Jeff Lemire: BITTER SWEET …
When I started working on Sweet Tooth three years ago I thought I’d be lucky if the series made it ten issues. I never dreamed I’d be able to tell the kind of sprawling, 40-issue epic that it ended up becoming. In many ways Sweet Tooth’s likelihood of survival in the competitive comics market was about as great as Gus’ likelihood of survival in the post-apocalyptic world he inhabits. After all, who would have bet on a weird little book about a boy with antlers ever surviving in a market flooded with blockbuster cape and tight titles? But somehow it did. Because of my incredibly loyal fans and the a lot of hard work from collaborators like Matt Kindt, Nate Powell, Emi Lenox and, of course, my closest and most valued teammate, the great Jose Villarrubia, Sweet Tooth survived.
So why end it now? I want to make one thing really clear…Sweet Tooth is not being cancelled. The decision to end it at #40 is entirely my choice. Truth is, I always knew what the ending of Sweet Tooth would be. It was one of the first ideas I came up with when writing the pitch for the book. The beginning and the end of this story were always pretty much written in stone, it was the middle bit that was fluid, and grew and changed as I went along. So, for me it’s incredibly gratifying to finally get to the end of the journey with Gus and Jepperd. Everything I’ve done with the series so far, everything I’ve built month after month, has all been about this, the final story.
I suppose I could have stretched it out a bit longer. I could have had a few more obstacles pop up along the way to Alaska to lengthen the journey (and the series), but it just felt like it was time. Gus wanted to get to Alaska now…and who am I to argue? I’ll miss my little antlered friend. But I owe it to him to finish his story properly. To “leave it all on the ice” as they like to say up here in Canada. And that means not prolonging the series just because I can.
But don’t give up on me. I really feel the best is still to come. The final arc, THE WILD KINGDOM, will be full of everything you’ve loved about Sweet Tooth as well asmany new surprises, new characters and new revelations. And it all builds to one final double sized, fully painted final issue with #40 this December.
(cover of SWEET TOOTH #36 the beginning of The Wild Kingdom)
And then what? Well, stay posted, because the future holds new adventures, new stories and new ideas from Jose Villarrubia and I!
May 4, 2012