Take a Bite Out of Crime with Chew

I’ve already discussed digital comics with comiXology, The Walking Dead Volume 1, and Fables, but today I figured I’d discuss something really wacky.  It was a surprise hit when it originally released back in June 2009, by Image Comics.  Creators John Layman and Rob Guillory had no expectations for the series.  They simply wanted to do an adult-themed book that was silly and way out there.  In 2010 the series won the Eisner award for ‘Best New Series’ and from there the sky’s been the limit.  It remains one the highest selling independent releases of all time.  So just what the heck is it all about?

Now this is one messed up comic series.

Imagine a world where the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is more powerful than the FBI.  In this world a unique form of the bird flu wiped out over 23 million Americans, and as a result the FDA gained supreme control over policing the country, or at least trying to make sure the same thing never happens again.

Tony Chu is a police detective for the Philadelphia Police Department, and just so happens to be a Cibopath.  Cibopaths are people who can tell what has happened to whatever they eat.  If Tony eats a piece of lettuce he can tell when it was harvested, what pesticides were used on it, etc.  If he eats a piece of meat, well you can imagine what he sees.  The only food he can eat where he doesn’t have psychic visions are beets, but who wants to eat beets all the time?

While investigating a suspected chicken smuggling operation, Tony accidently eats soup made with human remains.  He races to the kitchen to confront the would-be murdering chef, and in the process his partner is seriously hurt, like clever to the head hurt.  Outside the restaurant Tony catches up with the murderer, who slits his throat instead of being taken in.  Without the chef, Tony has no way of finding the other people who may have been murdered.  Their families will never be at ease, unless…no he can’t do that…could he?  Determined to solve this case, Tony does what he has to, he’s starts chomping down on the chef’s body.

Once everything is said and done, his police chief is none to pleased.  Sure the case is solved, but his partner is about to die in the hospital and he was caught by other officers…eating a dead body.  How exactly do you explain that in a report?  His chief has no choice but to resign him of duty, and just as all hope looks like it’s gone, Mason Savoy, an FDA agent comes in and tells Tony that this might be the end of his police career, but it’s the beginning of something much more interesting.  Interesting, indeed!

That’s essentially the first issue of Chew in a nutshell, but what happens later on just goes from wacky to all out insane.  The different cases Tony has to solve, and how everything is eventually connected to some global conspiracy makes this series one of the best.  It’s hilarious, but you’ve got to have a strong stomach to deal with some of the nastier panels.  When Tony’s family makes their first appearance you’ll be in switches.  I especially love when other characters are introduced who happen to have unique powers like Tony, one can make people taste whatever she writes about, just by reading her work.  How wild is that?

Chew isn’t for everyone, but if you have a dark sense of humor, I’m positive you’ll find something to enjoy with this daring and risqué series.

4 thoughts on “Take a Bite Out of Crime with Chew”

    1. Like I said in the other thread Steven, if you decide to pick up that iPad you can easily continue where you left off. No need to repurchase everything you already bought. Given each issue has a preview, or at least most of them do, you can easily read the first three pages and see if you already read through that issue. What I did when I first switched formats was to purchase the beginning of the arc again digitally just to remember where I left off. Thankfully that meant only buying one or two issues I had owned already, which isn’t a big deal.

      I hope you’re enjoying these little articles because I plan to keep pumping them out in-between my gaming articles. I feel I haven’t talked much about comics in a very long time, and I miss that. The next one is going to be a very interesting look at the fantastical world of the comic ‘Event.’ I’m curious if you guys know the truth history of where this all started.

  1. I enjoyed my time with Chew as well, but I stopped buying/reading it in the 2nd or 3rd arc tho. Maybe one day I will pick it up again

  2. Tim you can pick up the volumes for dirt cheap on either Amazon or comiXology. Since I had some of Flambé before I switched to digital comics, I just picked up the books I was missing. For you and Steven, you both can just buy the volumes to save some cash.

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