The latest issue of John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chew ended with quite the twist and shocked fans of the series. If you haven’t read it yet, be warned this interview is spoiler-heavy.
Spoiler blinds are officially off.
So with the ending of the “Chicken Tenders” arc, Layman let the bodies hit the floor with a serious attack from the Collector, leaving characters including Savoy maimed and injured. At the end of the issue was the real twist, literally, with Tony’s partner Colby breaking the neck of fan-favorite rooster, Poyo, killing him instantly. The death comes as a bit of a surprise that was one final blow in an issue already full of gore and violence.
It wasn’t all about the visceral imagery, though, as Tony and Colby’s partnership came to an emotional end and the mystery of Paneer Sharma’s appearances is finally revealed. Newsarama spoke to Layman about the revelations from #45 and what lies ahead in the next arc.
Newsarama: John, Chew #45 wrapped up the “Chicken Tenders” arc and in a shocking twist, allowed a quiet moment for fans to catch their breath after all that action, just to let out one more gasp. Can you tell us about that?
John Layman: Well, we killed arguably our most popular character, which might not have been the smartest thing to do. We were already in a dark place because of the unexpected events of issue #44. But then things got darker, and more unexpected.
Nrama: From his introduction, Poyo was an immediate fan-favorite. What was the thought process of killing him at the end of all this?
Layman: The story is the story, and Poyo was always destined to die at this point, and the way he did. It was one of those things you dread as it gets closer, and you know it’s gonna freak people out, but you can’t not do something and then compromise the story…especially when you only have a limited amount of issues to go. With #45, we’re down to 15 issues left. We just reached the 3/4th point. The end is in sight. Bodies are gonna start dropping whether we like it or not.
Nrama: You have to love that NASA in your Chew-verse is almost like an army of Boba Fetts with their jetpacks and lasers, but another revelation you had in this issue was Paneer Sharma's backstory. All along he's just some creep stalking the Chu brothers, but we know now why. Are we supposed to know which brother he was instructed to look after?
Layman: I don’t think Paneer is a creep. He’s one of the few genuinely nice and good people in the Chew-verse. He had no idea which brother Toni was alluding to when she said “look after my brother,” and so he’s doing his best to try to do right by all three. I know exactly what brother she was talking about, but I’m not sure that will ever get revealed.
Nrama: Colby had insisted that he wasn't Savoy's partner, even after being called out. Is there more to that?
Layman: Yep. Exploration of that is a lot of the next arc.
Nrama: The Collector wasn't taken down and is still a threat, is this something Tony wants to deal with immediately or is there something else that prolongs that confrontation?
Layman: Tony has already been told from his dead sister who saw the future, exactly what has to happen before he can face the Collector. And until that event does happen, there is no use in going after the Collector, because he’ll suffer the same fate as everyone else did in #44. Prior to #44, he was sorta at peace, noting there was something inevitable in his future that will help him achieve his goals. But now, after the issue #44 massacre, it’s just frustrating to be sitting on his hands, knowing he can’t do anything.
Nrama: So where do you go from here? You have all these lives hanging in the balance and Colby and Tony are done at this point, essentially the mascot of the series has kicked his Kentucky Fried Bucket, where does the next issue take us?
Layman: One of the great things about creator-owned books, especially ones with a finite ending, is that things keep moving, and repercussions are permanent. Most of the time with Chew, the status quo changes radically from one arc to the next, and our next arc, “Blood Puddin’,” not coming until February so we can get ahead, will be yet another of radical changes. A lot of changes to the FDA workplace, since we sidelined pretty much all our supporting cast. Tony will have a new partner, a new boss, and face new challenges. Colby’s going to have to deal with what he’s done too. And we’ve yet to discover what happened to all the cast members injured and maimed in isue #44.