Chew, Vol. 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman; illustrated by Rob Guillory
(Image Comics, 2009, 128 pages)
This seemed like it would appeal to all my sensibilities – I’m a graphic novel fan, I love anything food-related, I appreciate humor… unfortunately I just wasn’t the right audience for this book (or the series).
Tony Chu is a detective with a special ability. Tony gets psychic sensations about anything he eats. It should be pretty obvious how this “ability” could turn into something of a problem… Tony’s secret is revealed after he uncovers a serial killer and solves some cold cases (yes, this involves some mild cannibalism). He is then recruited into the Special Crimes division of the FDA. Working with his new partner, Mason Savoy, Chu is put to work trying to crack food-related cases that would benefit from his unique ability.
These graphic novels are set in an alternate version of the U.S. where various meats are now “outlawed” after a bird flu epidemic killed a number of people. While I stated earlier that this wasn’t for me, I can certainly see how it would appeal to people who appreciate a parody of hard-boiled crime fiction. This series is going strong with volume 12 due out later this year so it clearly has a solid following out there.