Chew: Taster’s Choice

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A month or so ago, I was in Comics Unlimited looking for something interesting and indie, or at least not DC or Marvel. There are three clerks there: Mark, Lainey and Denise. When I want to know something historic — “what book was Adam Hughes drawing in the late 80s?” — I go to Mark. Lainey and I already agree on everything — Adam Warren, Catwoman, Glenn Danzig / Henry Rollins love stories — so I can just pick up whatever she’s recommending without a qualm. Denise, who knows me more than the others, doesn’t always sync with me — Dick Grayson, Huntress, Super Dinosaur — these are issues on which we disagree.

But when I was looking for something out of my ordinary realm, I asked Denise and she recommended Chew. It took me weeks to get to it but I finally sat down and read Volume One in one sitting.

Chew is, simply, fantastically imaginative. The protagonist, Tony Chu, is a cop and a cibopath — a word they tell us means that he can sense everything about the history of something he eats. Given that Denise has recommended some comics to me that I’ve deemed a little too cartoony, I guess I thought Chu would be investigating fruit-related crimes or ice-cream thefts. I did not expect Chu to eat, um… non-foods in his investigations. Given recent events, I really wasn’t in the mood to read a comic like this but it was so fantastic that I couldn’t put it down.

Sure the cibopathery is weird enough but there’s also the government conspiracy, chicken blackmarket, buddy cop parody, Russian vampire cult, astronomer bacchanals, a saboscrivner, ninja stars, and so much vomit and blood. The art is incredible — sharp but strange, not super-hero comic at all. I loved it. Good recommendation, Denise.