This is the first time I've spoken of something on this blog that was still running, it's also the first comic. So double whammy. I'm actually a big fan of the books Image puts out, and I've been reading maybe a dozen or so of their titles for the past few years. I don't read a whole lot of comics, aside from a brief interest with Marvel during the civil war event and a little Batman here and there it's almost been entirely Vertigo and Image titles for me. Chew's premise reads like a cross between Bones and Fear Factor, a tiny asian man eating gross stuff to learn it's history.
The art in this series is very fun, lots of interesting little details everywhere, some degree of caricature and generally very appealing to the eye. The artist's style serves the story well in it's transition from humorous moments to more serious ones. It strikes me as extremely redundant to say this about a comic but it's just generally very visually appealing, I at no point had to take a break to give me eyes a rest while reading it, the depth is there if you want it, but at no point is it forced upon the viewer. If that makes any sense.
The story packs on meat in every issue without fail, 23 chapters in and every book brings up new questions, some of which I'm sure are meant to remain unanswered, others feel like minor details which could very easily develop into their own arcs. I'm curious to see how complex it'll have become 50 chapters in. The characters are all very unique, vibrant and interesting in terms of both their visualizations and their personalities. Rather than being one giant story broken up by a few one-offs here and there the story is separated into 3-5 chapters arcs by case. It may not sound like it'd be somehow better grouping it into small arcs like that but I've appreciated it, it's still a long-form story but it gives a good indication of where particular parts of the story begin and end. For people who like to let the material build a while before reading through it allows them to pick up and go every few months rather than picking arbitrary times like catching up once every year.
Overall Chew is one of the best books in print right now, which I feel is saying something with so many other strong competitors out there right now. It's every bit the kind of story I got into comics to read. It oozes style, is packed with humor and knows how to shift to drama when it suits the story. There are elements of cheesy '70s cop flicks, cynicism and science fiction. Even if the idea of reading a comic that sounds suspiciously similar to Bones trust me when I say you'd be doing yourself a disservice to not read at least the first chapter, and it only gets better from there.