Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sweet Tooth - Script and Pages *UPDATED*

It's nice and safe out there. Pressed up against the exterior of our doors and windows is a world that won't turn on us at any second. Danger does exist, but it isn't as prevalent as the world Jeff Lemire (pronounced Luh-meer) has created in his comic book "Sweet Tooth."

Along with being post-apocalyptic - which already means its a notch above our world when it comes to danger - there is a crazy chance if you're a child in the "Sweet Tooth" world you will be a weird human/animal hybrid, like the title character, "Sweet Tooth" (real name Gus), who happens to have antlers growing out of his head.

Lemire's stories are not sunny, so don't go into reading something of his hoping for a reason to start your toes a'tapping. Loaded with melancholy, Lemire's works are often dark and downright sad.

Issue number six of "Sweet Tooth," which was recently published by Vertigo Comics, is a great example of a spot occupied on the emotional spectrum by the majority of Lemire's work. It is soul-crushing; it will make your face scrunch up, your eyes feel heavy, and possibly even add a little quiver to your lip.

And it is the most fun I've had being sad in a little while. Lemire writes and illustrates the comic by himself, so it is basically all his (except for the colors, which are done by the great Jose Villarrubia). Mr. Lemire was kind enough to supply me with the script for issue six, and with his permission here are two pages from that script, along with the corresponding pages from the issue. For a really interesting comparison of craft and how the process of comic book creation is different for everyone, look at these pages first, then check out John Layman's scripts and the finished pages, illustrated by Rob Guillory, of his comic "Chew" here.

Since Lemire takes care of both writing and illustration duties on "Sweet Tooth" his scripts are much looser, and contain way less panel description than normal scripts. This is demonstrated nicely by how the line "...fighting I can do," is relocated to page two in the final comic, while within the script it is located inside panel four of page one.


After reading the comment about why Jeff Lemire may write full scripts for a comic he both writes and illustrates, I contacted Mr. Lemire and asked.

"Originally I did just write the scripts for editorial purposes, as I was used to working much, much looser, with just a detailed outline. But I found as I got into a few issues of Sweet tooth that the detailed scripts actually helped me to organize my thoughts and break down my outlines. I actually thumbnail as I write the scripts now, and it really works for me. Especially with a set page count that I have to work within each month. I guess the scripting process helps most in terms of writing dialogue. Once you get into the flow of of the writing the script it helps the dialogue come out more naturally."

He went on to explain the difference between versions of his scripts, particularly the variations in drafts, saying, "Of course I am always tweaking and changing my script as I draw, re-arranging panels...this is so the letterer has an accurate script to work from once the issue is drawn. The script [you posted] was a lettering script, so earlier versions would have diverged from the final art even more."

Thanks again to Jeff Lemire for being freaking awesome.

*Click on the images to make them larger.*

Sweeth Tooth 6 - pg.1 "Sweet Tooth" issue 6, pg. 1
"Sweet Tooth" 6 - pg. 2 "Sweet Tooth" issue 6, pg. 2


  1. So, he's scripting just because of the editors, right? I can't imagine that he chose to do this or that he did this for the Essex County trilogy.

  2. I checked with Mr. Lemire, and now the post is updated with his response to your question. Thanks for the interest John!