Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Two weeks ago, Jeff Lemire’s long running “Sweet Tooth” reached its conclusion in issue #40. I hear readers were not disappointed, but there is always an air of gloom when good things must come to an end. I’ve never read it until now and let me tell you this: “Sweet Tooth” may have ended, but for everyone who has yet to read it, this is only the beginning of an amazing story. For those who have already read it, well hop on board and enjoy the journey all over again.
Writer and Artist: Jeff Lemire
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
The main protagonist is Gus, a 9-year old human/animal hybrid. He’s lived with his father in a scant cabin hidden deep within the woods all his life and has been taught never to leave the woods. As Gus puts it, “outside the trees is fire and hell”. But when his father succumbs to the illness that afflicted and killed billions in the last 7 years, Gus is left all alone to fend for himself.
Fend against whom you ask? Well by hunters pursuing hybrid children like Gus, the only kind of children born since the affliction. When these hunters confront Gus, he meets Jepperd, a violent and curious man who says he’ll lead Gus to “The Preserve”, which is a save-haven for hybrids. Though skeptical at first and wishing to abide by his father’s warnings, Gus takes a leap of faith and leaves the woods. What will he discover and learn on this journey, who is Jepperd really, and why are hybrids being hunted? All that and more in Volume 1.
“Sweet Tooth: Out of the Deep Woods” is a page-turner and can be read in an hour or less. The dialogue is minimal—simple and sweet, but don’t let that fool you. Lemire is the type who can pack an array of implicit emotion and narrative in a few lines and in his illustrations. He draws you in, ending almost every issue with a cliffhanger. Reading just one is impossible.
Lemire builds Gus’s character well. He is a sweet kid, if not a little odd at times in terms of how he sees the world. However that’s because he had been sheltered, with his only contact having been his religious father. Though innocent and simpleminded, he is also intelligent and tough. He may initially point out people as being good or bad, but Gus has the purest of souls to truly determine someone’s real character. When Gus is happy, afraid, or sad, I can guarantee you’ll feel the same way he does too.
Similarly, Jepperd is an interesting character. He’s mysterious, rough, and goes into Rambo mode every time he gets into a fight. He’s a straight to the point kind of guy, but Gus has a way of making him deviate from his usual ways, which means he may have a kind heart in him after all. We don’t learn too much about Jepperd, but for sure there is more to him than meets the eye.
Speaking of eyes, if you have read my other articles, you may know I’m very keen to how artists illustrate and zoom in on the eyes as they can evoke so much meaning. Lemire is the king of this technique. He did it in his graphic novel “Essex County” and he did it again in “Sweet Tooth”. It gets me every time, but I digress.
Now go out and pick up this first volume of “Sweet Tooth”. You know what, get the second volume too. It’s even better.
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.