September Meeting Recap: Sweet on Sweet Tooth

By: Scott Zrebiec

This month we had the pleasure of reading Sweet Tooth. Sweet Tooth effectively employed interesting artistic and story elements to create a dark post-apocalyptic tale. It was enjoyed by all present. 

Cover image of Sweet Tooth Book One
Cover image of Sweet Tooth Book One by Jeff Lemire.

The story is a complicated take on a post-apocalyptic world, where all adults are dying of an illness while all children are born with heads that have animal characteristics. A central theme of the story is the clash between the callousness of the remaining adult population and the innocence of the neglected and abused kids. At times the work feels like other apocalyptic stories, e.g. The Road, The Walking Dead or Y: The Last Man, but it differentiates itself well in the conflict between adults and children and being focused on discovering what is going on, rather than just being a story of accepting and surviving a hostile world. Additionally, it is a story about Gus growing up and overcoming adversity.

The art of the comic book is key to the success of the story. The world is built up through techniques such as the use of light to display the darkness of the setting or the use of gore to show the violence and Gus’ powerlessness in the face of foes. Another frequently used interesting style creates fluid dream/hypnosis sequences, e.g. showing characters explore a character’s memories by taking a trip along his antlers, or showing Jeppard shooting Bambi in a dream sequence. The drawing is also consistently interesting: it is one part abstract and three parts realistic, with surreal sequences. Given the role that the art had in building the story, it will be interesting to see how effective Netflix’s adaptation is, which will be viewed by the group at a later date.