Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you’re still sitting on a pile of Halloween candy that is quickly going stale – what do you do? Art Project!
It actually all started back in October of 2011, when for the first time since I was a teenager, I began following monthly comics again. One of the side effects of being a dad is that it’s put me back in touch with my own inner child, and watching my kids grow up has made me nostalgic about my own childhood. Comic books were one of my major passions as a kid, and I’m lucky to still have my childhood comic book collection in my possession. I recently pulled out the ol’ comic book box to organize and properly store them so that they would still be around for my kids to inherit someday. Handling all those old issues was so fun and brought back such great memories, that after the project was finished, I ended up making a trek to the nearest comic book store, kids in tow, to start some new memories with little super guys of my own.
One of my very favorite comics that I found this past year was Sweet Tooth, published by Vertigo and written by Jeff Lemire. I had picked it up on a suggestion from a comic book store employee who said that it was a good jumping on point. I immediately loved it, so I went back and read all the previous issues to get myself caught up. I think that Sweet Tooth resonated with me not just because of the great art, character writing, and story, but that I had something in common with Sweet Tooth. I, too, was a lonely child, often lonely, whose dad was also a religious man. I just wasn’t a human/animal hybrid. A small difference.
Not long after I got back into reading comics, I got my sights on attending the New York Comic Con (NYCC). I came up with the plan to familiarize myself with the comic industry so that I would know who was who at NYCC. One of the big differences that I’ve discovered about following comics as an adult versus a kid is that you start following the writers and artists just like you would follow your favorite childhood heroes. Sweet Tooth was my favorite book this year, and it’s no surprise that I also enjoyed reading some of Lemire’s other books, including Justice League Dark and Animal Man, and I’m looking forward to picking up his graphic novels, Essex County and The Underwater Welder. I was only able to attend NYCC for one day, but while there I was able to catch Jeff Lemire’s signing session. I asked him to sign my Mighty Wallet, because I had foolishly left my comics at home, and I ended up with a little Sweet Tooth of my own! It was a very cool way to put a cap on of my first full year following comics again.
Sweet Tooth will surely be the comic book I remember the most when I look back at this year’s experience of following comics again, not only because it was my favorite, but also since it is the only series that I’ll have read in its entirety this year. Plus, I actually got to briefly meet the creator. So where does the Halloween candy fit in? Well, Sweet Tooth’s story is sadly coming to an end, with the last issue hitting the newsstands in December. I was reflecting on all of this while staring at our massive pile of leftover Halloween candy when I had the idea to make this edible Sweet Tooth tribute. Candy would make a perfectly fitting medium, I thought, not to mention far easier for me to handle than an artist brush! We used Sweet Tarts, Twizzlers, Cow Tails, peanut butter cups, and caramels. Oh, and the Hershey bar (with almonds). My kids got to pitch in by helping unwrap the candy and squishing the caramels that were used to make the hair (yes, as you can imagine, that was indeed a sticky mess) and they even got to eat a little of the finished product. So there was my own short-lived homage to Sweet Tooth. Thank you Mr. Lemire for an incredible story, although one that’s not quite yet over, and for my own little personal Sweet Tooth to carry around with me!