Mel’s Muses: Library Comic Picks 3rd March 2011

Not a lot of new comic books on my pull-list last week so it’s time to hit the public library where you’ll always find something new and cool every visit.


Chew Vol . 1: Taster’s Choice. Deliciously twisted and scrumptiously funny, Chew is crime-fiction like you have never seen or tasted before. I heard lots of good things about this offbeat but best-selling title but never had the urge or loose change to grab a copy at the shop, thank goodness I found the first trade paperback at the library.

Published by Image and written by John Layman with art by Rob Guillory, Chew is about the adventures of US Food and Drug Administration Agent Tony Chu, who also just happens to a Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. Anything he takes a bite out of, from animal to vegetable, he’ll know its life story immediately and that includes human body parts. I’m sure you can see where this is going. This is one detective whose job description includes taking a nibble out of a murder victim to see who’s the killer.

The five chapters here introduce the refreshingly original cast and a world that’s been ravaged by the bird flu. Millions were killed by the avian flu (or not?) and chicken is now the latest black market drug. Character-driven and with lots of action, you are definitely in for a treat with this Eisner Award-winning series.

Still wanna how hot this series is? Well, the production company behind The Walking Dead series is planning to adapt Chew for TV too.

Thunderbolts Presents: Zemo – Born Better. Now this is like the TV series Quantum Leap meets a long-running Taiwanese soap opera, which is not really a bad thing.

Written by the same team behind Thunderbolts (writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Tom Grummett), this trade paperback collects the mini-series that continues the story of villain-turned-anti-hero Baron Helmut Zemo, after he was zapped and vanished into a ‘temporal vortex’ in an earlier issue of Thunderbolts. So what you got here is Helmut quantum leaping through his family’s timeline and like your favorite Taiwanese soap opera, there’s more than enough blood and tears in the Zemo family saga too. Helmut meets his aristocratic ancestors like past Barons right up to daddy dearest, the first Baron Zemo to fight Captain America back in World War II.

And while Helmut is clawing his way back through time, there’s an interesting subplot involving a graduate student with a slightly unhealthy interest in the Zemo family history. It’s an interesting look and character study of one of Captain America’s oldest nemesis. Only four issues long, this is a pretty quick and enjoyable read, something different from the usual superhero stuff.

The ‘Nam Vol. 1. Geez, I remember reading this groundbreaking series and going nuts over it ages ago, it’s so cool that you can now find in our public library. Released way back in 1987 and riding on the popularity of Vietnam War movies like Hamburger Hill, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, The ‘Nam follows US soldier Private Ed Marks and his platoon during their 1968 military tour of Vietnam.

Written by real life Vietnam veteran Doug Murray, these are some of the most realistic war stories around, filled with fully developed characters. It doesn’t get preachy or go on some anti-war rant; it’s just pure hard-hitting, great storytelling on every page. Each issue is dedicated to one month of Private Marks’ tour of duty as we look at almost all the different aspects of war. And let’s not forget the amazing Michael Golden on pencils, simply gorgeous.

To me, this is the kinda thing that you would want to share with a non-comic book fan and show him or her that comic books aren’t just about men in tights saving the world.


Melvin Yong has worked way too long in the media and advertising industry. He now spends his time with his family, writing short horror stories and playing lots of board games.

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