Jeff Lemire (d͡ʒɛf ɫɘˈmɪːɹ; born March 21, 1976) is a Canadian comic book writer, artist, and television producer. He is the author of critically acclaimed titles including the Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth, and The Nobody. His written work includes All-New Hawkeye, Extraordinary X-Men, Moon Knight and Old Man Logan for Marvel; Superboy, Animal Man, Justice League Dark, and Green Arrow for DC; Black Hammer and Mazebook for Dark Horse; Descender and Gideon Falls for Image Comics; and Bloodshot Reborn for Valiant.
In 2021, Sweet Tooth was adapted as a Netflix television series through Susan and Robert Downey Jr.‘s production company Team Downey, with Lemire serving as an on-set consultant.
Lemire has also collaborated with musicians such as Eddie Vedder on his Matter of Time animated video and Gord Downie on Secret Path, a multimedia storytelling project.
Lemire was born and raised in Woodslee, Ontario in Essex County, near Lake St. Clair. Lemire attended film school, but decided to pursue comics when he realized that filmmaking did not suit his solitary personality.
After self-publishing the Xeric Award-winning comic book Lost Dogs in 2005 via his Ashtray Press imprint, Lemire found a home at Top Shelf Productions.
Lemire serialized a science-fiction strip called Fortress in the quarterly UR Magazine.
In 2006 Lemire’s work was included in an international symposium gathering artists, scholars, curators, publishers, librarians, critics, and writers at the Banff Centre. Lemire’s work was part of the “Comic Craze” exhibit, which showcased Canadian comics and narrative fiction.
Lemire wrote and illustrated the Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated Essex County Trilogy for Top Shelf in 2008–2009.
In June 2011 it was announced that visual effects artist John Dykstra will direct an adaptation of Essex County entitled Super Zero.
2012 saw the publication of a new graphic novel from Top Shelf called The Underwater Welder, which was released to critical acclaim.
In December 2015, it was announced that First Generation Films had optioned the rights to Essex County to develop the graphic novel as a television series from Canada’s CBC. Aaron Martin was set as writer and showrunner, as well as executive producing with Lemire.
In October 2020, Lemire revealed that the show will commence filming in 2022 as a 6-episode mini-series with himself serving as writer, showrunner, and producer.
In 2009, DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint published Lemire’s The Nobody, a two-colour tale of identity, fear and paranoia in a small community.
Lemire wrote and illustrated the full-colour Vertigo series Sweet Tooth, published September 2009 to January 2013.
In May 2020, Netflix confirmed the release of the movie adaptation of Sweet Tooth as a series of eight episodes. Susan and Robert Downey Jr. take part in the project through their own production company Team Downey. While on set during the filming of the pilot in New Zealand, Lemire was hit with an inspiration for how to revisit the world of Sweet Tooth in comics, which led to the 2020 six-issue miniseries Sweet Tooth: The Return.
Lemire signed an exclusivity contract with DC Comics in December 2010. He moved over to the DC Universe to write the one-shot Brightest Day: Atom, with Turkish artist Mahmud Asrar, designed to act as a springboard for an Atom story to co-feature in Adventure Comics. He also relaunched the Superboy series featuring the character Conner Kent. During Flashpoint he wrote Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown miniseries, then, as part of The New 52, he wrote the ongoing series Animal Man and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E..
Further into the launch of The New 52 Lemire took over the writing duties on Justice League Dark with issue #9, while leaving Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. to newcomer Matt Kindt. He continued to write Animal Man into 2012, including teaming up with Swamp Thing writer Scott Snyder for a crossover between the two books called “Rotworld.” In February 2013, Lemire replaced Ann Nocenti as the writer of Green Arrow. His work on the title, which had not been well-received under previous writers, was widely praised by critics and fans, and lasted until September 2014.
Lemire drew a Rip Hunter story for Time Warp #1 (May 2013) which was written by Damon Lindelof and published by Vertigo.
In 2014, Lemire joined a team of writers composed of Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, and Dan Jurgens to co-write The New 52: Futures End, a new weekly series set five years into the New 52’s future. It ran from May 2014 through April 2015.
Lemire wrote Teen Titans: Earth One, an original graphic novel with art by Terry and Rachel Dodson published by DC Comics in November 2014. As part of DC’s Earth One line, Teen Titans: Earth One takes place in an alternate continuity-free universe that re-imagines DC’s characters.
