Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 08.18.2010 – Chew #13

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.7
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 0.0%
Users who pulled this comic:
art & cover ROB GUILLORY

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

In our recent chat with Chew creators, John Layman and Rob Guillory, I asked Rob if he was having a lot of fun drawing Chew, and he answered yes, because well, what else was he going to say on camera?  But the fact is, as I read through the pages of Chew #13, every page proved to me that any given page of Chew is more fun than almost any page of any other book.  And if Rob isn't having fun with that, then he's both hopeless, and faking it very, very well.

Right away, I want to make the point that if you've never read an issue of Chew before, I have no doubt that you could pick up this issue, #13 in the series, and part 3 of 5 of the "Just Desserts" storyline, and you would be able to follow it, and have a very good idea if you liked the book or not.  You might want to go back and read what came before, but you wouldn't need to.  You could read it from here.  That might assault the sensibilities of a good many comic book readers, but the fact that you can do that, and I can read it, having read all the previous issues, and not be annoyed by that is something fairly masterful.  What I'm saying is, if you were thinking of trying it, you have zero excuses.

Agent Caesar Valenzano went deep cover, and the only one who knew was Mason Savoy, who, as regular readers know, is now a fugitive from the FDA.  But apparently, he's been keeping Tony Chu alive when his evil bosses wanted him dead.  It's one more layer on an already layered story, and one more fun character in a world already littered with fun characters.  Yet writer John Layman says he's got 47 issues to go in this story.  I can't wait.

One of the most fun things about this series is that there seems to be a bottomless well of wacky ideas about food that work in this slightly skewed world where Tony Chu lives.  This issue's disturbing contribution was "fricken".  If you read the issue, you know what it is, and if you haven't, I want to to imagine something called fricken, in a world where there can be no poultry, and what that might be.  It is disturbing.  But then, it does taste a hell of a lot like chicken.  I started to wonder if I'd eat it, and I still haven't come up with an answer.  Then I start thinking about how much I would miss chicken if there was no chicken in my life.  Obviously, there are plenty of vegetarians out there, and they get by OK, but it's kind of a staple diet item.  In Chew, people are tearing each other apart to get chicken.  Would that really happen?  It doesn't really matter, but I love that a book this silly makes me think of it.

Just being silly, however, has nothing to do with being simple, or without impressive plotting.  It can all work together.  This book has both ongoing mystery and fascinating interpersonal character relationships working for it.  There's a whole set of people involved in Tony Chu's life, and his attitude and body language shift entirely depending on who he's interacting with. I love that level of detail in the character.  At the same time, I really want to know what's going to happen with Savoy, and Tony's new boss, and his partner, and his girlfriend.  There's so much in Chew to grab hold of. See how I avoided a pun there?

While I am truly impressed the imagination of John Layman, I might be more in love with Guillory's art.  A guy with Guillory's style is going to have a hard time in the mainstream comic book market in America.  You're going to hear things like, "he's too cartoony", and if most of the work is in superheroes, and most of the work doesn't look like this, it's going to be a tough road for him.  However, what's happened is that he's found a book that seems so perfect for his completely unique, yet entirely competent art style and made it work so very well.  I'm not kidding when I say that every page has something fantastic happening with the art.  Scan the faces on a given page, and you're going to see something that makes you laugh.  There's a panel with a guy who is giving Tony the evil eye, and it immediately snaps to a close up on the guy, and it was hilarious. The aforementioned fricken is a wonderful reveal with a suitably nasty design.  The simmering rage of Director Applebee is so much fun in every panel, and Savoy's slightly exposed gut in his cat burglar outfit is a thing of joy.  Finally, that cover is a hell of a lot of fun. 

I am so glad that Chew is being published. It's like nothing else, and every issue takes me somewhere I didn't expect.  It's both fun and funny, and as a writer, it's impressive in it's imagination and scope.  Chew is a wonderful example of where we can take comics, and it's so heartening that it's actually finding an audience as well.  I can't wait for more.

Josh Flanagan
Why were all the frickens just running loose?


  1. beatdisciple beatdisciple says:

    My guess is they were free-range fricken.

  2. RazorEdge757 RazorEdge757 says:

    great. love it, love it.

  3. The Fricken might be the greatest idea known to man.

    Fully agreed on the pick as it was mine as well. God this series is so good. Dare I say, better then anything Kirkman related on Image? 

  4. 400yrs 400yrs says:

    Awesom Image books as POTW 2 weeks in a row?  Wow!!  If Ron picks Guarding the Globe #1 or Invincible #74 next week (if he’s not still trade waiting), the internet might break.

