7. Chew (Image Comics)
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Rob Guillory
If you follow our comic book coverage at all, you’ll know that we absolutely love Chew. And after three years in publication, John Layman and Rob Guillory have managed to pump out the best calendar year worth of stories that the title has ever seen. By expanding the supporting cast and introducing some off-the-wall plots, Layman has made the Chew mythology much more dense without ever losing sight of the fact that at its core this is a humor book.
Oddly enough, the year's biggest highlight didn’t come from an actual issue of Chew—it came from a special one-shot issue titled Chew: Secret Agent Poyo. The book focused on a maniacal, bionic rooster from the FDA that ripped and clawed his way to justice in hilarious fashion. Then, with last month’s issue, Layman brought us the first truly shocking plot point of the entire series when Toni Chu—the sister of Tony Chu—was brutally killed by the Vampire. Still, though, Chew managed to retain its trademark wit throughout.
For as much praise as we give Layman, we really have to recognize just how much artist Rob Guillory brings to the title. With his dense, cartoonish penciling, Chew leaps off the page with each new installment. In a year where the book's main character, Tony Chu, spent most of the time in the hospital recovering from a vicious beating, Guillory has managed to still bring the same energy to the title’s supporting cast without losing a step. Plus, you can’t argue with a guy that can turn a simple rooster into the most sadistic killer in comics.
Chew keeps improving, and now that the series is about halfway done, this is the perfect time to play catch-up.