Is Sweet Tooth a Superhero?


On June 4, 2021, Netflix released the complete eight-episode first season of its show, Sweet ToothSweet Tooth is based on Jeff Lemire’s comic book of the same name published by Vertigo, about a post-pandemic world in which hybrid human-animal babies are born. Sweet Tooth has received praise from both fans and critics alike, and although it is a comic book adaptation, it is quite atypical in so many ways. Due to the show’s popularity and the fact that it is based on a comic book, I have decided to tell you something about its main character and the very nature of the show itself. 

Sweet Tooth, or Gus, the titular hero of Jeff Lemire’s comic book, is not a superhero in the traditional sense of the word. He doesn’t really have any specific superpowers nor can he go in the same sentence as Superman, Batman, or any other DC Comics superhero. 

In today’s article, I am going to tell you about the titular protagonist of Sweet Tooth, as well as tell you whether he is a superhero or not. You’re going to get all the necessary explanations, so prepare yourselves and enjoy this article about a unique comic book narrative!

Who is Gus from Sweet Tooth?

Gus is the protagonist of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth comic book. He is a young hybrid boy from whose perspective the narrative is developed. In this section, I am going to introduce you to the character of Gus and his story. 

Gus was born with antlers and deer ears and was told that the Sick would never have gotten to him because he was immune. Gus was raised in the forest of Nebraska by his father, Richard Faunin, who told him that his mother, the cutest woman God ever created, had died when he was very young. 

According to his father, the world outside the forest was full of fire, chaos and destruction, as God had to punish all sinners and bring all innocent people to heaven, including Gus’ mother. Raised by a deeply religious father, Gus knew everything about God, about his punishments, about the sinners, about Heaven, and he lived by his father’s rules. 

Above all, he was not to speak to anyone other than his father and flee as soon as he saw someone other than him; then, just as important, he was forbidden to leave the forest, the only safe place on Earth, according to his father’s words. 

When Gus was nine, Richard also fell ill with the mysterious plague that killed everyone else. However, Richard died, leaving Gus alone and completely free to break the rules his father had imposed earlier. 

The first time, Gus accidentally disobeyed the rules: while in the forest, he encountered a real deer, which was immediately killed by two hunters. It turned out that men were actually after him, for Hybrids, as they called him and his kin, were a precious commodity for sale. Gus tried to defend himself with his slingshot, but with near predictable results. 

However, he was saved by another hunter who quickly and ruthlessly killed the other two. His name was Jepperd, and he offered to take him to the reservation, the only place where hybrids could live in peace and without being disturbed by the bad guys. 

Credit Vertigo Comics

Is Sweet Tooth a superhero?

In order to answer this question, I first have to give you a definition of what a superhero is. In their analysis, the portal Fiction Horizon defines four types of superheroes:

  • Superheroes who are inherently superhuman (non-human sources) – these characters draw their powers from non-human sources, whether it is their origins (gods, monsters, demons, angels, etc.) or their heritage (they come from a different location and stem from a species that is superior to humans).
  • Superheroes who use magic (magical sources) – these characters draw their superhuman powers from magic, either being magical beings themselves (wizards, witches, demons, warlocks, etc.) or learning how to use magic through learning. 
  • Superheroes that became superheroes through mutation (mutational sources) – this is a very broad group of characters that contains elements from some other types, but is distinctive in the way that these characters were usually just normal humans who were either born with a mutation that gave them special powers or were exposed to some external source (mutation, radiation, toxins, genetic experiments, etc.) that gave them superhuman abilities. 
  • Superheroes that use science and technology (scientific sources) – these characters aren’t superheroes according to the narrower definition, since they are just ordinary humans with peak abilities that possess absolutely no superhuman powers. Yet, they are extraordinary and they are superheroes according to the broader definition of the term. 

When you look at the following definitions, Gus doesn’t really fit anywhere, right? Certainly, he is different than regular humans, but his Hybrid nature doesn’t give him any specific superpowers. On top of that, he doesn’t really fight against evil, nor does he embody the values of heroism that much. 

Gus is just a normal child that is somewhat different from a visual standpoint. He just fights to survive, not to defeat evil in the traditional sense. 

What are Sweet Tooth’s powers?

Although Sweet Tooth isn’t a superhero per se, his Hybrid heritage – i.e., the fact that he is a human/animal hybrid – does give him some abilities that are not present in “regular” human beings. Let us examine these powers:

  • Antlers, as a human/deer hybrid, Gus has antlers on his head like those of an actual deer; the antlers can have different purposes. 
  • Heightened Senses, which also an animal trait that allows Gus to perceive his surroundings much better than a regular human. 
  • Night Vision, also an animal trait that allows Gus to survive in nocturnal conditions. 
  • Speed and Agility, just like a normal deer, Gus is much faster and more agile than regular humans. 
  • Talking to animals, a trait he received because he himself is partially an animal; this power also has various uses.

Ali R.

I'm Ali, and I'm very much a geek of the 80's. I love all things involving comics, weird dice, low-resolution pixels, badly lipped synced action films with plasticine monsters, loud bright clothes that nobody should have worn, pop songs that nobody should have sung, and TV cartoon shows that ...well everyone should watch.

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