1. It takes place in Philadelphia. That’s where I live!
2. It’s some sort of alternate reality where avian flu has killed 22 million people, and as a result chicken is now contraband. I hate bird flu… and chicken!
3. The main character, Tony Chu, is a detective who gets psychic impressions from the things he eats. So he feasts on murder victims to discover what happened to them. I eat murder victims in order to solve crimes all the time!
I remember a lot of kids talking about this book when the first issue came out. After reading the trade paperback — uproariously called Taster’s Choice, collecting the first five issues — I can understand why. It is weird. Weird in a good way! These are bold ideas, the sort of “What If?” stories that were prevalent back when comics were fun. What if chicken was outlawed, and the FDA gained too much power, and then there was just this dude who could get psychic impressions from tasting things… oh and he works for the FDA, and people are convinced that the chicken thing is a ruse? That’s a weird concept, and I love it. Maybe weird isn’t the word I’m looking for… imaginative, perhaps? Whimsical?
The setup is solid, but it’s Rob Guilory‘s art that really brings it together. He uses simple panel layouts, but his characters are so elastic and full of life. They’re fun and goofy, which works very well to have the violence read as “over the top” instead of “gory.” And there is quite a bit of violence. It’s a book about eating people, remember?
I enjoyed the trade paperback enough to move Chew into my pull box. That’s a fancy nerd way of saying that I’ll be buying the individual issues every month. If we said things that everyone could understand, then this hobby wouldn’t seem nearly as cool.