The Hunger Pains is a graphic novel written by Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Rick Parker. It was published in February 2012 and is the fourth in the Papercutz Slices line, a series of graphic novel parodies about popular series published by Papercutz. The Hunger Pains parodies all three books of The Hunger Games trilogy, omitting multiple characters and events.
One night, Ratkiss Everspleen notices that her sister Dim is not sleeping next to her, likely having wet the bed and run off. She is then spat on by a hockingjay perched on the windowsill. The birds were made from a cross between hockey players and jaybirds in an attempt to create flying soldiers. However all they do is spit on people. Ratkiss responds by throwing Dim’s cat, Butterbutt, at it. The following morning at breakfast, Dim asks her if she will be sad if she died, such as if she became a medic and was burned to death. Ratkiss meets up with her hunting partner Flail, and they proceed to hunt virtual ducks using a bow and arrows tipped with suction cups and a Nerf gun. Afterwards they eat the virtual ducks and take the virtual food back home. Ratkiss explains that they live in Ditch 12, which mines virtual coal. Occasionally there is a virtual explosion, which was how her father died. She then recalls why Dim was so concerned about dying. Today is Deleting, which involves two children from each ditch being chosen to fight to the death on TV.
At the Deleting, Dim yells at Ratkiss that it would be against the odds if she were chosen first, but she is. Ratkiss volunteers despite being told that participation in the games is optional and that no one even needs to go this year, as she wants to win the prizes that the winners receive. The second person chosen is Peeka Choo, who Ratkiss remembers having met before. When she was eleven, she was outside his family’s bakery in the rain and starving, pretending to eat their bread. His mother saw her and told him to give Ratkiss a loaf of bread, but he refused, and was kicked out of the bakery with the bread. Furious at having been interrupted in the middle of a game he was about to get a high score on, Peeka attacked Ratkiss with the loaf and since then has wanted to kill her. The two then meet with their mentor, Heybitch Blubbernasty, but he is passed out on the ground drunk and after standing over him for an hour and poking him with sticks, they leave him.
Peeka and Ratkiss are taken to the Capital where they are prepared for the parade. Cinnabun, Ratkiss’ stylist, decides to douse her with gas and set it on fire to turn her into a living flame, burning her costume off. She still participates in the parade despite her burns and realizes that Cinnabun is right, that she is so beautiful that she should be recognized as such. This is ruined by the appearance of a hockingjay, which reminds her that her father is not there to see her. She aims for the hockingjay with her bow and arrow and kills it. During the subsequent interview, Dweezer Flickerface asks her several questions, but her only response to all of them is “I dunno.” Peeka on the other hand does much better, ending with the statement he wants to kill Ratkiss most of all.
The Games begin with all the participants trapped in jello surrounding a pile of gifts and waiting for a gong to start. Ratkiss is not sure what Heybitch advised her and Peeka to do, which causes her to hesitate when the gong sounds. She takes off, but stops when she realizes she has run in the wrong direction, as she had decided to ignore Heybitch’s advice and grab what she could. However she has missed her chance, so she decides to see if the other contestants will start killing each other. However Peeka convinces them to cooperate and gang up on Ratkiss because "she sucks," so she makes a run for the tallest tree she sees in order to spit on them. However when she trips and falls, Ratkiss notices Pew, the smallest participant, who is from Ditch Disney. Pew is stuck in a hole in an earthen wall and offers Ratkiss an alliance, telling her that there are honey bees nearby. Ratkiss breaks off the branch containing the hive and throws it at her pursuers, which appears to work until one of them throws a spear which lands on and impales Pew. Ratkiss fulfills Pew’s final request by holding the spear that impaled her, ignoring her pain, and singing a song to her. The singing inspires the participants from Ditch Glee to join in and start singing along. When they start dancing as well, Ratkiss takes advantage of the situation by killing them all with her bow and arrows. She is distracted by going through their pockets and discovers that Peeka has appeared. He suggests that they show the government that they are both not “mindless slaves only interested in winning” and offers Ratkiss some berries. She believes they are poisonous, which he tries to deny, before they suddenly go after each other and begin to fight. Ratkiss is confused by the emotions that rush over her and wonders if Peeka actually is in love with her before grabbing some berries and stuffing them into his mouth. However she is suddenly stopped by an announcer, who reveals that the audience hates Rat and loves Peeka so much that they have decided to make the contest a tie. Ratkiss however is adamant that she will not share the prizes and has to be forcibly separated from Peeka.
Following the end of the Games, things improve for Ratkiss and her family as they now have more fake food than they can eat, but Dim continues to ask her about hypothetical situations. One day she is visited by President Snowglobe, who tells her that the situation in the ditches has deteriorated. It began as a fight over which was better, Harry Potter or the Twilight Saga, before the Twilight fans began fighting amongst themselves and the trouble escalated to the other ditches. Something has to be done to distract the ditches, and Ratkiss eagerly asks if Snowglobe wants her to kill Peeka, but he instead tells her that he wants her to pretend to like him. If she actually does like him, he wants her to pretend to hate him. She has to comply or her family’s virtual food will be taken away.
