Monday, August 15, 2011

Books: Chew

Most comic books only have one good idea. "Chew," a series written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, has a bunch of 'em.

First, there's the main character, a cibopathic FDA agent named Tony Chu. "Cibopathic" means that Tony gets mental impressions about the things he eats: after taking a bite of an apple, he might be able to intuit which orchard it came from, what pesticides were used on it, and who eventually picked it from the tree.

Tony is fortunate in that cibopathy is a rare talent that can help solve difficult crimes; Tony is massively unfortunate in that he usually has to consume unsavory things (and unsavory people) in order to solve those crimes. The resulting comedy is one-dimensional, but funny nonetheless.

If the necrophagia wasn't enough, "Chew" is set in a strange near-future where poultry has been banned due to a bird-flu epidemic. The poultry ban predictably creates a black market for chicken wings, turkey legs, and hard-boiled eggs. Said black market predictably makes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration into the most powerful law-enforcement organization in the world.

There are even more layers to the story (aliens! conspiracy theories! Chinese family drama!), but if you're even remotely interested in the concept, you should really give "Chew" a try.

Complete tangent: the "Chew" artist, Rob Guillory, is a nice guy who promptly responded to a question I e-mailed him - +10 cool points, sir.


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