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Review Group Week 186 - SWEET TOOTH #1

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Postby Punchy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:52 am

Sweet Tooth #1 - 'Out Of The Deep Woods Part One' - Lemire and Villarrubia

Story - Comics have a strong history of stories set in Post-Apocalyptic Wastelands, from Jack Kirby's Kamandi to Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra's Y: The Last Man, this particular milieu has proved a fertile setting for all sorts of stories, and has many more permutations (or atomic mutations) than you'd expect. So now we have Vertigo's Sweet Tooth, yet another wasteland book. But is it a waste of paper?

Haha, no, of course it isn't. Although this debut issue is mainly set-up for the world Jeff Lemire is going to explore, Sweet Tooth is a different kind of Post-Apocalypse book, it's weird, it's off-beat, and it's Vertigo. Jeff Lemire is somewhat of an child-wunderkind these days, his Top Shelf GNs Tales Of Essex County, and his Vertigo OGN The Nobody have been critically acclaimed, but I personally haven't read any of them, but on the strength of this issue, I will do so post-haste (or as soon as I have some money). Lemire's previous work apparently focuses on small-towns and how they act under certain circumstances, and in Sweet Tooth, he's dealing with the smallest community possible at first, a community of 2. Gus and his father live alone in the woods, isolated from everyone else. Oh, and Gus is a Deer-Hybrid mutant, So It's like Bambi, and also that Fall Out Boy video, and they live together in the Woods because the world has gone to hell. So there's that.

Lemire narrates the issue with Gus' rather childish thoughts. His grammar is mixed up slightly, and there's a sense of childish wonder, his description of Telephone poles as 'falled-over crosses' is poetic, and haunting. Haunting, that's the word I'd use to describe the feel of this book most of all, there's a sense of melancholy which pervades the issue, from Gus' attempts at play ('Get out Sinner!'), the way the chocolate bars stand out amongst the pure white snow, and the wonderful double-page spread where the seasons change and Gus' father passes away. It's really a sense of isolation that is presented here, and that's incredibly fitting.

So, Gus is left alone in the Woods because of his father's death, and this is where really, the adventure begins. He runs into 2 hunters, who attempt to capture him, and then is rescued by a mysterious one-eyed man who he has been seeing in his dreams.

Thinking purely plot-wise, this issue is pretty light, but as I said, there is a melancholia here, this issue has a genuine feel to it. Lemire has set up a tone unlike any other Vertigo book really, this is more about the quiet moments than the action. I'd have to read his previous works first, but I presume this how an Indie sensibility applied to Vertigo works. And of course, there are more than a few mysteries here, why did the world go all to hell? Why are babies being born with animal bits? What is the sickness that killed Gus' parents? Who is this one-eyed man? Why is Gus dreaming about him? There are all strong hooks, and are sure to hook anyone in.

Overall, this is a great first issue, it may be a little light on story, but when you're only paying a Dollar (or 80p), and the creator has created such a strong sense of what the book's tone is, you can't really complain. Much of the imagery in this book will stick with me for a while, you can't get any higher praise than that.

Art - And the chief reason why this book will stick with me is the artwork. Unusually for a Vertigo book, Lemire is illustrating as well as writing, and he does great job. Perhaps the reason the book feels so strong in it's tone is that it's all coming from one mind, but Lemire's scratchy indie art perfectly convey's Lemire's story, the trees of the deep-woods are simply lines, but this makes them look like bars to a jail-cell, which in a way, they are. Gus is spindly and small, the world is towering around him. The aforementioned 2-page spread is wonderful, and the image of Gus standing between his parents graves is one of the most haunting in a book choc-full of ghosts. And then there's my favourite bit, Gus' confrontation with a real-life Deer, and how we see his eyes... and the Deer's, and they are the same. Hits to the core of the book. Lemire's previous work has been in Black and White, so there may have been some fears that his work would suffer in the jump to full-colour, but this is not the case, Jose Villarrubia is a master colourist, and the tones used here are also great.

