FULL SCRIPT: Chew #1 by John Layman


"Chew" #1 on sale now

Debuting this week from Image Comics, "Chew" focuses on the stomach-turning adventures of Tony Chu, a federal agent who uses his powers as a Cibopath - one who gets psychic impressions from what he eats (i.e. murder victims) - to solve crimes in a possible future where massive Avian Flu deaths have made the Food and Drug Administration a more powerful government agency than the Department of Homeland Security.

I knew "Chew" was going to be a different sort of book, so when I started it, I knew I wanted to do a few different things. For one, I asked Image if we could solicit showing all five covers of the first story arc. I know most people like to make a big production of rolling out a cover each month, but I wanted to take the opposite approach. New comics are such a crapshoot these days, I wanted to give reader's a bigger taste of what they are in for with this book, while at the same time reassuring retailers we have our shit together, and the book will come out on time and as promised.

The other thing I wanted to do was to post the scripts online. I think one of the things comic writers are asked for the most at conventions is to see scripts. And I remember, as an aspiring writer myself, scripts were hard to come by, and I appreciated seeing how different writers approached things.

It's true that no writer writes a script in the same way. I was lucky that when I was an editor at WildStorm I got to read scripts by a lot of great writers, and learned a lot from them. My favorite scripts? Scripts by Warren Ellis, Joe Casey, Kurt Busiek, Doselle Young and Mark Millar.

Anyway, here is the script to "Chew" #1. If you haven't picked up "Chew," perhaps you will be compelled to, if not for the story, then to compare how artist Rob Guillory translated my words into pictures, and see the end result.

I should add I am a verbose writer. I write more than I need to. Sometimes I go off on tangents. Sometimes I tell jokes, and just talk to my artist, tell stories, or complain about Star Wars, or whatever. "Chew" #1 was written before I met Rob Guillory, and it's less personal than subsequent issues. Not less personal a creation, but later issues become a more distinct dialogue from myself, to Rob. And later Rob brings the story part of this dialogue to life.

For those of you who are wondering, this is what a professional comics script looks like (though I use the term "professional" loosely). I didn't clean it up, so it's a wart-and-all look a book coming into fruition. There are typos, and probably a lot of them. There are lines that were excised from the book due to panel constraints, there are way-too-wordy balloons that got chopped into two balloons (my prerogative, since I also serve as letterer on the book).

Ladies and gentleman: "Chew" #1: the online script, courtesy of Jonah Weiland and the fine folks at CBR!


John Layman

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