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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

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Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: October 2009

I’ve never been a big meat eater {insert obvious joke here}. From ages four to seventeen, due to liver problems I was put on a variety of diets, ranging from the mildly inconvenient, (no dairy products), to the insane (no meat, fish, coffee, sugar, dairy, processed food, essentially anything delicious). The worst diet was also the strangest, which prohibited me from ingesting any citric acid. If you don’t already know, citric acid comes from any type of citrus, (oranges, lemons, tomatoes, etc), and is used as a preservative in basically everything under the sun. From those years I learned the most difficult way possible that the anticipation of having something is almost always better than actually getting it. All I had to do was force myself to say “no”, and it was easy as pie (delicious, forbidden pie), from that point on.

 Food is the focal point of this week’s comic as well. Chew is the latest series from Image Publishing, written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory. It chronicles the adventure of Tony Chu, a cop who is almost always hungry but hardly ever eats. He’s cibopathic, which means with whatever he eats comes not only the taste of the food, the memories of it as well. If he were to eat an apple, he’d know what tree it came from, in which orchard, what pesticides were used, etc. On the other hand, if he were to have a hamburger, he’d get a first hand look at the life and death of the cow, and whatever else went into making that specific burger. Times are tough in Tony’s world, and due to an epidemic of Avian Flu, chicken has been outlawed. Speakeasy-type restaurants are flourishing, where the only items on their menu are entirely chicken. Unbeknownst to Tony, the soup happened to be prepared by a serial killer who had the misfortune of cutting himself while making it. After the first bite, Tony’s mind is flooded with the memories of the victims. His unique gift of being able to taste the memories of food lands him a job with the feds.

 This month seems to be producing a lot of very unique storylines. Chew is definitely worth taking a look at. Not great for the faint of heart, but the writing and artwork are highly captivating. The addition of Avian Flu gives this series a realistic twist that’s equal parts creepy and engaging. 

Arielle Mullen