Sometimes, you can get really attached to a fictional character.
It doesn’t matter the genre: fiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, mystery or romance. It doesn’t matter the format: film, novel, short story, graphic novel or monthly comic book. A good character resonates, both effecting and affecting our minds and hearts. But when it comes time for that character to, well, end, when we view the last frame of the film or turn the last page of the (comic) book, we can feel like we’re losing a close friend. And, sadly, that’s what Wednesday, January 9, 2013 brings us. An ending.
The start of this new year means saying goodbye to a beloved character – no, a series of beloved characters – whose fictional lives have blossomed into friendships with a great many readers over the last four years.
With the publication of monthly issue #40 today, we say “goodbye” to Gus, Jepperd and the highly acclaimed comic book series, Sweet Tooth.
Biff Bam Pop! and it’s many writers have been fans of Sweet Tooth since the very beginning of the periodical. We looked forward to and wrote about the (then) upcoming series in the summer of 2009. I was able to interview the highly regarded series creator, Jeff Lemire, later that same year. This site’s Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Burns, got in on the act and gave a quick review of the first story arc in May 2010. Heck, Sweet Tooth even made this very Wednesday Run column back on March 2, 2011 and regular panellists of the Biff Bam Popcast!, Glenn Walker and Jason Shayer, have expressed their love and admiration for the series regularly.
When talking about Sweet Tooth with my pop-culture friends and acquaintances, it feels a little like when I was in high school and university, regularly listening to bands like Blur and Manic Street Preachers: “Yeah, ‘Everything Must Go’ is great, but I was listening to them when ‘Generation Terrorists’ first came out.”
Have you ever acted that way when talking about something? You only make statements like that when, first, it’s the truth, and second, it’s something that you really, really love. Sweet Tooth, the post-apocalyptic story of half boy-half deer hybrid, Gus, and his father-figure protector, Jepperd, is one of those “somethings”.
Over the last four years, Jeff Lemire has accomplished the incredible. Sweet Tooth, his strange but touching series of trust and friendship and family (and human horror and blood and violence), has lasted through various degrees of editorial upheaval at its publisher as well as endured an industry that prizes sales and properties that can be easily converted into other forms of media for monetary gain. Sweet Tooth, like its’ starring characters of Gus and Jepperd, is literally and figuratively a survivor. In late 2009, you would have never thought that the series would have lasted forty issues. But Lemire’s art was distinctive, his story was personal, and the love he had for his creation was evident on each page of every issue of the monthly comic book.
Because of this, readers embraced the characters as they would friends.
So, whether you’re a reader of Sweet Tooth on a monthly basis or you’re a reader of the collected stories in trade paperback form, make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up issue #40. Today is the end of an era. Today we say “goodbye” to Gus, the sweet boy with the antlered-head.
And as we do with all good fiends, we wish him very well, indeed.
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!