It Came From the NYPL
Chew v. 1: Taster’s Choice
Written & Lettered by John Layman
Illustrated by Rob Guillory
Published by Image Comics
In discussing a previous Fables collection, I talked briefly about one of the many ways in which my preferences fly in the face of common comic fandom’s. Namely, comic fans at large tend to prefer ongoing serials, years of history, long-term commitments. My inclination is toward self-contained books or only-brief serials. Reading Chew v. 1: Taster’s Choice (the pun, I feel, would work better if the series’ hero made more choices) I was, again, reminded of this division between fandom and myself.
I liked Chew. It’s bizarre and strange, and not quite funny, but amusing in its own black-humored way. It’s hero, Tony Chu, is cibopathic, meaning that he gets psychic impressions from any food that he eats – and after being pulled into the FDA (a powerful organization in Chew’s world, where bird flu led to chickens being illegal and food crimes are the norm), his ability is frequently put to use by … how to put this delicately … getting clues to crimes through cannibalism.
John Layman’s crafted some very dynamic, very compelling characters, and set them up in a world not quite our own. Plenty of surprises, character-based and world-centric, fly at the reader, keeping you on your toes throughout the book. Rob Guillory’s art is simply amazing – the cartoonish character designs are unforgettable, the layouts clean and striking, and the color work captures the tone of each sequence very effectively.
In short, I liked it quite a bit. Yet not quite enough to buy it for three years, due to my own personal peculiarities of humor and plot interest. I guess that’s another great thing about the library – you can keep up with series that are good, but maybe not quite favorites, to see if they can develop into favorites. Chew v. 1: Taster’s Choice shows that potential for me, and for many other readers, it should be an immediate hit (and apparently is – but if you haven’t read it, do try it out).