Cannibalistic comic "Chew" joins "The Walking Dead" in its lurch to TV


"The Walking Dead" trailer (Comic-Con bootleg version)

Alright, Comic-Con, you may have been over for several weeks now, but we're still reeling from your swift upper-cut of awesomeness. There were the oddities inevitable at such a conference: a guy getting stabbed in the eye, Joshua Jackson's postmodern performance art, etc. And then there was actual industry news.

One of Comic-Con's more notable nerdgasms was the premiere of the trailer for AMC's Frank Darabont-directed adaptation of Robert Kirkland's totally rad zombie apocalypse comic, The Walking Dead, which is slated to premiere in October.

By this point, it's understandable (though not really all that understandable) if one has grown tired of the whole zombie shtick. But Kirkland's comic (while finally exhausting the possible combinations of adjectives and the word "dead") manages to keep that rotting carcass fresh. The storyline follows your average crew of mass-zombification survivors wandering a desolate American landscape searching for the existential justification to continue trudging on in a situation so hopeless.

Which is cool and all -- that kind of stuff always makes for interesting character studies. Especially in the hands of the guys at AMC (who claim they "hope to do for zombies what Mad Men has done for advertising"). But really, we all know that no zombie story is complete without action, gore, and brrrrrains. Thankfully, thrill junkies have nothing to fear: The Walking Dead will also be piss-yourself scary.


Comic Con 2010 interview with "Chew" creator John Layman

In super-related news, Circle of Confusion, the production company behind The Walking Dead, isn't stopping there. According to Deadline Hollywood, fellow Image series Chew is being adapted for television (at the moment, details are fuzzy at best; keep your eye on Chew's official blog for updates).

While zombie apocalypses should be pretty familiar territory by now, the concept behind Chew is not (although it does involve themes of cannibalism and mysterious plagues). If the Chew adaptation remains at all faithful to the comic, this has the potential to be the weirdest thing on television.

Quick rundown: Chew revolves around Tony Chu, a detective working for the Special Crimes Division of the FDA. And why exactly does the Food and Drug Administration have a special crimes division? Well, in the Chew universe, the nation is in the midst of a poultry prohibition spurred on by an avian flu epidemic, putting the FDA in charge of monitoring the black-market chicken trade.

Chu's deal: he happens to be a "cibopath," which means he gets psychic impressions from the food he eats. In one chomp, he knows the entirety of an apple's life, all the steps leading up to his consumption of it: how the apple was chewed by worms, spritzed with pesticides, packed into a filthy shipping crate, pawed by a zillion dirty hands before being hacked into pieces and sprinkled into his Waldorf salad. As you can imagine, this would likely be a horrific ability to have. Trips to McDonald's would be beyond masochistic.

But thankfully, Chu is able to put his "talents" to good use as a criminal investigator. How? Well, by biting people to learn their life secrets, of course! And usually, those people are dead. Yum! Adapted, we're thinking this would be like taking Psyche, Dexter, and whichever Food Network personality you would consider most likely to have a taste for human flesh (Rachael Ray, duh) and rolling them into one morbidly hilarious show.

Cheers, Circle of Confusion, for making comic-book adaptations a little less about super heroes and a little more about the dead and the undead.


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