I have been looking forward to The Tooth ever since I first heard about it. I got even more excited when I had a chance to speak with the creators at Emerald City. How could I not be excited about a book written by Cullen Bunn with art by Matt Kindt? That is kind of like saying that you don’t get a little bit giddy when the peanut butter ends up on the chocolate (or the chocolate ends up in the peanut butter).
The Tooth is one of those ideas that really only works in comics. It is about Hulk-like creature that is formed from the … well, saying would be spoiling part of the fun. Let’s just say that instead of transforming in to a mild-mannered Bruce Banner, The Tooth transforms in to a real tooth which needs a host. A human host. He is caught in a classic struggle between a powerful figure who hopes to harness his power for nefarious deeds, and the innocent hero who fights for all that is good and right in the world.
From over the top hyperbole in every panel, to letter columns that are a must read this book reads like it stepped right out of the wild and woolly times that were the Marvel 70′s. It is done with love and affection instead of the biting irony and condescension that so many creators show this time period. Bunn and Kindt do there best to fully recapture the era, replicating the look of the stories through the printing process, as well as reminding the reader of the challenges of this bygone era by having one of the issues be missing! It is a neat trick that reminded me of all those times I have missed an issue or two in my collection and have had to catch up with the next issue I could find.
Kindt’s art is wonderfully relaxed. While it is anachronistic to the tightly controlled artistic guidelines of Marvel and DC books of the 70′s and 80′s, it has a life all its own. The characters come alive on the page and the action is fluid and dynamic. A lot of creativity went in to shaping each panel so that it was both faithful to the orginal styling and layout of 70′s comic pages, while still being fresh and original.
While there are a few winks and nods to other books of the era, especially The Incredible Hulk, Bunn and Kindt do a stellar job of keeping The Tooth away from homage or parody. They have created something that is unique and original, but in a style that is familiar.
Overall the book reminds me of Jim Rugg’s Afrodesiac. It is a reminder of the joys of the comic medium and the thrills and excitement that were comics in the 70′s and early 80′s. It was a time when companies, instead of rebooting their entire line, would choose to go in a “bold new direction” with their characters and see what happened. A time when creators were given some leeway to shape and craft their books and characters instead of having to match the editorially driving mandate of the next big crossover event.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Tooth. Love the story. Enjoy the art. Then go dig up a couple of old issues of your favorite 70′s comic and read those as well. It is time to remember why we love comics so much.
Check out our Stumptown Previews site for a 17 page preview of The Tooth!