Saturday, July 21, 2012

"CHEW" On This

By: Ana Bruja-Khayos

“Here’s Tony Chu. Tony Chu is a Cibopathic.  That means he can take a bite of an orange, and get a feeling in his head about what tree it grew from, what pesticides were used on the crop, and when it was harvested.  Or he could eat a piece of a bacon, and flash onto something else entirely.” -- Chew Graphic Novel #1, Chapter 2, Page 02

I’m not sure about you but this tagline was all that I needed to read the rest of this series.  You see for quite some time I’ve become very bored of the mainstream rehashed multi line and alternative universe superhero stories. Simply said, I lost interest in comics.  Until one day I was sucked back into a comic book store on free comic book day and there it was... a re-print issue of CHEW #1 for only $1. The cover was simple, but the art style was unique and it didn’t feature your standard over steroid character with over bling photoshop ink/coloring.  I believe my favorite part was that unlike other books, the cover art actually matches the art inside of the book.  I mean how often you see that these day. LOL  

For many die hard comic fans I’m just a casual reader and I’m ok with that. I’m willing to give a good story a chance even if the artwork looks ok, but if the story is great and has unique art style then is a winner in my book.  That’s what the Chew series delivers.  The series is written by John Layman and art by Rob Guillory.   It has won several industry awards including Will Eisner Award, and recently a Glyph Award for best cover Chew #27.  I like how raw and stylized the artwork looks. The characters that you see in the book are not glammed out, and they simply look like caricatures of everyday people working average jobs. It keeps an even more stylized look by usually keeping a low saturated and at times monochromatic cool or warm color palettes that really gives it a gritty look that sets the scenes mood of their deteriorating world.

Now let’s get down to the story itself without spoiling the story for you. The story opens up inside a restaurant's kitchen where the cook accidentally sliced his finger open and some of the blood falls in the food, this situation will introduce you to Agent Chu’s abilities.  Shortly after you are introduced to his partner Agent John Colby who also works for the FDA (The Food and Drug Administration).  You read it right the FDA.  In this universe they are the most powerful group in the world.  Apparently there was an epidemic of avian flu that killed millions of people worldwide a few years back and now chicken is forbidden.  The two partners simply start their story with solving standar crimes like murders and busting chicken smuglin but further down the line you will be introduced to a great range of secondary/supporting cast members, fun incidentals with a wide range of personalities and a much much more interesting and complicated storyline that has several twist and turns. Is truly fun.

As of now (7/20/2012) the book is up to series #27, and the graphic novels are up to book #5.  They are also currently doing a side series for one of their interesting characters called CHEW: Secret Agent POLLO #1. I’m a great fan of series but I will have to tell you it might be difficult for you to find the first back issues of the series at a reasonable price.  Depending when you shop you can find the books for a few bucks if you’re lucky or it will cost you a crazy amount of mula.  I personally love the graphic novels over the individual comic books. I’m not hoping to make a fortune bundle out my books.  These have been purchased for me to enjoy the story, the artwork for inspiration, and simply re read them over and over again.  This is truly a great series to have on your bookshelf.

Don’t forget to give them some love and check out their webpage and try to purchase not download their books if you want more CHEW in the future. I got my copies. :D

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