superman comic as you can get. Sadly, many people don’t realize that comics mean everything from Peanuts to Batman to American Splendor. Sequential art – that is to say, a series of panels, telling a story – can be about everything and anything.
Even hot guys feeding you, followed by sex.
Turbitt and I met in the very pizza parlor, Roscoe’s Pizza in Brooklyn, that the book was first thought up. You see, Turbitt was here eating, and she was taken by one of the cooks in the place, and began to fantasize about him feeding, and fucking, her.
From there, the book delves into a few other cuisines, but the point remains the same: attractive, often swarthy, men, preparing food and feeding it to Turbitt in a way that isn’t exactly forceful, but isn’t exactly casual either.
The work itself manages to walk the line between funny, frightening, sexy, and hunger-inducing. Turbitt’s illustrations are slightly distorted views of real life - she has a heavy line that can, when she wants, distort the world in a sinister way; however, she can also make moments feel absolutely real and human by simplifying the panels down to the bare essentials. She is a cartoonist who doesn’t attempt to ape any style but her own.
What is readily apparent from any interaction with Turbitt is that she doesn’t suffer from the process of filtering her thoughts like the rest of us do. She is fearless, both in her art and in her conversations, and that fearlessness is charming, if not a little disconcerting, too. While we chatted, although she claimed to be nervous to be interviewed, I was never quite at ease, for I felt that such a pure artist would clearly call bullshit on me for any number of things. This wasn’t the case, of course – it turns out that Turbitt is a very sweet person, but her honesty and self-assured nature can look intimidating to those of us who second, third, and fourth guess everything we say or do.
But a cursory look at her work reveals someone who is so in tune with her creative impulses, whose id and ego playing a different game than mine, that she exudes confidence in such a complete and pure way that she is fine laying out her innermost thoughts, desires, fears, and fantasies for everyone to see, without fear. Or, that is to say, without fear stopping her.
#FoodPorn is equal parts about food and sex, as the title suggests, but in her real life (like most of us, I presume), Turbitt doesn’t really mix the two, and described the idea of food in bed as gross. What struck me when talking with her was how passionate she was about food – the pizza at Roscoe’s, for instance. We met there when the place was closed, but they were preparing to open. The smell of dough baking, of sauce simmering, perfectly set the stage for our conversation. For you see, we were talking about eating and sex, two incredible tactile experiences, and yet we were both fidgeting with our hands, instead of holding a slice.
And that is one of the great things about her work – even though you can’t smell the fresh oregano from your couch, she does the hard work for you. It is in the expressiveness of her work that she makes up for the lack of any sense but sight. The food looks good; the sex looks titillating (if not a little too real to be truly porn). Throughout her entire body of work, Turbitt evokes the most true human emotions and experiences – shame, fear, lust, hunger – and brings them out of her head and onto the page, and from where I’m sitting, the experience loses very little in translation.
See selected pages from Turbitt's work below.