Sweet Tooth is a Vertigo Comics series created by Jeff Lemire. Several years ago, a plague known as the Affliction decimated the entire human population; since then, the only children born are human-animal hybrids, who are being hunted down. Gus, a human-deer hybrid, was isolated from society by his religious father and longs to escape his home to explore the land beyond the woods.
After Gus' father dies from the Affliction, strange men come to capture him. Gus is rescued by a mysterious and violent man named Jepperd, who promises to take him to the Preserve, a safe haven for hybrids.
It was followed by a six issue series, Sweet Tooth: The Return that was published under the DC Black Label.
Sweet Tooth provides examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Jepperd.
- Anyone Can Die: Several prominent characters die such as Jepperd's wife, Lucy, Jepperd, and Abbot.
- Big Bad: Abbot.
- The Big Guy: Jepperd.
- Driving Question: A downplayed version. One of the main plots is the cause of the plague, but the series concentrates more on the growing friendship between Gus and Jepperd.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Jepperd dies after a brutal fight with Abbot, but Gus and the other hybrids succeed in rebuilding society.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted. Jepperd DOES come back to rescue Gus (and the other hybrids) after he'd abandoned him to Abbot, but Gus is understandably upset and refuses to forgive him until Jepperd risks his life to save Gus from a bear.
- Fingore: In the climax of "Animal Armies," Johnny shoots off all of Abbot's left fingers after Abbot threatens him.
- Half-Human Hybrid: All of the children born after The Affliction. Gus, the main character, has deer-like features.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Gus and Jepperd. Gus is 9, and Jepperd looks around 40.
- Morality Pet: Gus serves as one for Jepperd.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Nearly every fight that Jepperd is involved in is usually just him beating the crap out of his opponent.
- Obfuscating Disability: The man calling himself Walter Fish eventually reveals that he killed the real Fish and took his identity, along with his crutches, which he uses to appear crippled.
- Painting the Medium: Jeff Lemire was very fond of experimenting in various issues, including telling two simultaneous stories, which were separated by one story not having any dialogue while the other did, making a storybook type issue by not having any speech bubbles and having the issue presented sideways, and changing his art style to indicate dream sequences.
- The Plague: The Affliction, which decimated the entire human population. Lucy eventually gets infected and dies.
- Reluctant Mad Scientist: Doctor Singh legitimately wants to find a cure for The Affliction and is shown to be willing to experiment on the hybrids. However, his methods are only harsh because of the pressure placed on him by Abbot.
- Wham Line: From Abbot to Jepperd: There is one ting I lied to you about. Your child...your baby boy..your baby boy didn't die. He's still alive!
- The Worf Effect: Jepperd receives a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Abbot during the flashback sequence of the second arc in order to establish Abbot as a credible threat.