I can’t help but be excited about this latest bit of news coming out of the efforts to produce a feature adaptation of the critically acclaimed Chew comic series. For those who don’t know, Chew is a quirky title created by John Layman and Rob Guillory. It follows the adventures of Chinese American protagonist (and US Food and Drug Administration agent) Tony Chu, who has the bizarre power of a cibopath: he receives a psychic imprint from any food he eats (except beets). Chu’s power is, understandably, both a blessing and a curse, and Chew explores how Chu uses his ability to solve crime in a universe that has since expanded its repertoire to introduce a broad range of food-related powers.
The series is witty, sharp, self-effacing, and instantly memorable; it belongs on the shelves (or in the digital long boxes) of any comic book connoisseur. More so than many comics, Chew has succeeded not only in creating a uniquely likable hero in Tony Chu, but also a richly detailed world for Chu to inhabit.
After much effort to create a live-action version of Chew — understandably hampered by the show’s routine use of cannabilism as a central plot device — producers have decided to go in a different direction and create an animated feature instead (that is expected to go straight to home release). This, I think, is a good decision: the show has a very specific tone and atypical humour that I think would not translate very well through a live-action script.