In my everlasting quest to try new formats and genres in the literary world I have actually gotten pretty addicted to graphic novels. I love the art, the storytelling tends to be a combination of fast-paced action and sci-fi/fantasy and the characters are usually well-developed – all things I love. I’m currently enjoying the series Locke and Key(previously reviewed) and I read somewhere that those who enjoyed that series might enjoy another series named Chew. I enjoyed Chew so much I went ahead and read Vols. 1, 2, AND 3.
Tony Chu is a cibopath….he gets psychic impressions from anything he eats. Bad for you if you want to enjoy your food – probably wouldn’t love to know how the pig got slaughtered in your BLT right? Great for you if you are a detective and you don’t mind chowing down on a murder victim to figure out who killed them. Tony lives in a dystopian future where avian bird flu has been responsible for killing millions of people. The government has outlawed chicken as a food source but is that really the reason? The government has found out Tony’s secret and hired him to be part of the most feared governmental institution of all – the FDA! Tony is tasked with solving crimes, mostly having to do with illegal poultry smuggling.
We get to meet all sorts of characters in these series including Tony’s chef brother and rest of his family, his girlfriend, crazy partners, etc… (I can’t tell you about them all but they are pretty interesting). The drawings have both a dark and cartoon like slant to them. While the material can be pretty disgusting, the tone is tongue-in-cheek and has a dark sense of humor throughout. Each of the volumes ends with a cliff-hanger which kept me coming back for more. I would highly recommend these books, I’m excited to have just got the latest volume. I give these novels eight shoes – fun, frivolous, easy, awesome.
Three Appeals : dystopian future, intricate, dark drawings and dark sense of humor
Red Flags : Gore, violence, sex, language, etc… definitely a dark graphic novel
Chew definitely borrows some elements from the popular Walking Dead series( which is also now a TV series) so check those out if you enjoy the style of drawing and story elements. Also, check out Locke and Key if you haven’t already. If you enjoy the cibopathic aspect of this novel, then you might enjoy:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender which also has a character that reads emotions from the food she eats. On the eve of her ninth birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents’ attention, bites into her mother’s homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother’s emotions in the cake. She discovers this gift to her horror, for her mother – her cheerful, good-with-crafts, can-do mother – tastes of despair and desperation. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. The curse her gift has bestowed is the secret knowledge all families keep hidden – her mother’s life outside the home, her father’s detachment, her brother’s clash with the world. Yet as Rose grows up she learns to harness her gift and becomes aware that there are secrets even her taste buds cannot discern.
If you like the dystopian aspect with a dash of dark humor thrown in you might try:
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
In a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing, Eddie Russet belongs to the low-level House of Red and can see his own color – but no other. The sky, the grass, and everything in between are all just shades of grey, and must be colorized by artificial means. Eddie’s world wasn’t always like this. There’s evidence of a never-discussed disaster and now, many years later, technology is poor, news sporadic, the notion of change abhorrent, and nighttime is terrifying: no one can see in the dark. Everyone abides by a bizarre regime of rules and regulations, a system of merits and demerits, where punishment can result in permanent expulsion. Eddie, who works for the Color Control Agency, might well have lived out his rose-tinted life without a hitch. But that changes when he becomes smitten with Jane, a Grey Nightseer from the dark, unlit side of the village. She shows Eddie that all is not well with the world he thinks is just and good. Together, they engage in dangerous revolutionary talk.
Does this sound like something you would read? Have any of you read it?