This is great cartooning, it may not be for everyone, but it suits the book exactly.

Best Line - 'Til there wasn't nothing left. Just me... me and the Deep Woods'

8/10

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Postby Punchy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 7:10 am

Heh, I just noticed the solicitation text uses the word haunting. Guess for once solicitations were right.

And Old Man, instead of referring to the character as AB or Abbie, how about Gus? The character's name? Not too hard to remember, even for an old guy like you is it? Or does respecting the material not fit within your schtick?

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Postby Old Man » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:23 am

Punchy wrote:And Old Man, instead of referring to the character as AB or Abbie, how about Gus? The character's name? Not too hard to remember, even for an old guy like you is it? Or does respecting the material not fit within your schtick?


Well, Punchy, I could tell you to eff off. I could tell you to respect your elder. And I could tell you to mind your own eff-en business. But I won't.

What I will tell you is that I couldn't remember the name. Remember that I said I didn't buy the comic. And I didn't think to go research it until I was half way through my review. That's when I decided to go back in my review and go with the shtick. But if you go back to my edited review,

http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/view ... ?p=1358086

where I added 2 paragraphs, you'll see where I said, "...Abbie (whose real name is Gus, btw)...".

So, yeah, I did it for shtick, but you are right -- giving the character the proper name at some point in the review is a good idea.

Post mortem: I have had a computer and been online for about 8 years, and I still sometimes forget that I have an amazing investigative tool at my fingertips. It's not second nature to an old fart like me like it might be for the younger people online. My entire life, my research tools were a dictionary, a thesaurus, or a trip to the local library. It sometimes very hard to change patterns set over a lifetime. But I try; oh, how I try.
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Postby Punchy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:25 am

Old Man wrote:Well, Punchy, I could tell you to eff off. I could tell you to respect your elder. And I could tell you to mind your own eff-en business. But I won't.

What I will tell you is that I couldn't remember the name. Remember that I said I didn't buy the comic. And I didn't think to go research it until I was half way through my review. That's when I decided to go back in my review and go with the shtick. But if you go back to my edited review,

http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/view ... ?p=1358086

where I added 2 paragraphs, you'll see where I said, "...Abbie (whose real name is Gus, btw)...".

So, yeah, I did it for shtick, but you are right -- giving the character the proper name at some point in the review is a good idea.

Post mortem: I have had a computer and been online for about 8 years, and I still sometimes forget that I have an amazing investigative tool at my fingertips. It's not second nature to an old fart like me like it might be for the younger people online. My entire life, my research tools were a dictionary, a thesaurus, or a trip to the local library. It sometimes very hard to change patterns set over a lifetime. But I try; oh, how I try.


Good.

You could have just looked at the solicitation text posted in the first post of this thread, it mentions the name Gus there.

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Postby Mr_Batman » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:31 am

Sweet Tooth #1

I certainly enjoyed this comic book, and I'm surprised, but at the same time, I'm not. There was some great writing in this comic, and I absolutely loved it. Gus is written so well, even though he's a new character. I'm really excited as to where this goes next. This could turn out to be a really good series. It was just excellent story wise, and I can feel for this kid, whom I had no idea about just days before this book came out. That's when I know it's been a good comic

As for the art, it really didn't do anything for me. Though I will say I think it's perfect for this comic. Like I said, I didn't love it, but I certainly didn't hate it. What I'm trying to say is that this isn't the kind of art I'm used to seeing. It only adds to the story that's been established.

Overall, a fun comic, that I will DEFINITELY stick with. Stay tuned.

