Color: Toree Boutz


Page 5 of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth: Volume 1, Issue 38 (Vertigo, 2009).

Jeff Lemire immerses us in a post-apocalyptic world by using color in his graphic novel, Sweet Tooth: Volume 1, Issue 38. He uses harsh line work, shading, and mostly desaturated colors to create the gloomy atmosphere of a rural dystopia where an epidemic has taken thousands of lives and animal-human hybrids have been created in hopes of saving humanity.

Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips write that color “can convey a mood, describe reality, or codify information” (page 81) in their book, Graphic Design: The New Basics. Lemire’s graphic novel is a perfect example of this.

As readers, we feel the despondency of the story and the weight of its content because of its coloring. Here, we understand the mood of the characters is somber, and the setting of the story is ominous. He uses shades and tints of gray, green, and blue to create a dreary scene. This combination of analogous colors service our understanding of a old, tarnished, abandoned space. The value of these colors vary, but often their intensity is low. This interaction of color is also seen within the images of his characters, as Lemire uses tints and shades to create dark shadows on their faces. The lighter tints make us aware of the innocence of these kids, fighting to understand who they are and what has happened to their world, but the darker shades display their mature despair. We see some vibrancy in the clothing of the characters, as Lemire uses complementary colors to create contrast between, say, Wendy’s bright pink coat, or Gus’ red plaid shirt, and the desaturated blues of the background.


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