Monkey Chef tells the story of the nine months Mike Freiheit spent in South Africa as a chef for a primate sanctuary, preparing food for both the monkeys and their caretakers. The second volume of this series revolves around Michael, one of the laborers at the primate refuge. Though culturally, they have little in common, Mike and Michael become quick friends. Michael has fled Zimbabwe and explains that he was being persued by the forces of Robert Mugabe. Instead of finding refuge in South Africa, Michael begins to draw himself away from the rest of the refuge’s staff, begins to show some troubling behavior.
Mike has a great style that explains situations and tiny details of his time in South Africa that don’t slow the story down at all, but greatly enrich the experience. Raw and honest, Mike deftly illustrates the powerlessness felt by everyone involved when someone is dealing with a mental illness. This is a comic you will want to reread.