Theth is a title I picked out of my giant pile of Christmas comics. The pick was totally random, but I happened to have read a long article on Josh Bayer in Study Group Magazine, Issue #2, an article which piqued my interest in the creator. The pick was a fortunate one. Seth is a 1980 misfit, wearing a spacesuit everywhere he goes and living with his stepmother, who insists that he call her "Mom." The other students call him "Theth," and he spends his time at the general store, where he never buys the comics, just reading them for free. The day John Lennon is killed, a stranger tells Seth that he can just steal what he wants, just take it.
Bayer's style is unique, with powerful lines; it's so cartoony, for lack of a better word, primal, alive. His work has been compared with punk rock, but to me, it's more like the free jazz from an unpronounceable Nordic city in the heart of winter. All apologies to punk rockers aside, there's a lot more technique to free jazz than there is to punk rock, at least in punk rock's original form. The story is as primal as the art, just a boy who can't fit in.
Theth is something akin to a painting, a long one. At 80 pages, it took me almost an hour to read, although in typical fashion, I did have wrestling on in the background, multitasking. What makes Theth great is all the unanswered questions. Why does Seth wear a spacesuit? Where is his dad? How old is he exactly? I could go on, but I would be revealing too much. I'm not a mean person, but I felt the urge to call Seth "Theth," myself. He's so... different. We're told that we should love the different ones - the artists, the poets, the philosophers - but we also want to punch them, too.