Sweet Tooth: Trusting in the Post-Apocalypse

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #2)

Trust is the foundation of any good relationship. It is what helps relationships thrive and survive in the worse of conditions. Now, imagine a post-apocalyptic world where your survival depends on who you trust. Would you choose to live a life of solitude and mistrust, putting your survival at risk or take a different kind of risk and put blind faith in someone and hope for the best? This question is explored in comic book writer and artist Jeff Lemire’s volume one of Sweet Tooth.

Sweet Tooth is a dark and gritty story about the journey of a human-animal hybrid named Gus and an older man named Jepperd to a supposed reservation where other human-animal hybrids reside. The setting is a dying world affected by a sickness called the Affliction that only affects humans and not these human-animal hybrids. The first volume spans four issues which enter the relationship between Gus and Jepperd. Gus is naive, having been raised in the seclusion of a forest by his late-father, and follows his gut instinct which tells him to believe that Jepperd is a good person despite his violent and coarse nature. Jepperd serves as his protector and nicknames Gus, Sweet Tooth, after Gus takes a liking to a chocolate bar he gives him.

Jepperd doesn’t need to trust Sweet Tooth because he is clearly the dominant of the two so having gained his trust he takes this to his advantage. Sweet Tooth on the other hand has not much of a choice but somehow remains hopeful that Jepperd is someone he can put his trust in.

The art of Sweet Tooth has a gloomy palette which sets the scene for the post-apocalyptic world Gus and Jepperd live in but also sets the scene for a theme of trust that is on the fence of good, evil, and unknown. The proportions of the characters are sometimes off which is just one way Lemire showcases how imperfect the world can be and in this imperfect world he has created trust is something that, too, is off and imperfect.

To survive in a world like in Sweet Tooth, you need both trust and mistrust. Trust in others to form a community of survival but also mistrust in case something goes awry. Does Sweet Tooth’s optimism and hopefulness conquer Jepperd’s possibly devious intentions or does he succumb to his fault of being too trusting? Trust me, it’s worth reading to find out.

–  Kathryn Fornier

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