The Comics Pimp – Sweet Comic
Canadian writer/artist Jeff Lemire is most famous for his much-praised graphic novel Essex County. It tells the tale of life in a small town in Southwestern Ontario, and it has won major awards. It was also an official selection in the 10th edition of the Canada Reads competition. In his latest epic, Sweet Tooth, Lemire explores the aftermath of a world ravaged by a deadly plague.
Jeff Lemire is known for his deft portrayal of his very human characters, and particularly their inner struggles, strengths, and failures. Sweet Tooth is no exception. It follows Gus, a boy born with antlers, who having been sheltered for his whole life, is suddenly thrust into a fearful world. He falls into the hands of very bad men who aim to use him.
To contrast the innocence of Gus, Lemire simultaneously explores the very flawed Jepperd, a brutish, weathered former professional hockey player who is driven by revenge. He is anything but innocent, but as readers, we quickly learn to empathize with Jepperd, despite the horrible decisions he makes.
Lemire’s writing is sparse but it delivers the right punch when necessary; his dialogue rings so true that it pulls you into the story. Lemire’s artwork acts similarly. It is simple but not simplistic, focusing on telling the story without hindrance, and emphasizing the emotional range of his characters with particularly strong renderings of facial expressions.
Vertigo, home of DC Comics’ mature themed comics, has had many hits over the years including Y The Last Man, Sandman, and Hellblazer, to name a few. Sweet Tooth is the company’s most engaging read in years. Though it is not always easy to see the ugly side of human nature reflected in Sweet Tooth, the compelling characters Jeff Lemire writes so convincingly will keep you reading. You can download a free PDF of the first issue at this link.