Sweet Tooth is a comic book, and it ain’t about superheroes.
It’s a comic about a mutant hillbilly child living in a post apocalyptic world. The mutant hillbilly’s name is Gus, and he’s got the ears and antlers of a deer. Gus lives with his pa, who is not a mutant, until his pa catches some kind of plague and dies. Then Gus is discovered by Jepperd, who is also not a mutant. See, in this story most folks got wiped out by the plague, except for these mutant half-animal children who started getting born about seven years ago, or maybe nine.
That don’t matter much. What matters is that this book has few new ideas and the kind of story that doesn’t usually get told in comic books. At the start, Jepperd tells Gus he can take him to a place where there are other mutant hillbilly children, where they’re protected. The two bond along the way. They have adventures. The world is filled with things that are bad and dark. There’s always the question of where they’re going.
Jeff Lumiere writes and draws this comic. His writing is a bit better than his art, which is loose. His lines aren’t perfect; they’re thick and they wander and make mistakes. People’s faces look funny and misshapen. Lumiere’s got a few issues with light. In one part, when Gus and Jepperd sit at a fire and talk, Lumiere drew shadows on both sides of their noses, so they looked like they had mustaches.
But something about how the art ain’t perfect makes sense. It’s wrong in the way Sweet Tooth‘s world is wrong. The mutant hillbilly boy looks sort of warped the way a mutant should. The art shows the world the way Gus would see it.
After all, the whole book comes down to Gus. He’s the guy who tells the story. We watch as he stares wide-eyed and dumbstruck at the terrible world he blunders through. He’s got a sad voice when he narrates. he’s unschooled, but not dumb. Lumiere did a good job imagining Gus, down to the mutant boy’s love of chocolate and the buzzed-out happy look the kid gets whenever he eats the stuff.
During their adventures, Jepperd calls Gus “Sweet Tooth” because of how much he likes chocolate. Other than that, the title doesn’t have much to do with the story. You have to wonder how long Lumiere will be able to keep his characters talking about sweet tooths.
It’s nice to see a comic book with a new story and real characters. Maybe some of the other folks who make comics will see this book and make up a few of their own.