Sweet Tooth is another book in the recent wall of post-apocalyptic titles. But it’s Jeff Lemire’s art and storytelling that puts his book at the top of the to-read stack. His art is by no means mainstream comic book fashion and his characters are quirky, often animal-hybrid mutants but it’s the blend of emotive visuals and character-driven storytelling that keeps readers coming back to Sweet Tooth. Lemire also has a touch for detail that makes him a master of his craft.
Gus, AKA Sweet Tooth is a doe-eyed and antlered little boy that has seen very little of the world and as he explores it, through meeting new characters, seeing incredible violence and imprisonment, the reader discovers this world through his eyes. Lemire makes his protagonist the ultimately innocent child, an ignorant if relatively intelligent lover of sweets. It’s hard to find fault in Gus at the beginning of the story but it’s his development as a character as he’s forced through his world that makes him unforgettable and hard to leave behind.
Visually, Gus, Sweet Tooth has wide eyes, a trait that makes parents love their children at birth and he has the antlers of Bambi. He always looks like he’s worried, let down by the world and bordering on crying. Later, when he meets a few more mutant friends in a prison camp, they all have that same sweet-animal innocence that make them sympathetic, looking like they need protecting from a hard and difficult world.
For anyone that doesn’t know Lemire’s work, Sweet Tooth is a surprisingly strong read but to anyone that’s ready Underwater Welder or Lost Dogs, this is the perfect, ongoing title to see him develop an extensive world and characters with the same elegance as these other works.