  5. Great pick, it was mine as well.

  6. Thought Ex Machina would get it (not that I usually make predictions for pick of the week).

    Love Chew. Got the oversized hardcover coming to me soon.

  7. HailScott HailScott says:

    I find it amazing that a book like CHEW is written, lettered, drawn, and colored by 2 people, and it is consistently incredible.

    Now, take a standard Marvel or DC book (I’m looking at one now) and it took at least 5 people to put together an inferior product. 

  8. i love where this series is going. Each issue is that perfect mix of art and story. Love the Pulp Fiction cover. Whether these two guys know it or not, they have just about become the gold standard for creator owned books.

  9. j206 j206 says:

    Awesome pick, Josh. This comic is consistently one of the best things being published.

  10. j206 j206 says:

    And I know it’s early. But 30% POW?! When does that happen with this book? As someone who picks Chew a lot. I can tell you not very often.

    Comic creators, behold the power of the iFanboy POW. Look back to last week to a random #1 that became the overall POW due to Conor picking it. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure and the fact that the avg reader is extremely impressionable. ;) And do not underestimate the power of iFanboy. At least among it’s little corner of the internet.

  11. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @j206: Actually, the community percentage on last week’s Pick went down after I chose it. It was around 40% at the time. The same has happeneed this week, the POW percentage on CHEW was in the 30s when Josh picked it and now it’s in the 20s. Both books were the top picked book by the community before we made them the iFanboy Pick of the Week.

    People make these complaints/observations/etc. all the time but they are rarely with any merit whatsoever.

  12. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    After I wrote the review, I looked, and it was at 37%, before I posted. I was surprised. It’s now at 28.7%. So, I guess I made it unpopularer?

  13. j206 j206 says:

    Hmmm. That’s interesting. I guess I hadn’t noticed that.

    And for the record, it wasn’t a complaint. Just seems over the course of time that when you guys pick a book that is bit more ‘abstract’, it seems to get a good deal more notice. Be it the POW or the Don’t Miss, or what have you. And I think that’s pretty cool. Shows the influence your site has.

  14. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    That’s the point, so good.

  15. j206 j206 says:

    Well it’s down to 20% now. So guess talking about here is making things even worse. Haha.

    Just for comparison’s sake. Last issue had a 3.5% POW, which is much closer to the norm for this title.

    And since we’re talking about this book. Has anyone else heard any more rumblings about a tv adaptation? Layman seems to float the idea around a bit in his letters column. But I’ve yet to see anything anywhere else. I love his idea of Miles from Lost playing Tony. 

  16. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @j206: There is no norm for CHEW’s POW percentage. It’s all over the map.

    Here’s info on the posible CHEW TV series.

  17. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    Layman talks about the TV status in this week’s video show.

  18. SpiderTitan SpiderTitan says:

    This may just be my most favorite cover of all-time. So funny, so true to the spirit of Pulp Fiction & fits this book so perfectly, even though I am a trades guy, just based on that cover alone has now made me want to go out & buy the trades ASAP!

  19. j206 j206 says:

    Thanks for the tv news, Conor & Josh. I hope that it ends up on cable. As I do with any show I want to actually have a shot of staying on the air. I’m guessing with it’s subject matter, it will be likely.

    I cannot heap enough praise on Rob Guillory. The guy is awesome. And while Josh is prob right in that his more cartoony style might limit his mainstream chances. I don’t see how his talents can be ignored. If you check out his blog http://robguillory.blogspot.com/ and go back far enough, you’ll see some of his takes on some popular marvel characters. Might not fit any main books. But I could totally see him doing something like Ultimate Spider-Man or something similar to that Luke Cage New Avengers mini that was recently done.

  20. j206 j206 says:

    Here’s a couple of the drawings I was talking about.

    Guillory’s Spider-Man: http://tinyurl.com/22szsh7

    Guillory’s Daredevil: http://tinyurl.com/22p8ens

    I love the Spider-Man. If LaFuente ever left, I’d love to see Guillory’s crazy take on USM.

  21. Nice!  When does vol 3 come out?

  22. IroncladMerc says:

    @j206 the daredevil link is broken, love the Spidey though. For some reason Guillory’s art in Chew reminds me of Penny Arcade.

