SWEET TOOTH #1 is now here.
With smash reviews of Jeff Lemire’s OGN THE NOBODY now out there and everywhere, the anticipation has gotten intense. Creators who’ve sneaked a peek, fellow Vertigo editors, and other DC people from all kinds of departments can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. And I can’t blame them. I’ve been with SWEET TOOTH a long time, and it blew my mind that long ago. Seven issues are in the can of this very different ongoing. You clock the difference in style as soon as you see it—and there are plenty of pages and images around the web that I’m sure you’ve previewed. But it’s also a different kind of challenge to publish, month in, month out. Having a sole creator as both writer and artist is a difficult balancing act—harder than the team approach. You need to be lucky enough to be working with someone who’s mastered both and can produce 22 pages every month; moreover—and this isn’t so easy to clock, but it’s key—someone whose whole is even greater than the sum of his own parts.
With a writer/artist, you have a single vision driving the story. But you can also watch the creator reinvent himself over the long road. In the typical monthly the writer and his or her artist collaborators invariably challenge one another—it’s either supportive, or competitive, or contentious, but that creative friction leads to sparks or fires or disasters that change the book. Jeff would be the first to credit my input as well as original editor Bob Schreck’s, Jose Villarrubia’s on colors, Pat Brosseau’s on letters—but there’s a reason he gets the above-the-title cover credit. It takes a certain nerve flying solo: to believe in oneself or conversely doubt oneself enough to pull the trigger; to never rest on laurels (or antlers, as the case may be); to make what was once new, new again. And this doesn’t even consider the amazing daily page production—being both the sprint and the marathon as issues run on and on. Like I said, I’ve seen seven issues and pieces far beyond that number. Whereas THE NOBODY had a conscious unity, SWEET TOOTH is taken down and rebuilt every issue—sometimes every page. And as far down the road as I can see, who knows where Gus’ journey ends. Not even Jeff knows yet, although it’s in his head somewhere.
Now to reveal an inked spread from issue #5: