Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its sixty-third choice, Jeff Lemire Sweet Tooth The Deluxe Edition by Jeff Lemire, reviewed by Tripwire editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Jeff Lemire Sweet Tooth The Deluxe Edition Book One
Writer/ Artist: Jeff Lemire
Colourist: Jose Villarubia
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Today’s choice is a wonderful Vertigo series that dates from the late 2000s early 2010s. Jeff Lemire came up from the US indie scene with series like Tales From The Essex County and Underwater Welder from Top Shelf and moved onto his first Vertigo book, the one-off hardcover The Nobody in 2009. Since then he has moved from strength to strength, working for Vertigo, DC, Valiant and Dark Horse. He has shown himself to be one of the most versatile comic creators of the past fifteen years.
Sweet Tooth, which will soon be a Netflix TV show, is a brilliantly touching post-apocalyptic sci-fi series about a boy named Gus, who is part deer, and his search for peace and meaning in a world which really doesn’t understand him. The story begins with him living with his father, a man who has been his entire world up to this point. But then he dies and so he falls in with Jeppard, a tough nomad who may or may not have his best interests at heart.
Gus is a naïve but sympathetic central protagonist, a boy with a penchant for bars of chocolate, hence the series name, and Jeppard is a man driven by demons with a past he seems to regret.
Lemire weaves together a brilliantly simple but well-constructed world of hybrid people, shadowy militia and those who are caught between the new hierarchies. Colouring from veteran Villarubia acts as the perfect counterpoint to Lemire’s energetic lines. His art is idiosyncratic, loose and imprecise at times but a perfect fit for his writing, which encapsulates the best elements of classic genre TV and film while still feeling like he is offering us something we haven’t seen before. Actor Michael Sheen’s introduction here throws it all into a decent context for the reader.
Sweet Tooth is a tale of someone who is just looking for his place in society but there is so much more to it than that and Lemire makes it all look so easy which is why he is such a genius at what he creates. It is a dark tale which doesn’t pull any punches but there are moments of touching humanity here too, offering light in a very bleak world. Sweet Tooth could make an exceptional TV show but people should start with its source material first and check out this wonderfully distinctive series.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far