  23. That Spider-Man drawing is really good.

  24. JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:

    I get a kick out of how you guys deny that peer pressure has anything to do with people’s pick of the week choices.  As though it offends you somehow that people could be influenced by your decision.  You make the point that the percentages actually went down after you made it "The Pick", but what’s the percentage of the population that votes before and after your pick?  You guys usually get the pick up pretty early, so what if 10% of the population votes before you announce the POTW, and 90% votes after?  In that case it’s reasonable to think that the small population before you voted as they did because they loved the book, and a large population voted after you (at a lower rate) because they loved the book but also because they feel validated on some level that you loved the book too.  There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just human nature.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the site, and I love the show, but it’s just a little ridiculous to think that whatever you guys choose for "Pick of the Week" doesn’t typically see some kind of bump in the community rankings because of your choice.

  25. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @JonSamuelson: Do I need to break out the numbers again? I will, but we’ve already done this dance with you a dozen times, it seems.

  26. JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:

    I would say this makes two times, three at the outside.

    If 3 people make their POTW choice before you do, and choose the same book you do, then at that point the the POTW percentage is 100% for that book.  Now clearly 100% of people aren’t going to choose this book as their POTW, but because of the small sample size that’s the case right now.  After you make the pick 400 more people make thier own pick, 30% of them choosing the same book as you.  Now you have 124 votes of 404 total votes that are in favor of the same book you chose as pick of the week.  That’s just just shy of 31%, a 69 point reduction over the percentage when you made the book your POTW.  The fact that there was a reduction in POTW percentage has absolutely no bearing on whether or not your pick influenced the rest of the population.  I don’t even see what there is to argue there.

    Earlier I made a more sweeping argument that your pick had a dramatic influence on the POTW percentage, and I no longer really think that’s true.  We’d really have to do a case study to determine if it’s true, but I doubt it’s a huge influence.  But like I said I think it’s just human nature to enjoy the validation of a respected person’s opinion.  If I’m waffling between two choices of movie as my favorite, and ask a friend what he/she thinks, it’s logical that their opinion is going to have some influence on my decision.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

  27. @Jon: Ultimately, does it really matter?

  28. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    It might happen sometimes, but as I stated up there, the book was averaging a 4.8 rating, and had 38% when I picked it. It’s now still at 4.8, but is at 33.5%.

    But on many, many other weeks, the pick definitely makes no difference at all.

    So ultimately, there’s no lasting or repeated correlation.  If we turn people on to a book they didn’t know about, that’s great. It’s what we want to do.  But in the end, that’s not going to affect their rating on the book.  That’s up to the users. They’re going to try something they wouldn’t have, but they’re not going to like it unless they really do. That’s my experience.

  29. JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:

    No, it doesn’t matter.  I just think it’s an interesting phenomenon.

    But I would like to point out that I’m not the one who brought it up.  j206 pretty innocently mentioned he thought there might be something to it, and Conor leaped in to tell the guy how wrong and meritless he was to assert that the official POTW might have an influence on the community’s choice.  I was just defending the guy.

  30. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    That interchange was fairly innocuous from where I sit, and it didn’t look like anyone needed much defending.

  31. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    I personally think it is totally unfair of you guys to conspire to try to make people like things that you think are good.  How could you?

  32. JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:


  33. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    I’ve been trying to get help.

    By the way, did you read-NO! Wait, I’ve done it again!

  34. j206 j206 says:

    Geez guys. And here I went out of my way to change the topic of discussion to Rob Guillory. You know, get things back to talking about the book. So much for that. Hahaha.

  35. Evangelion11 Evangelion11 says:

    the banter going back and forth in the comments makes me wanna get this book even more then the podcast haha

  36. HumphreyLee HumphreyLee says:

    Ex Machina, but I don’t think anyone on the staff reads that in issues. Far as endings go, it was a very good one. 

  37. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    We do this show…

  38. I loved this review and I love Chew. I can’t decide if I like it more in terms of "Form" (Guillory) or "Concept" (Layman).Which means it’s John Blaze! Like Josh said though Guillory is so wonderful to see in comics, his style reminds me of that aspect of graffiti that focuses on a hard to pin point, character aesthetic. This guy studied cartoons and probably graffiti too! It reminds me of a Graffiti artist who would write up eat shit and draw plates of shitghetti and turdballs and he would also do awesome characters too. and as gross as a plate of shit is he drew it so well that it wasn’t gross at all just really funny, charming even LOL. Like Fricken is so gross but in Chew it’s awesome and funny, I love this book, please support it. For some reason the letter column has a lot of cat pictures wassup with that?

  39. Gabe Gabe says:

    And there are still vampires running loose!!!

  40. Evangelion11 Evangelion11 says:

    just picked this up a week late…fda kicks baby in baby face. gold

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