Peeka and Ratkiss are chained together at the ankles and put on stage before a live audience for the Pants on Fire Tour. During the tour they use various means of fighting each other, but by the time they actually set each other's pants on fire the audience has had enough of the spectacle and has dispersed. Ratkiss returns home still chained to Peeka to find a message from Snowglobe in the snow globe that he left her. They learn from Heybitch that they will have to participate in the Games again with other past champions. Before passing out Heybitch tells them that he has friends among the champions who they should listen to, to which Ratkiss replies that she will, but will kill Peeka this time, which he overhears.
For the new Games, all the contestants stand on a large multi-colored wheel called the Round Thing of Fortune. Ratkiss recognizes some of the prior winners, such as Finicky, Sags, Hohanna, Pee Pee, and Toysrus. When the wheel spins to start the Games, the first thing that everyone faces that is chosen is evolving monkeys. A horde of monkeys bursts out of the jungle and chases them, rapidly evolving as time goes by to the point that they realize that chasing the contestants is a waste of time and stop on their own. When the contestants stop, Ratkiss draws her bow and arrow and aims at Peeka, when Finicky finds a giant letter “A”. He and Hohanna grab Ratkiss, which throws her aim off, causing the arrow to hit Sags. They drag her into the giant A while Peeka watches and come out of the arena on top of a UFO, which takes them to Ditch Thirteen.
Here Ratkiss discovers that Ditch Thirteen was not destroyed and that its people want to destroy the Capital to build a society without Games, but more silly costumes. Her family and Flail are also there. The rebels have Ratkiss dress up as a Hockingjay primarily to distract the real birds so that the rebels don’t get spit on, which they really hate. She arranges with Thelma Groin to do this on the condition that she get to kill Peeka, but is unable to say his name when Groin suggest Snowglobe, which she agrees to. Flail hears this and runs off, causing Ratkiss to pursue him. When she demands to know what it is, he asks why she does not want to kill him. However Butterbutt attacks her, which allows Flail to escape. Ratkiss finally comes across him working with Pee Pee and Dim on exploding paper airplanes which the rebels will use as weapons. She is confused about what she really feels but cannot express this.
Peeka is rescued from the Capital and returned via UFO. Ratkiss tries to attack him upon his return, but realizes that something is wrong and he suddenly confesses that he loves her upon seeing her. She tries to make him remember who she is and actually attack her, giving up when he claims that he could never hurt her. However when she briefly turns her back Peeka draws a gun but quickly hides it behind his back when she turns around. As the war continues, Ratkiss is sent to broadcast propaganda as the Hockingjay from various battles. Her camera crew puts her in dangerous situations by having her back up until she falls each time, although she survives to see the impending fall of the Capital. While posing with the rest of her squad for a shot, the cameraman is killed by a bomb.
The squad decides to push into the Capital to reach Snowglobe, traveling via the sewers. Here Peeka tells Ratkiss that Groin sent him to kill her because she is a threat to her and declares that he does love her just as he tries to stab her. However he misses and Ratkiss tells him that she loves him as well when she manages to stab and kill him. Flail is shocked, not at Peeka’s death, but because Ratkiss does not have the same kind of passion in her voice when she talks to him. They both emerge from the sewers onto the streets of the Capital and decide to obtain disguises, going with Winkie costumes. They discover that the refugees, having spent their entire lives watching TV, cannot believe what is actually happening. After taking his costume off, Flail is recognized by some female Capital citizens who think he is hotter than Jacob, forcing Ratkiss to go ahead. When she reaches Snowglobe's mansion, she discovers that he has rounded up every kitten and puppy in the city to form a Fluffy Wall to protect himself. Dim then suddenly appears overhead riding a giant exploding paper airplane, which she announces to Ratkiss was given to her by Groin so that she can save the puppies, although she thinks that is a non-explosive plane. Ratkiss can only watch as it flies into the mansion and explodes, killing Dim.
She awakens in the hospital, realizing that Dim is dead and with the war over, there will be no more prizes from the Games. As soon as she can walk, she visits Snowglobe, who is chained and lying in the basement surrounded by snow globes. When he sees her he tells Ratkiss that he kept insisting that the Games were optional and that no one had to die. Ratkiss learns that she will be the one to execute Snowglobe with Flail and Heybitch by her side, although she knows who it was who was behind sending Peeka to kill her and Dim’s death. On the day of the execution, which will be televised, Groin has Butterbutt on her lap. Ratkiss thinks about what Snowglobe has done and instead of shooting him, tries to shoot Groin, but misses and hits Butterbutt instead. Butterbutt turns out to be a mutant cat that can talk and is shocked that Ratkiss discovered that she was behind Peeka’s brainwashing and Dim’s death. She reveals that she set this up because Dim was really annoying and always dressing her up before dying.