After his exclusivity contract with DC came to an end, Lemire began working with other publishers. At the 2014 New York Comic Con, it was announced that Lemire would be writing All-New Hawkeye, his first Marvel Comics title, with artist Ramón Pérez, which began in March 2015, a follow-up to Matt Fraction‘s and David Aja‘s acclaimed run. The series ran for five issues until September 2015 before being relaunched as part of All-New All-Different Marvel.
Bleedingcool reported in April 2015 that Lemire had signed an exclusivity contract with Marvel, which excluded his creator-owned work with Image and Dark Horse Comics, as well as his work with Valiant Entertainment.
In June 2015, Lemire was announced as a writer for three titles in the All-New, All-Different Marvel branding: All-New Hawkeye, with artist Ramón Pérez, Extraordinary X-Men, with artist Humberto Ramos, and Old Man Logan, with artist Andrea Sorrentino. Three months later, it was announced he would pen the relaunched Moon Knight title, with artist Greg Smallwood. His work on the character served as inspiration for the 2022 Disney+ television series adaptation. Series directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson said of the Lemire/Smallwood run’s influence:
“When we got together […] and we cracked open that run in particular, that was when the visuals of the show really crystallized for us […] The highly formal composition, the bright colors — there’s actually a sense of match cutting, so it even informed our editing a little bit. The blending of realities and all of that, that was a big, big part of it. That’s why we just obsessed over that run.”
— Aaron Moorhead
“There’s obviously a pretty big focus on human emotion in that run in ways that are not kinetic on the page […] That’s why we respected it even more. It’s so hard to just have two people in a panel just having an emotional moment, but that was obviously a big inspiration for the show.”
— Justin Benson
Extraordinary X-Men, billed as the flagship X-Men title, features a team led by Storm, deals with the fallout of the Terrigen Mist, and launched in November 2015. All-New Hawkeye debuted in November 2015, continuing with the story-line established in Lemire’s and Pérez’s previous run on the title. Old Man Logan launched in January 2016, and features a future version of Wolverine.
In December 2014, Lemire launched The Valiant, a four-issue limited series, featuring characters from all over the Valiant line, co-written with Matt Kindt with art by Paolo Rivera. His first work for Valiant Comics, the series sets the stage for the Valiant Universe moving forward.
Spinning out of The Valiant, Lemire began writing the ongoing series Bloodshot Reborn alongside artist Mico Suayan, with the first issue being released in April 2015. The series features Bloodshot, a character Lemire approached by distilling the issues he had him and twisting the prototypical action hero into a more emotionally-driven story. The second story arc, starting with issue 6 in September, featured art by Butch Guice. The third arc, debuting with issue 10 in January 2016, began publishing in the Valiant Prestige format, with art by Lewis LaRosa.
In March 2015, Lemire launched Descender, a creator-owned science fiction series with art by Dustin Nguyen, from Image Comics. Announced on San Diego Comic-Con 2014, the ongoing series follows a robot named Tim-21 through his adventures in space. The series is Lemire’s first creator-owned ongoing series not illustrated by himself. Descender ran thirty-two issues from March 2015 to July 2018. A sequel series, Ascender, set ten years after the original series, launched April 2019.
In January 2015, Sony Pictures acquired the movie rights to Descender after a competitive bidding war. Josh Bratman is producing, with Lemire and Nguyen serving as executive producers. Jesse Wigutow, writer of the Tron: Legacy sequel, was announced as the screenwriter adapting Descender in February 2016.
The World of Black Hammer
In July 2014, Dark Horse Comics announced a new creator-owned superhero series written by Lemire with art by Dean Ormston, titled Black Hammer, set to be released in March 2015. However, in April 2015 Lemire stated that the series had been delayed indefinitely due to a cerebral hemorrhage suffered by Ormston. In February 2016 it was announced that the series would be launching on July of that same year. In 2017 it won the Eisner award for Best New Series.
In 2017, Jeff Lemire launched The World of Black Hammer, a series of Black Hammer spinoff titles.
In 2018, the title was optioned as a “multiplatform franchise” by Legendary Entertainment, with television and film adaptations in the works.
Plutona, a five-issue limited series from Image Comics co-written with artist Emi Lenox, was released in September 2015 to critical acclaim. Announced at Image Expo 2015, the series follows a group of kids who find the body of a dead superhero in the woods, and features colors by Jordie Bellaire. Lemire will be drawing backup stories featuring the last adventures of Plutona.
