Over a year and a half ago, on one of my earliest visits to Heroic Adventures comic bookstore, I asked one of the clerks if he had any suggestions for series for me to check out. When prompted, I gave some general descriptions of my likes and dislikes. Somewhere in my winding answer, I mentioned detective and crime fiction. The clerk handed me a trade paperback, Chew, Volume 1, and began describing this detective named Tony Chu.
At first I was apprehensive. I was just getting back to comic books after a long break. I hadn't read a series regularly since my youth. I wasn't sure if I was ready to jump into a weird book about a detective who is a "cibopath," that is, someone who "can take a bite from anything and get a psychic sensation of what has happened to that object."
The next thing I know, I was catching up on all the back issues and then ready and waiting each month for another issue to come out. I've enjoyed following Tony Chu's investigations and checking for "easter eggs" in Rob Guillory's artwork. Among other things, Chew has been a good distraction from the exciting world of grading student papers.
Caesar Valenzano has been one of my favorite minor-major characters in the series. I was amused that the creators used/spoofed Jules Winnfield, the character Samuel Jackson played in Pulp Fiction, as the basis for Caesar.
Chew has hardly been the only comic book I've read in the past year. There was also The Walking Dead, Thief of Thieves, Nowhere Men, and The Manhattan Projects, to name a few. Often, when literary scholars devote considerable time to a reading project, they have a formal research project in mind. But, for me, when it comes Chew and other comic books, that' s not the case. Well, at least not yet. For now, I'm just reading.
• A Notebook on comic books
• A Notebook on Rob Guillory