When Sweet Tooth #1 was first published in the fall of 2009, it immediately made a lifelong impression on everyone that read it.
Many picked it up because it was a new offering from an acclaimed, but still up-and-coming, voice in Canadian cartoonist, Jeff Lemire. Others decided to read the monthly comic book because it bore the now defunct Vertigo Comics imprint label across the front cover, a tell-tale sign of unusual, left of center, sophisticated stories from parent publisher DC Comics.
Many more eagerly read the first issue, and then the series, because of its strange, but always familiar, premise: Sweet Tooth was an odd and harrowing tale about the days after the apocalypse. At its core was a heart-warming story about growing up and the relationship between a son and his father.
That kind of association lasts. It’s relatable, across all narrative landscapes and genres.
And Sweet Tooth’s longevity and growing audience interest, now leaping across media in the form of a just-released Netflix series, is a testament to Lemire’s original, tiny and naïve spark: that a wide-eyed little boy with a checkered shirt and antler horns could set the world alight find his way into the hearts and minds of the pop culture ether.
Sweet Tooth is an on-the-road, post-apocalyptic story about survival. After a mysterious plague has wiped out humankind, only hybrid children – a genetic cross between human and animal DNA – have survived. After being raised in isolation by a kindly man, the antlered Gus is forced to leave his idyllic home behind, along with his childhood, as he races cross-country, evading the last remnants of a broken human society, crazed men who would seek to destroy him, in an effort to find protection and his own sense of peace.
Collecting all forty issues of the original series, the 920 pages of the Sweet Tooth Compendium makes for a big book. It’s perfect summer reading as we begin to exit our own, too real, pandemic, and leave behind the safety of our homes, stepping out into a new and reshaped world.
Make the run to your local comic book shop or bookstore today and pick up the Sweet Tooth Compendium.
Read why this was and remains and important pop culture work from an important and prescient voice in Jeff Lemire – someone that also knows what’s important and dear to all of us.