Creator Spotlight: Jeff Lemire

by Kaitlyn Talbot

I figured my first blog post should be about my first comic love (Sweet Tooth), but I’d rather do it about its writer and artist, Jeff Lemire, and use Sweet Tooth as just one example. I fell in love with comics when one of my old co-workers handed me Vol. 1 of Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo). Everything about that one volume got me hooked. The art was so jarring, and it went hand in hand with the discomfort that Lemire makes you feel in the narrative.

Sweet Tooth is set in a post-apocalyptic world where women start giving birth to hybrid animal children, before dying. The remaining humans in this world start hunting the hybrid children and running tests on them to find out why and how this is happening. Our main character Gus has been living in hiding with his father in the woods. His dad was a religious fanatic and raised Gus that way.

Gus ends up leaving home with a man named Jeppard, after his father dies, to find where he comes from. The story goes on from there and keeps you on the edge of your seat, ripping your heart out with every chapter.

For those of you who know me, you all know I have strong obsession with (most things) Jeff Lemire. His indie work is written with so much heart that you can’t help but get attached to the characters and be left wanting when the story is done.

Lost Dogs was his first graphic novel. It’s about a man and his family. That’s all I can say without giving spoilers. I cried the entire time I read it and for about 10 minutes after I finished it. Essex County is set in Canada, and the entire series revolves around the people in the county and how they are all connected. It’s real-world stories and there isn’t much action, but it has so much feeling that you don’t need the action. The Nobody is about an invisible man, how he became invisible, and his search to make himself normal again. Think Edward Scissorhands, but for a more grown-up audience.

He’s currently working on two stories with Image, Descender and Plutona. Descender reminds me of Toy Story so much! The human race has evolved into space and robots are an essential part of their lives. Tim-21 is a child-robot companion to his human Andy. Watching their friendship turn into a brotherly love is one of the most precious relationships in this series. A thing happens and Tim-21 gets separated from Andy and ends “sleeping” for over a decade. Tim-21 immediately sets out to to find Andy, accompanied by his robo-dog Bandit and a mining bot named Driller. This is not a light-hearted story about a boy and his dog.

Plutona is set in a small town and has 4 young teens as the main characters. They’re brought together one day after school when they stumble upon a dead superhero named Plutona in the woods. As with all things, events happen, and now they have a huge secret to keep from everyone else. Dealing with this and also dealing with being hormonal teenagers who just want to be cool starts ripping their friendships apart, and brings a sense of mortality to them.

Lemire has done some work with the capes as well, my favorite being the current Hawkeye run. He keeps all the funny that Fraction had but throws as much tragedy in it that he thinks we can handle in one issue. Also for Marvel, Lemire is currently writing Old Man Logan and Extraordinary X-Men, and Bloodshot: Reborn for Valiant, to name a couple. Previously, for DC, he worked on Animal Man, Justice League United, Constantine, and Green Arrow, among others.

Some people get sucked into our world for the love of a character, others a genre. I was brought into this fascinating world by the love of a writer.