Comic Review: “The Hunger Pains: The Unauthorised Parody”

Authors: Stefan Petrucha, Rick Parker

Publisher: Papercutz Slices

(Not to be confused with the Harvard and Mad parodies of the same name.)

Review: As with any and all pop culture phenomenons there come the parodies. Many of them are ripe for parody, having easily distinguishable characters and simple plots to be picked apart. Just in time for the cinematic release of The Hunger Games cinematic adaptation comes this graphic novel spoof of the trilogy of books, condensing the three down to about fifty pages.

The story condensed down pretty effectively. Since a parody doesn’t need to develop the characters or delve into much detail with the setting (both being familiar to the reader) so the bulk of that is done aware with, putting the emphasis on the trilogies set pieces and most memorable moments. On an initial glance would seem that Mad Magazine is the primary influence with a similar approach to character and story related humour but a more accurate Friedberg and Seltzer produced spoof movie with the same level of comedy. Pretty much every other popular movie or television gets dropped into the story for no other reason than to name-check other sources of parody. Glee, Twilight and others get a run, with a couple of pages dedicated to the Glee Cast just…well…being there.

Comedy wise things remain pretty juvenile. ‘Kick Me’ scenes stuck on peoples backs, fart jokes and puns related to names. A prime example would be Cinna being renamed ‘Cinnabun’, with a matching cinnabun head. The satire certainly doesn’t go any deeper than that, but if that type of comedy works for you then you’ll get a couple of worthy giggles.

What’s most frustrating in the lack of care which has been taken in rushing this out to cash in on the current popularity of the source material. The comic artwork isn’t bad per se, but there’s plenty of glaring shortcuts popping up throughout the book. There are very frequent instances of characters being clumsily copy pasted from one panel to the next, sometimes on the same page just making them more distracting. Worse than that some of the characters aren’t even coloured in. If you check out page 32 you’ll see the worst examples of this, with every picture appearing at least twice on the page and the character ‘Sags’ being uncoloured in the first panel. When the writers, illustrators and editors aren’t putting in the effort to deliver a finished product it puts the reader off.

Although brief, it didn’t provide much entertainment. Being a parody of the entire series the humour will be lost on anyone who hasn’t read the books and those who have won’t care much for the shallow parody. If you’ve enjoyed the Paperctuz series in the past, or you like the movies of Friedberg and Seltzer, you’ll enjoy it more than most.