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CHEW Omnivore Edition, Vol. 1 Hardcover – August 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This breakout indie success (the first two storylines of which are collected here) is the very definition of high-concept: a gastronomical-satirical crime thriller named after its protagonist, Tony Chu, a "cibopath" detective who gets psychic impressions from everything he eats. Chu is consequently recruited by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA and forced to put one horrifically disgusting thing after another into his mouth. The setting is a near-future world where a pandemic bird flu has led the U.S. government to outlaw chicken (now served only at speakeasies), giving rise to the discovery of a suspicious fruit that tastes... like chicken. Though Layman's tone can be inconsistent--fluctuating between light comedy and grisly violence--it levels out when other characters with food-related gifts show up, including a "cibolocutor" who can express himself solely through culinary arts. Guillory's loose, loopy style, with its wildly distorted anatomy and perspective, underscores Layman's humor but is grounded in brick-solid storytelling; a knockout scene early on, where Chu becomes overwhelmed by the psychic residue in a single spoonful of soup, perfectly sums up the curious aftertaste of this nutty, tangy tome. Illus. (Aug.)
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From Booklist

This deluxe edition collects the first two five-issue story arcs of the ultraviolent (and ultracannibalistic) foodie buddy-cop comic. 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. --Ian Chipman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Image Comics (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607062933
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607062936
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
Awesome series, I recommend this comic!
The recipe for the art is unbelievably good and the story is tantalizingly funny.
This is an awesome book and well worth the trees it is printed on.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dusty Bottoms is Dead & Gone on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Awesomeness. I read the monthly issues of Chew, but I had to get this hardcover anyway. I love the series, and if you haven't checked it out, you're missing one of the best and funniest stories the comic medium can tell.

Chew blends food-centric cop drama with absurd comic sci-fi and cannibalism. Tony Chu is an agent for the FDA, the most important and powerful government agency, post the avian flu pandemic, which led to the ban and large-scale eradication of chicken and other edible foul. He posseses extra-censory powers based on things he ingests called cibopathy. He eats some pretty gross things to solve crimes and mysteries, but don't let his cibopathic abilities fool you, Tony does plenty of real detective work. As the story moves along at a sort of slow-burn pace, the much larger mystery about the bird flu conspiracy begins to unravel, and it's safe to anticipate many other surprises along the way.

The series has loads to offer, including awesome streamlined animated style artwork, that helps set the comedic tone and fits CHEW like a latex glove. Rob Guillory is one of the most skilled and creative artists in the comic scene today, and in many ways his style goes without comparison. The story's content isn't always pretty, and the art allows the reader to squirm and split their side at the same time. Tony's facial expressions after eating something particularly gross are always priceless, and every page is worth second and third looks to enjoy all the little hidden jokes.

I could say a lot about CHEW, that you've probably already heard:
It's fantastically crafted in every way. It's absolutely hilarious. Everything about it is fresh and original. The characters are unique, intriguing and most could probably have a comic series of their own.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Carlin on August 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chew is original, exciting and dynamic. It is definitely not a comic you buy for your 8 year old nephew, but its much funnier than it is offensive. This edgy comic will keep you up laughing, and honestly you won't be able to put it down if you are anything like me (the gross moments are more over the top and interesting than they are disgusting).

On the quality of the book itself: definitely go for the omnivore edition over the paperback. The book will last much longer (this is going to be one you reread). Image comics does a great job making quality hardback books. My "Invincible" ultimate collection books have been borrowed and reread so many times and don't show any sign of wear to the binding. This book is worth having in hard back, especially if you want to start making a decent comic book library for yourself.

You can never go wrong in investing in quality for an Eisner award winner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Detective Tony Chu is a cibopath, which means he gets psychic impressions from the food he eats. He can see how a piece of fruit was cultivated and what pesticides were used, or how the cows that became his hamburgers were slaughtered. Other times, his powers flash onto things far more heinous. Like a bowl of chicken soup that leads him to a serial killer who has targeted young women and hitchhikers across the country and uses their remains to spice up his dishes. Recruited by the FDA, now America's largest crime fighting agency after an outbreak of avian bird flu killed over 100 million people worldwide and prompted the U.S. to ban poultry, Chu is forced to use his unconventional gift to solve grisly, baffling crimes.

John Layman writes Chew with a healthy dose of humor, never getting mired down in the dark taboos that lie at the heart of this book. His mission, first and foremost, is to make the book entertaining. Rob Guillory's cartoony style assists in setting the tone for the book, giving it an upbeat, colorful aesthetic. Although the heart of the book is more Silence of the Lambs, visually it's more akin to Toy Story, and this animated appearance really helps to sell the tone and fun-factor of the book. Although it's gory and horrifying, it's never offputting, thanks to the illustrations.

Chew is a wildly entertaining work, rife with black humor and disgustingly fun scenarios. Equal measures police-thriller, sci-fi, horror, and comedy, this genre-blending book manages to throw in every ingredient from the kitchen pantry. You've got serial killers, Russian spies, illegal chicken dinner shacks, a government conspiracy (possibly involving extraterrestrials for good measure), cyborg cops, cannibals, and foodies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank L. Greenagel Jr. on January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The deserved winner of multiple Eisner Awards (best new series of 2010, best series of 2011), I was both surprised and delighted with the first 10 issues of Chew. The art is very good, the dialogue is funny w/o being campy, the characters motivations are realistic and the story moves swiftly.

Set a few years after the Bird Flu has wiped out tens of millions of people around the world, Tony Chu is a detective who can learn the history of things (food, people) by ingesting them. He prefers not to eat anything other than beets (because he can't determine their history), but by the 2nd issue he is working for the FDA (the most powerful crime fighting organization in America now that chicken has been banned post-bird flu).

He has a partner, a crazy ex-partner, a jerk for a boss, a potential love interest, a famous chef brother (who loves chicken and has declared that the banning of chicken by the US Government was both fascist and motivated by money) and a host of people who want him dead. It's a great cop story with a number of never-seen-before twists.

A great, great read.
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