Story- 8
Art- 7.5
Overall- 8 (Gotta love that cover)

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Postby Kerny » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:53 am

Sweet Tooth # 1

Wow. I was really impressed by this. Gus the deer boy is a character I could see really liking. He's from the classic mold of not terribly intelligent, but it pure and innocent. If this issue is any indication, I'm looking forward to where this story takes us, because I think the world Gus lives in is pretty damn interesting. Like others have said, it was a quick read. Also, I thought it was weird to hide the fact he had antlers in the beginning when it was rather known he did from all the previews

Also is it me or is it becoming a weird trend for teenagers/emo kids to like the plaid shirts and antler horns? I've seen some art in other places and a Fall Out Boy video comes to mind....but anyways I'm off subject

The art was ok. It's nothing fancy. It fits the story though, I don't think this book would work as well as it did with another artist on it for example. Plus I like that he's writing and drawing his own story.

Story 9
Art 7.5

final score: 8.25 (heh)

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Postby Old Man » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:53 am

Punchy wrote:You could have just looked at the solicitation text posted in the first post of this thread, it mentions the name Gus there.


Yep. But like I said, it's still not second nature to me. My brain was all about "I don't have the issue in hand, so I can't check facts". Often, once we get our minds working in one direction, it's hard to change direction. Especially so when you're old, man.
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Postby Punchy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:58 am

Old Man wrote:Yep. But like I said, it's still not second nature to me. My brain was all about "I don't have the issue in hand, so I can't check facts". Often, once we get our minds working in one direction, it's hard to change direction. Especially so when you're old, man.


Are you even that old? If you can use a computer, I doubt you're out of your 40s.

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Postby Old Man » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:31 am

Punchy wrote:Are you even that old? If you can use a computer, I doubt you're out of your 40s.


Don't stereotype me, Punchy. I am old, as Starlord can attest. We go to the same comics shop. But old is an attitude, and I've always been younger mentally than my true age.
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Postby Punchy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 11:35 am

Old Man wrote:Don't stereotype me, Punchy. I am old, as Starlord can attest. We go to the same comics shop. But old is an attitude, and I've always been younger mentally than my true age.


You're probably like 42!

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Postby Old Man » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:41 pm

Punchy wrote:You're probably like 42!


I neither confirm nor deny. :P

But, at this point, no matter what age I say I am, would you believe me? I mean, after all, it is the internet, and I can be any age I desire...on the internet. I could claim to be 35 and female. I could claim to be 65, old, fat, smelly, and posting while I am in my underwear. Even if I sent you a copy of a birth certificate, there could be doubt as to that being my real birth certificate.

You'll just have to trust me when I say I am old. And you would have to trust Starlord's word about it if you were to ask him. I am old, man, but not decrepit. :twisted:
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Postby Punchy » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:48 pm

Old Man wrote:I neither confirm nor deny. :P

But, at this point, no matter what age I say I am, would you believe me? I mean, after all, it is the internet, and I can be any age I desire...on the internet. I could claim to be 35 and female. I could claim to be 65, old, fat, smelly, and posting while I am in my underwear. Even if I sent you a copy of a birth certificate, there could be doubt as to that being my real birth certificate.

You'll just have to trust me when I say I am old. And you would have to trust Starlord's word about it if you were to ask him. I am old, man, but not decrepit. :twisted:


I am a Birther, but not for Obama, but for you.

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Postby ****** » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:49 pm

Sorry, short review from me this week...

As far as first issues go, this was a pretty good one. We get introduced to a new and intriguing world and are given a character for the audience to connect to. The art was expressive and easy to follow. I dug this a lot and look forward to reading it in trades.

Story: 8
Art: 8
Overall: 8

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Postby Victorian Squid » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:30 pm

Short review here too. I liked the book, liked the atmosphere it evoked. It's always interesting to see a writer/artist who doesn't have to collaborate with many people to get the work done. Vertigo should take more chances like they've been doing with books like this. Deer are cool too, and I like the way Gus has that deer-in-the-headlights stare. Lemire did a superb job with Gus in issue 1, hopefully the characterization for the old guy will also be as interesting.

8.5

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Postby Old Man » Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:10 pm

Punchy wrote:I am a Birther, but not for Obama, but for you.


That's funny.
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