Chew (2009)

Creators: ,

Audience: ,

Genre: , , ,

Series Type: , ,

Tone: , , ,

Art Style: ,

Queer Representation: ,

Other Tags: ,


Content Warnings: , ,


Tony Chu is a cop with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he’s a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn’t mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. It’s a dirty job, and Tony has to eat terrible things in the name of justice. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the government has figured out Tony Chu’s secret. They have plans for him, whether he likes it or not.

From: Image Comics

Notes on This Title

This series has been collected three times – once across twelve trade paperbacks from 2009 to 2017, once across six hardcovers (Omnivore Editions) from 2010 to 2017, and once across three oversized hardcovers (Smorgasbord Editions) from 2013 to 2017.

The series has received negative attention for the way it deals with gender; in particular, it has been accused of transmisogyny.


2010 Eagle Award for Favourite American Colour Comicbook - Nominee
2010 Eagle Award for Favourite New Comicbook - Nominee
2010 Eisner Award for Best New Series
2010 Harvey Award for Best New Series
2011 Eisner Award for Best Ongoing Series


“In a near future where millions of Americans died from a particularly nasty avian flu, poultry is outlawed and a Prohibition-style black market springs up to satisfy the needs of gastronomes and frustrated chefs. Enter FDA agent Tony Chu, one of three known “cibopaths,” who has the most peculiar ability to get psychic impressions from whatever he eats. Lots of dismemberment and corpse-chomping (it’s harder to see Tony bite into a dead dog for clues than any of the various people he’s forced to nibble on) ensue as the beginnings of a conspiracy theory about the bird flu and an alien fruit that tastes just like chicken take shape. It’s not nearly as nauseating as it might sound (though, to be fair, it is plenty gross), thanks to Layman’s flippant sense of humor and Guillory’s chunky, kinetically caricatured artwork, which whips up an irresistible smorgasbord out of the bloody, genre-hopping ingredients. Grand gut-check comics entertainment here.” (Source: Booklist. 107.4 (Oct. 15, 2010): p36.)

““Chew” is a unique take on a genre that is prevalent throughout literature and television: the crime procedural. Yet this book has many twists and turns that upends the genre with heaps of hilarity. It has a protagonist that’s unlike any seen in a crime story past or present. Detective Tony Chu is cibopathic, which means when he eats anything (whether it’s food, animal, or human flesh and blood) he can vividly picture everything in his mind that the object went through from birth to present time. When he eats a hamburger, for example, Chu can see the cow being slaughtered. After twenty three million people die in a bird flu pandemic, chicken is outlawed and a vibrant black market is driven underground. When Chu gets involved in a murder investigation, he’s hired by the F.D.A. as an agent in their special crimes division, which wants him to use his special ability to solve crimes. What he doesn’t expect is that he has to consume such objects as rotted human flesh. Chu has interactions with characters that will have the reader giggling and also admiring the detail that writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory have brought to a genre that they upend with ease, wit, and artistry. A fast-paced story intermingled with snappy dialogue and unique characters makes “Chew” a book that one will want to continue reading after consuming this delectable first volume.” (Source: Comics Authority)


ComicsAlliance: “It’s Dumb and Tickles Our Funny Bones: John Layman on the Home Stretch for ‘Chew’

Leave a Comment