More than I decade ago my friend Stephen John Phillips suggested that we collaborate in the artwork for a new graphic novel, a fumetti about a harem. I did not know that this would be the beginning of a long work relationship with Vertigo. Of course, I had been aware of the imprint since its inception and enjoyed the bulk of its titles, as I matter of fact I used to buy all of the books that Vertigo published! But I was not sure if there would be other projects after this first one∑ Well, lo and behold, there have been many!
I ended up coloring the (mis) adventures of Japanese teenagers, a biting satire of the American wars, and a riveting autobiographical story about Castro's Cuba. Now I find myself practically married to the post apocalyptic tale of a young boy with antlers! My friend Jeff Lemire has crafted a modern classic and I am honored to be a part of it. Like my dear first comics collaborator, Jae Lee, Jeff knows how to let the artwork breathe, how to let the color tell the story and not dictate every detail that happens on each page. These things make the coloring process delightful. He also gives me free reign with the color choices, making broad suggestions but allowing me to divert from them if I think it necessary. I really feel that I contribute to the narrative with expressive chromatic notes, emphasizing (or deemphasizing) sequencences according to their emotional content. Jeff is a very effective storyteller in black and white, as a matter of fact I cannot imagine Essex County in color, but I also cannot imagine Sweet Tooth in black and white.