The start of the series ‘Sweet Tooth: The Deer Boy’One of Netflix’s latest surprises, it may seem opportunistic. A virus spreads across the world, threatening civilization with annihilation, as in the visionary ‘Contagion’. The premise connects with the current pandemic, but it is due in part to a great coincidence. The start of production coincides with the rise of the coronavirus last year, but it is quite common to find this dystopian approach in the fantasy and horror genre, especially in its most apocalyptic aspect. Pulling such a start immediately puts the viewer in place. There is the recent ‘The Stand’, based on the book by Stephen King, without going any further (available in the Starzplay catalog). Besides, the premiere that occupies us is part of a homonymous comic that already has its time, written and drawn by Jeff lemire, one of the most prolific creators on the current scene of sequential art, with an exultant career as a screenwriter. The limited series of starting comics was published by the Vertigo label of DC Comics, specialized in the adult public (ECC publishes it for these payments). Count the adventures of a deer boy, a hybrid born just when humanity is in danger suffering the consequences of the deadly epidemic before mentioned. He is not the only subject that shows characteristics of an animal in his physique, in this case a striking antlers and hairy ears. There are other people like him who are persecuted for their condition, a common resource in cartoon fiction, exploited to exhaustion in reference titles such as the ‘X-Men’ saga. Are these different beings to blame for the disease or its possible solution? This and other unknowns vertebrate a story with a calm rhythm, precious in its image, which manages to catch the viewer thanks to its endearing characters.
Probably ‘Sweet Tooth’, set in a post-apocalyptic world, is one of the most personal comics by Lemire (Canada, 1976), a multi-award-winning creator who in 2015 was commissioned to relaunch the three most popular Marvel series: ‘Hawkeye ‘,’ X-Men ‘and’ Wolverine ‘. His ‘Essex County’ trilogy, published in a full volume by Astiberri, was singled out in 2011 as the best Canadian novel of the decade. ‘Black Hammer’, the series that he scripts with drawings by Dean Ormston, won the 2017 Eisner award for best new series and the Madrid Booksellers Guild Award for best comic. Astiberri mainly publishes the material he signs for independent publishers, series such as ‘Black Hammer’, ‘Plutona’, ‘Descender’, ‘Gideon Falls’ or the recent ‘Ascender’, in addition to betting on his comics as a full author, ‘A tough guy’ and ‘Royal City’. Its audiovisual adaptation features the work of Jim Mickle behind the camera, an interesting incentive considering his personal work in genre films such as’ Stake Land ‘,’ We are what we are ‘or’ Cold in July ‘, in addition to sketching for Netflix the film’ The sinister side of the moon ‘, whose beginning is extraordinary -to plummet-, and figure in the credits of the estimable series’ Hap and Leonard’, available on Amazon Prime Video.
‘Mad Max’ meets ‘Bambi’
Ironically defined in some circles as ‘Mad Max Meets Bambi’, the first season of ‘Sweet Tooth’, with Robert Downey Jr. in production credits, it consists of eight episodes of slow but pleasant digestion, with a prologue that directly appeals to emotion. His main character, optimistic in the face of adversity, exudes humanity. Empathizing with his adventures is inevitable, in addition to having an exceptional performance. With just eleven years old, Christian convery (‘Venom’, ‘Descendants’), with extensive experience in front of the cameras despite his young age, embodies a difficult role, very similar in its essence to the original comic. He is accompanied in his tribulations by a protective type who seeks redemption, as in ‘The Mandalorian’, which in turn starts from the reference manga ‘The lone wolf and his cub’. Nonso Anozie, seen in ‘Artemis Fowl’, he plays the good-natured giant who helps the little king of the role on his journey in search of his mother after the death of his father. Despite having some moments that freeze the blood, with scenes typical of horror movies, does not reject the drama and can be understood as a family adventure that pulls on fantasy to hook the audience.
‘Sweet Tooth’, translatable as ‘sweet tooth’, was filmed last summer in New Zealand. The conversion to real image is allowed some licenses in pursuit of the audiovisual language. The plot has been softened and some dark passages have been dispensed with to increase its potential audience. The violence is not so explicit and there is no trace of the brothel that appears in the comics. A voiceover from a narrator intervenes at the beginning and end of each chapter to highlight information of interest and emphasize the tone of magical realism of this commendable adaptation of the vignettes to the screen.
‘Sweet Tooth: The Deer Boy’ is available on Netflix.