Friday, January 08, 2010

Rabbit eared girl and antlered boy

Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth #4, by Jeff Lemire

SRSLY, why are you not reading this awesome title? As you will recall, it is set after some monster plague has wiped out most of the world, with everyone else just biding their time until the plague claims them too. The eponymous protagonist is a human-animal hybrid (apparently these are also products of the plague, but immune to its effects), travelling with an ambiguous bad-ass called Jeppard. Sweet Tooth makes for somewhat grim reading, but this issue is particularly intense.

I am curious as to where this is going. Jeppard is supposedly bringing Sweet Tooth to somewhere called The Reserve, where his kind are safe from the depredations of those doomed to die of the plague. But the reader does not really trust Jeppard, even if Sweet Tooth does.

Lemire's art has a unique quality that adds so much to this – I would find it hard to imagine anyone else illustrating this. There is something of a children's storybook air to it, which makes for a considerable contrast with the grim subject matter, but it does not make the art crude or expressionless. There is a wonderful series of images on the last page where we see Jeppard wrestling with his unnamed inner demons, with Lemire managing to suggest the man's troubles without descending into the kind of OTT emo art beloved of DC artists.

It makes me sad that comics shops are stocking so few copies of this title, as it suggests that no one is reading what is still easily the best thing being published right now. Maybe it will do better when collected.

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