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The Adorable and the Horrible Will Collide in ‘Sweet Tooth’

The DC Comics series is the latest work from creator Jeff Lemire to make its way to the small screen.
Sweet Tooth
DC Comics
By  · Published on November 23rd, 2018

Comparison loglines are a wretched practice that often do not properly surmise the film or TV series being pushed on the public. We need to stop using other properties to hype a new one and focus on the spirit and excitement of originality… Said no advertisement executive ever. The reason being that a wild pairing of tried and true concepts can stimulate the imagination. It is cheap but effective. You just have to know how to smash two worlds together. No one is going to perk up at the promise of “the Fantastic Four meets Armageddon.” However, “Bambi meets Mad Max” might do the trick.

That later mash-up is the sentence I first read that compelled me to pick up the trade paperback of Jeff Lemire‘s comic book series Sweet Tooth. I’m not sure who originally conceived the logline, but you can’t witness a contemporary review or a Wikipedia entry without stumbling upon it. “Bambi meets Mad Max” is a powerful slap. That bizarre blend of cinematic ideologies could never possibly exist together let alone actually produce a quality narrative, right? George Miller strapping a saddle across Disney? No way. Huh. He did direct Happy Feet.

In the comic, Gus is a young child with antlers growing out of his skull. He and his overprotective father live in the deep woods of Canada, tucked away from an apocalyptic fire that has erased most life from existence. The father explains that there was a great Accident that caused him to look the way he does, but he is one of the last human-animal hybrids. Then the father suddenly dies of an unknown illness and men in uniform come looking for Gus.

Now, we get word from Deadline that Lemire’s sentimental doomsday coming-of-age saga will land on Hulu thanks to producer Robert Downey Jr. and writer/director Jim Mickle. Forget loglines, that’s a creative partnership that should spark anyone’s attention. Team Downey began life with The Judge, but they are quickly collecting a batch of fascinating properties including an A.I. docuseries for YouTube. Besides directing the features Stake Land and Cold in July, Mickle was the creator that finally realized Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard novels for Sundance TV. He certainly has an eye for cherrypicking the literary for the boob tube.

Sweet Tooth is a magical fusion of the adorable and the horrible. Writing and illustrating the story, Lemire balances great bursts of warmth with some of the most grotesque imagery the end times can manufacture. Running 40 single issues in length, like the very best Vertigo comics of Sandman and Animal Man, Gus’ adventure was carefully crafted with a beginning, middle, and end. The story arc is populated with a variety of loveable and despicable players, eager to get paired with compelling performers. I’ve always felt that it was a perfect book for a television translation.

Lemire has had a banner year himself. His religious horror tale Gideon Falls is currently in production as is his quirky superhero saga Black Hammer. Before he knows it, Lemire will be nipping at the heels of Mark Millar as the comic book creator with the most properties breaking into the mainstream. Hey, Netflix, you should probably get this chap on the phone before Hulu traps him all for themselves.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)