'Hot Lunch Special' Brings Family Drama to Crime Comics

The new series by Eliot Rahal and Jorge Fornes launches in August.
Jorge Fornes/AfterShock Comics
The new series by Eliot Rahal and Jorge Fornes launches in August.

Who knew that the Midwestern sandwich industry was so cutthroat?

Hot Lunch Special, a new comic book series from Cult Classic and Quantum and Woody’s Eliot Rahal, and artist Jorge Fornes, has an immediate appeal, according to its writer. “In its simplest terms, it’s a story about a small-town family with big dreams that gets a little too big for their shoes,” Rahal tells Heat Vision. “They take on more than they can chew, and end up getting into a bloody and merciless war with one of the most feared Irish crime syndicates in America.”

The series centers around the Khourys, the self-proclaimed “sandwich kings of Minnesota” for decades. But now things are beginning to go wrong for the Arab-American family. “An ancient contract has been broken and the Irish mob has come to collect a debt,” Rahal explains. “War has been declared. And Dorothy Khoury isn’t so sure that her father — the family patriarch, Jordan Khoury Sr. — is capable of doing what it takes to claim victory. But the book is also so, so much more than that.”

Indeed, the writer said that the story is so personal that he’s nervous now that he’s finally able to tell it. “The characters, who have been so beautifully brought to life by Jorge, are inspired by the kinds of people I grew up around. The people I was raised by — my family — it's incredibly personal. But because of that, I think people are going to be able to really connect to it. Many millennials such as myself have a complicated relationship with their parents and siblings. Most can relate. No one can piss you off more than your loved ones. So I'm trying to bring as much of that into this story.”

Hot Lunch Special, he promised, is “about the people that define us, and how we find our individual identities despite them. This story is all of the crazy stories that grandparents pass down to their children. It's about our best and worst birthdays. It's about the pain. The joy. And the love.”

The first issue of the series marks the beginning of Rahal’s relationship with publisher AfterShock Comics.

“AfterShock is a well-oiled machine and I honestly feel like I’m on a rollercoaster ride," he said. The series will be released in comic book stores and digitally Aug. 8, with a variant cover from Robert Hack. But Rahal has one last reason people should pick up the comic. “Seriously, you just need to buy this book because of Jorge,” he said. “I mean. Every page is just so dang pretty to look at.”

Judge for yourself with exclusive preview art below.