Years later Ratkiss decides to marry Flail and they settle down into domestic routine. She cooks virtual meals and washes virtual dishes while he e-commutes to his virtual job. When he pretends to come home every weeknight, he pretends to give her a kiss. They then sit together and watch their virtual children play virtual games and every now and then Ratkiss reminds herself that there are worse games, such as various video games.
|Hunger Games name||Hunger Pains equivalent||Description|
|Katniss Everdeen||Ratkiss Everspleen||Wields a bow and arrows which are tipped with suction cups. She is obsessed with winning the prizes from the Games and hates hockingjays.|
|Peeta Mellark||Peeka Choo||Hates Ratkiss for preventing him from getting a high score years ago and tries to kill her several times.|
|Gale Hawthorne||Flail||Ratkiss' hunting partner who wields a Nerf gun. He is troubled by Ratkiss not displaying the same degree of emotion when talking to him as she does with Peeka.|
|Haymitch Abernathy||Heybitch Blubbernasty||An alcoholic who is passed out drunk most of the time and lives in a cardboard box.|
|Primrose "Prim" Everdeen||Dim Everspleen||Has a habit of asking Ratkiss hypothetical questions about how she would handle events that happen to the actual Prim, such as her death.|
|Effie Trinket||Unnamed man in a suit.|
|Rue||Pew||Winnie the Pooh, who Ratkiss encounters stuck in an earthen wall, alluding to Pooh being stuck in Rabbit's front door.|
|Cinna||Cinnabun||A dark skinned man with a cinnamon roll shaped head. He decides to turn Ratkiss into a living flame by dousing her with gasoline and setting it on fire.|
|Coriolanus Snow||President Snowglobe||Carries a snow globe which can show what is going on in Panslam. Also smells of blood and roses, but denies this.|
|Caesar Flickerman||Dweezer Flickerface||A blonde man with glasses in a suit.|
|Claudius Templesmith||Unnamed blonde man in a suit.||Stops the first Games and later announces the beginning of the Pants on Fire tour.|
|Buttercup||Butterbutt||A purple female mutant cat that can talk. Engineered Peeka's brainwashing and Dim's death.|
|Marvel||Unnamed purple skinned man with black hair who wears a diaper.||Arms himself with a spear during the Games which he kills Pew with, although he threw it without looking. He later appears with the rebels in Ditch Thirteen.|
|Mrs. Mellark||Mrs. Choo||Saw Ratkiss outside her bakery and was the one who decided to give her the bread, having to force Peeka to do so.|
|Mrs. Everdeen||Mrs. Everspleen||A thin woman with baggy eyes who does not say a word.|
|Finnick Odair||Finicky||Won the Games when he was five.|
|Mags||Sags||The first winner of the Games, an elderly woman with a wig who uses two crutches.|
|Johanna Mason||Hohanna||Ate her opponents.|
|Beetee||Pee Pee||Along with Toysrus, famous for thinking he is smarter than he is. Later involved with constructing explosive paper airplanes at Ditch Thirteen.|
|Wiress||Toysrus||Along with Pee Pee, famous for thinking she is smarter than she is.|
|Alma Coin||Thelma Groin||A slim woman with black hair who favors sleeveless dress and black boots. Her role as an antagonist is largely assumed by Butterbutt.|
|The Hunger Games name||The Hunger Pains name||Description|
|Panem||Panslam||"Replaced that other country after a big war about that thingie."|
|District 12||Ditch Twelve||The ditch's industry is mining virtual coal.|
|The Capitol||The Capital||Emerald City|
|District 11||Ditch Disney|
|District 13||Ditch Thirteen||Dug deeper and survived.|
|Unnamed district||Ditch Glee||Fields seven contestants in the first Games, who are all killed by Ratkiss.|
Numerous changes are made to The Hunger Games:
- The Games are not called the Hunger Games and the term tribute is not used.
- Participants are selected via a bingo wheel. Participation is completely optional and other names can be drawn or no one from a ditch actually has to participate. Deaths still result from the fierce competition during the Games for the prizes.
- The chariot rides are replaced with a float parade.
- The Cornucopias and means of launching into the arena are changed for both of the Games Ratkiss participates in:
- In the first games the contestants are trapped inside large blocks of jello surrounding a pile of presents. The presents contain various modern weapons as well as an assortment of other random items such as a birthday cake and gold bar. Discounts at participating retailers can also be found.
- In the second games the contestants are standing on top of a giant wheel called the "Round Thing of Fortune", a parody of the Wheel of Fortune.