The main character is a detective who gets psychic impressions from the things he eats. And that is the least crazy thing in the entire book.
If you've been reading comics for a long time, you'll understand that unique concepts aren't exactly at a surplus. As the kind of person who will absolutely absorb every genre and style of comic series as if it were my very lifeblood, I find myself in a precarious position. As much as I love everything comics do - the way the good ones masterfully combine text and images to stunning artistic genius, the way bad ones are so charismatically charming in their pulpy trashiness... you get to a point where it really does feel like running in circles.
Chew aims to change this. With a concept of utter inanity and an artist so new to the block you can practically hear him cutting his teeth, Chew is so deliciously fresh it blows my mind. The world of Chew is a demented cartoon universe in which the characters have names like "Ms. Mintz" and "Savoy" - the focus on food, taste, cooking, etc. - and yet it brings a decidedly adult tone to the proceedings. Characters swear like a sailor, there's death, violence, murder, gore. It's almost MAD-esque in its lunacy, and yet it has a not-so-subtle undercurrent of dry political satire almost unique of early 2000AD serials.
But I think the strangest thing about the series is that it... is... beautiful.
Rob Guillory's style smacks you right in the gut with bright, eye-popping visuals that create an atmosphere like something out of a dream. Despite Layman's witty, flowing script, it truly is the art that takes Chew from merely another stupid-fun comedy series to being something truly and utterly unique. I'm reminded of Steve Purcell; and then, Sam & Max was never so deceptively cringe-worthy. Beneath the purile nature of a lot of what goes on lies a provocative surreality, breathing a genuine life into what could have easily been a flash in the pan.
Chew goes on for a long, long time after Volume 1. If I had the power I'd compel you to buy all of it at once and just lose yourself into this bizarre pseudo-fantasy. Instead, I'll say this: take a chance on this plucky little volume, and see if you don't like the taste of Chew.show more
by Andrew Deavin