When I began to flip through the pages of Sweet Tooth I instantly noticed I had discovered something different. The characters Jeff Lemire introduced left me empathetic toward their peril, and the strange wilderness setting was akin to an offbeat dream.
The first issue follows Gus, a kind-hearted half boy, half deer with an affinity for candy bars. He and his human father live in seclusion in a cabin in Nebraska, and have done so since a plague destroyed most of humanity a decade earlier. As a result of the plague, every child is born with resemblance to an animal, and they’re referred to as hybrids. Gus’s father is a highly religious man and preaches to Gus about the sins of life outside their woods. Eventually, the plague kills him and Gus is left alone. Gus is discovered by two dangerous hunters, and their attempt to catch him results in an incredibly violent cliff-hanger.
I applaud Jeff Lemire for his focus on the tone in this issue. He simply allows his characters to be and to let the world speak for itself instead of arduously filling in every detail. As the series progressed, the missing pieces from this issue became one of the very reasons I found myself so invested in Gus’s journey.
Lemire also draws the comic and is an artist who can convey a lotwhile only drawing a little. His pencils may come across as rushed at times and may seem to contradict the book’s often slow pace, but the combination didn’t deter me, and I found it to fit the eerie mood perfectly.
“Sweet Tooth #1,” as well as every issue that’s come after it, receives my highest recommendation. Check it out, and you’ll be satisfying your longbox sweet tooth in no time!