I remember the first time I picked up a Jeff Lemire comic. It was "Sweet Tooth" and I read it in one sitting. As soon as I finished, I freaked out and ran into my best friends dorm room to rant about it. I started looking for every Jeff Lemire book I could get my hands on. I've read quite a bit of Jeff Lemire over the last 4 years, and he's continued to impress me.
"Essex County" was Lemire's first true breakthrough. It is a trilogy of works surrounding Canadian life in rural Essex County. The stories create a great sense of place, and what it must be like to live in provincial Canada. There is a shroud of poetry and mystery that Lemire wraps the rural country side in. "Essex County" is a beautiful and mature creation and is a signature work of Lemire's.
Lemire's style is thoughtful, poised, and paints emotion well, but for years stories in that realms were his niche. "Lost Dogs," one of Lemire's first published works, and "Essex County" have parallels in tone and style. Both have an eye for the sadness that often goes hand in hand with beauty, and also how sadness can be both heartbreaking and beautiful. "Essex County" and "Lost Dogs" are both well crafted, but they don't belie Lemire's current ability to write varied genres.
In 2012 Lemire began writing the super hero comic "Animal Man". Lemire had written adventure comics before "Animal Man", but what he wrote in "Animal Man" was unconventional. It was on one had, a super hero comic, but on another hand a genre mashup.
"Animal Man" combines horror, drama, and super hero action. Buddy Baker can harness the powers of the animal kingdom. When grotesque agents of decay come for his daughter, who is also a super-hero, Buddy has to fight an epic battle against horrific evil while trying to hold his family together physically and emotionally. It all comes together in a surprisingly complex and exciting read. "Animal Man" was handled with precision and whether or not it launched Lemire's career forward it was a herald of his future.
Lemire's virtuoso talent has continued to prove itself with ongoing works like "Hawkeye" and "Descender." "Descender" has been the darling of pop sci-fi since it's debut in 2015. It's about a little companion robot that gets caught up in a galactic war between humans and robots. If "Descender" has been a measure of fan success, then his invitation to write for "Hawkeye" has been a measure of his success in the industry.
Lemire's success has been no real surprise to many, because he is a fascinating writer. Whatever you read of his you shouldn't be let down. But if you want to see where Lemire's career rocketed forward, go check out "Animal Man." It's something special.
Recommended works of Lemire's: