Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Reader's Diary #864- Jeff Lemire: Sweet Tooth, Out of The Deep Woods

Jeff Lemire, the most reviewed author here at the Book Mine Set, has impressed me yet again. Sweet Tooth is a post-apocalyptic series about life after the Affliction, a mysterious event that left all the newborn children in its wake with animal-like deformities. These children are not safe. In fact, they are hunted.

Sweet Tooth, the titular character (shown with deer antlers on the cover), has known little of the world at large. His zealously religious father has kept him secluded in the woods, stressing that he is never to leave the woods at any cost or the fire will get him. However, when his father passes away, Sweet Tooth becomes lonely and sets off. Before long he comes across a man named Jepperd who promises to take him to the Preserve, a supposed safe-haven for hybrids.

With the various mutations, I was initially reminded of Charles Burns' Black Hole. However, whereas Burns book is about teens behaving badly, Sweet Tooth couldn't be more of an opposite. Out of the Deep Woods, the first in the Sweet Tooth, seems to be an analysis on the fine line between naivete and innocence. Should Sweet Tooth be trusting the stranger named Jepperd? The mystery is the hook of the plot. However, there are enough hooks for the larger plot left to be visited in future volumes: what caused the Affliction? Why is there such a demand on hybrid heads? What will happen to Sweet Tooth next?

As for the art work, they are typical of Lemire's work, meaning if you weren't a fan before, you're not likely to be a fan this time around either. They're highly stylized sketches, but where I think Lemire shines is the frames, zooming in on key facial features and telling as much of the story through emotive expressions as the text. Plus Jose Villarrubia does a fantastic job complementing the mood with the colouring.

I'm very much looking forward to the next volume.

(Does anyone know if Sweet Tooth was inspired by Fall Out Boy's Sugar, We're Goin Down video? Is it just a coincidence? Are there a lot of myths about people with antlers, like human jackalopes?)


Nikki in Niagara said...

Great review, John. Sounds just like my thing! I read my very first Lemire this week, can you believe it? His first book too, Lost Dogs. Think I'm going to read his early stuff chronologically, see how he developed. Pinned this to my tbr!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I love Jeff Lemire's art. It's amazing the nuance that he can capture with a little (or a lot) of ink. I will definitely read this.

Perogyo said...

I didn't really get Sarah's graphic for this year's challenge but I sure do now! I would really like to read this book, I've never read anything of Jeff Lemire's.

John Mutford said...

Nicola: I've not read Lost Dogs. Another one to add to the pile!

Barbara: Let me know what you think!

Perogyo: Yeah, I couldn't resist it.