If Wes Anderson did a panel treatment on Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road, you’d get something akin to Jeff Lemire‘s Sweet Tooth.

Color me intrigued.

[Note: Comic Virgins is a recurring series written by Amanda, with comics selected by Ben and Mike. Previous installments here.]

Disclaimer: I only read the first volume, Out of the Woods, so keep that in mind if you’ve read the whole series. These views are just from looking at five issues, but man, those were five good issues.

I start with the Anderson/McCarthy comparison because this comic, like many of the works from Anderson and McCarthy, comes out of left field. I don’t know where to place it. I don’t know how to feel about it, and I don’t know what to expect from it.

And I like it.

I don’t know where this story is going to go, which is refreshing. I felt that many of the other comics (barring Carl shooting Shane in the neck) were fairly predictable. This one, I’ll be honest, is an enigma. Why does he have horns? Why does Jeppard just drop his ass like a sack of flour? Why is there a brothel? What was the disease? Is it zombies? Is it more like Stephen King’s The Stand? Does everyone just get a really bad case of the flu? (I knew I should’ve just gotten that damn vaccine.) Why do we focus so much on everyone’s eyes?

Seriously. Eyes. All the time.

Seriously. Eyes. All the time.

As Dane Cook once said (and yes, I know, I’m quoting Dane Cook, shoot me): I have 42 new questions and no goddamn answers.

But I do have some thoughts about the comic in general.

I love Gus. He’s a great character, and Lemire really has me hooked. I care about this little 9-year-old with antlers, though I have no idea why. Perhaps it’s his adorable doe eyes. Maybe it’s his endearing innocence. Maybe it’s because he’s the only person (? is he technically a person?) that can rival me on eating chocolate.

In the opposite corner is Jeppard (as he says in the comic, it rhymes with Leopard). Do I like him? Maybe. Does he protect Gus? Yes. Can I trust him? Not as far as I can throw him, especially that he up and leaves Gus for a bag of something right at the end of the first volume. He’s a hardened man thats seen some shit.

I also love the plot. I’m a fan of dystopia stories in general. I love to see how people react when they are thrown into the worst possible situation. This story has it all – plague? Check. Dead parents? Double check. Murderous rebels trying to catch our horny (teehee) friend? Triple check.

BUT WHERE DOES IT GO? We said for Comic Virgins that I’d either be reading the first issue or the first volume before I write a post. This is the first comic that’s truly made me want to break that. I want to read it all, in one sitting, just so I get some answers. I feel like I can’t comment fully on the story, except to say that I’m intrigued and want to continue reading. This is a good thing, in my opinion, but I hope it doesn’t last too long with this many questions. I feel like the reader needs something to keep them going on. If there are just more questions as a story goes on with no answers, things ain’t satisfying. (I’m looking at you, Lost.)

One thing I feel like I can speak well on, though, is the general appearance of the comic. The visuals, so to say. I love the minimalist design of the backgrounds of most panels, which automatically directs the readers’ attentions on the character or action in the panel. You don’t get to wander around a picture, as you can with some of the more detailed comics out there. You’ve got to head straight to the action. Sometimes, he’d just take the background away, literally just character on a white backdrop. It made for a much quicker read than normal, because I wasn’t always gawking at the stuff in the background.

He LITERALLY has lines POINTING toward the action. Kind of obvious, but very powerful.

He LITERALLY has lines POINTING toward the action. Kind of obvious, but very powerful.

That said, there were some panels were Lemire demonstrated that he’s a damn artist, and I had my jaw drop open at the stunning images he drew. I feel his minimalist approach for 85 percent of the comic made the 15 percent detailed that much more powerful. As for other aspects, the lettering was fairly typical of comics, it seems. All caps, though, can get boring. I wish someone would just employ lowercase. Just once. Please.

Taking a larger step back, I think it’s time I look at my Comic Virgins journey so far. I looked back at some of the earlier stuff I wrote, and I find it interesting how often I would focus on trying to fit the comics into the larger picture of the world of comics as a whole. I’m still doing that now, but I’m having fun just letting the stories come at me. They’re such a fun departure from what I’m used to. I’m really just enjoying sitting down and reading something just for the sake of entertainment (and experiment, let’s not forget).

Have you read the rest of Sweet Tooth? Will I continuously be asking questions, or will I ever get some answers? Let me know below! Also – have any suggestions for what I should read in the future? I’m on the look-out for more.

About The Author

Hey there! I'm Amanda, and I'm the managing editor for DetroyTheCyborg! I come to the job with a background in journalism, English, American culture and all-around interest in what makes up our site.

For a living, I'm a government reporter for a newspaper my hometown. Seeing as that can be a bit monotonous, I welcome the opportunity to write occasional book (and other) reviews for DTC. If you see a book coming up I should review, let me know!

My interests are many and varied. I love table top games, bad movies (and good films!), music of all genres and the occasional graphic novel. Ben P. is trying his hardest to increase my interest in comic books - stay tuned for the outcome of THAT adventure. When it comes to books, I've yet to find a genre that I won't read. I have a particular affinity to Lord of the Rings and non-fiction first-person explorations - see Mary Roach's Stiff or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals for examples.

My other abilities? I find that I make a mean batch of cinnamon rolls, and I can (most of the time) keep the crayon inside the lines.

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