WHY I BEAT UP JEFFREY BROWN
By Jeff Lemire
In the opening scene of SWEET TOOTH Vol.2 “IN CAPTIVITY” (Out Dec.8) our hulking anti-hero JEPPERD is shown in a flashback of his life before the mysterious plague wiped out most of the human population and spawned a new race of human/animal hybrid children.
In this scene we learn Jepperd was a semi-professional ice hockey player living in Minnesota. Specifically we see Jepperd punching the snot out of another hockey player at center ice. Now, I’m a Canadian, so it may be no surprise that I love hockey. I follow my team, The Toronto Maple Leafs (stop laughing) religiously and still play myself once a week. And anyone who’s read my previous work knows I love to write about hockey players, so it’s no surprise I chose this as Jepperd’s pre-apocalyptic vocation. (As an aside this reminds me of another funny story. After Bob Schreck left DC, SWEET TOOTH was handed to his then assistant editor Brandon Montclare to edit. Brandon knew about my side-career as a mediocre beer league hockey player. So one morning I left him a phone message at the office telling him I had broken my right hand playing hockey on the weekend and couldn’t draw SWEET TOOTH for at least six months. I received a number of frantic emails in reply by Brandon scrambling to figure out how we were going to keep the book on schedule. It took him about 2 hours until he looked at the calendar and realized that it was April 1.)
Anyways, back to the secret identity of that rival hockey player Jepperd lays a beat-down on in this opening sequence…it’s indie-comics superstar Jeffrey Brown. Jeffrey and I are actually good friends, so this on-page attack wasn’t meant as a slight to him. On the contrary, it was menace as a tribute. You see Jeffrey is the only other comics creator I know who likes hockey as much as I do (well maybe not quite as much, he is an American after all). And Jeffrey’s team of choice is The Detroit Red Wings. Now, growing up in Essex County, Ontario I was smack dab in the middle of both Red Wings and Maple Leafs territory. So as a kid I had to make a choice as to which team I’d follow. I chose the blue and white Leafs. Jeffrey, growing up in Michigan naturally chose the Red Winds. So this was also my way of gently ribbing him. I let Jepperd beat the living snot out of him. Hopefully Jeffrey’s honored, although I still have a feeling I’m going to get my head blown off by an Incredible Change-Bot one of these days. (PS…If you like how I “honor” my friends in SWEET TOOTH just wait until you see what I do to Matt Kindt in the fourth storyline!!)