Comic creators John Layman and Rob Guillory can now walk in the same company as Robert Kirkman and Brian Michael Bendis, with the news their very own comic Chew is in development as Showtime.
The award winning series follows FDA agent Tony Chu as he investigates bizarre, food-related crimes by means of the psychic visions he receives after consuming any kind of food – including human flesh. Known as a cibopath, Chu and his partner Mason Savoy navigate a world where chicken, and all other bird-related meats are considered contraband, after a devastating bird-flu epidemic kills 23 million Americans.
Chew debuted in 2009 at Image Comics, and was quickly recognized as one of the most original series on the market, winning the coveted Eisner Award for best new series that year. In 2010, the book won two Harvey Awards for best new series and best new talent. “There are a lot of superhero comic books, but there are not many food comic books,” Layman said, in response to the praise heaped upon the book for both his original storytelling and artist Rob Guillory’s distinct artistic flair. The pair have managed to take a concept few could imagine and turn it into a critical and commercial hit for the home of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, Image Comics.
It’s no coincidence that Chew would be the third creator-owned series to make its way to television screens recently. Circle of Confusion, the production company developing Chew, has managed to make The Walking Dead a hit for AMC, and is currently readying the Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming created Powers for FX.
Showtime’s interest came off the pilot script written by Terri Hughes Burton and Ron Milbauer (Supernatural, Eureka), which will see the series in the form of a very dark comedy, which is perfect for the pay-network. The skewed world-view of Chew is not that far removed from other, more mature programming on Showtime like Californication, Shameless, and the network’s biggest ratings grabber Dexter – and, like these programs, should benefit greatly from the lack of restrictions to which other networks are held.
Showtime regular Stephen Hopkins is already attached to direct and executive produce, but there have been no casting announcements, yet.
Should Chew make it to series, it will likely debut sometime during the 2012-13 season.