Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
Tony Chu is a cibopath. As far as I can tell, John Layman invented both the word and the concept. A cibopath instantly accesses the back story of anything s/he eats. As one might imagine (or prefer not to), that's quite a handy skill for a detective, especially when a corpse turns up. I expect you can see where this is going so I won't belabor the point. Envision a combination of The Dead Zone, Pushing Daisies and Silence of the Lambs.
Other characters have gastronomic powers, too. The love interest, Amelia Mintz, is a saboscrivner, meaning she can write about her own eating experiences so accurately that the reader gets the exact same sensations she did. As such, she's a highly effective and unusually dangerous food critic.
This was not my first exposure to Chew. A couple years ago, I tried a single issue from the series and was too grossed out to continue. But when Goodreads recommended it, I thought I'd at least try starting from the beginning. Not unlike my experience with The Walking Dead, I was pleasantly surprised.
So, why does Chew work? Strip away the grody and it's a classic detective story. The food quirks inspire an extra level of curiosity. With Walking Dead, I made it through four trades or 24 issues before I'd finally had enough. We'll see if I can do any better with Chew.