Roughneck and AD: After Death
In September 2013, Simon & Schuster acquired world rights to Lemire’s newest graphic novel, Roughneck, for publication in 2016. The graphic novel, which Lemire wrote, illustrated, and painted, follows a former hockey player’s slide into depression as interrupted by the arrival of his sister, and was scheduled to be published in October 2016. Comparing the project to Essex County, a book that found success in the mainstream literary world, Lemire stated that he chose Simon & Schuster because he wanted to find a publisher that would treat Roughneck as a novel instead of a comic, with his goal being finding success outside of the direct market.
AD: After Death, a graphic novel written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Lemire, was announced at Image Expo 2015 for release on November of that same year.
In 2016, Lemire collaborated with musician Gord Downie on Secret Path, a graphic novel accompaniment to Downie’s solo album of the same name.
In March 2017, Lemire released a new ongoing series entitled Royal City through Image Comics. He is the sole writer and illustrator. The series follows Royal City resident the Pike family, who live with the ghost of the young Tommy Pike, who “is quite literally haunting them all still and holding them all back.” Lemire originally intended the series to be much longer. He later said of the series’ premature ending:
Of all the books I have done, this one feels like a failure of sorts. I had huge ambitions for the Royal City series. I wanted it to be a place where I could tell all sorts of stories and a place that I could return to throughout my career, and check in on the characters at different points in their lives. But the truth is, the schedule of trying to write, draw and watercolor paint a monthly comic myself, while also writing all my other series for other artists, was just too much. I can do a lot, but doing that really pushed me to exhaustion and I had to wrap up Royal City sooner than I wanted just to keep my sanity.
Royal City is set to continue in Fall 2023.
In October 2019, TKO Studios released Sentient as both a six-issue miniseries and an original graphic novel. Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Gabriel Hernández Walta, Sentient was nominated for the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2020.
On February 16, 2021, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Jock’s Snow Angels launched as a comiXology Original. It is a ten-issue limited series divided into two miniseries of four and six issues respectively. Additionally, a prose short story written by Lemire was released on Amazon’s Kindle and Audible to tie in with the comic’s release. The series was republished in trade paperback form by Dark Horse Comics in 2022. The series won the Best Digital Comic Eisner Award in 2022.
Lemire originally announced this series in his newsletter, Tales from the Farm, in January 2021 before the official announcement the following June. It is a five-issue monthly miniseries, published by Dark Horse Comics. Written and drawn by Lemire, the story follows a man looking for his daughter ten years after she originally went missing. The first issue was published September 8, 2021.
Tales from the Farm newsletter
In early September 2021, Lemire announced his Tales from the Farm email newsletter would be moving to Substack, where he would be serializing a new story, Fishflies. It began September 10, with Lemire projecting the series to run about five hundred pages, with each update being around five pages long.
In addition to the World of Black Hammer stories published with Dark Horse Comics, Lemire will be debuting new stories through his Tales from the Farm newsletter. Several are already in the works.
This was initially announced as collaboration with illustrator Andrea Sorentino codenamed “Project Bark”. It was published as a six-issue miniseries by Image Comics beginning in September 15, 2021.
The Bone Orchard Mythos
In his Tales from the Farm newsletter, Lemire has said he and Sorrentino are already at work on their next project after Primordial, teasing an announcement to coming in the Fall of 2021. Lemire claimed it will be “the most ambitious thing he and I have done together.” In November 2021, Lemire announced the project as The Bone Orchard Mythos, a “shared horror universe of interconnected stories taking place across multiple books and in different formats” from him and Sorrentino at Image Comics. The first three books will be a graphic novel in June 2022 called The Passageway, a mini-series in Fall 2022 called Ten Thousand Black Feathers, and another hardcover graphic novel in mid-2023 called Tenement, with a Free Comic Book Day prelude issue debuting in May 2022.
In May 2020, Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt announced the opening of a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for a graphic novel entitled Cosmic Detective, for which they will be writers with David Rubín on board as artist. The book was completed in November 2021, with the digital edition releasing in December 2021 and the physical edition set to release in 2022.
Announced collaboration with illustrator Gabriel Walta, which Lemire calls “ambitious” and a “longer story” with at least three different story arcs, currently planned for a November 2022 release.
Lemire announced plans to re-team with Descender and Ascender illustrator Dustin Nguyen for a project initially known under the working title of Project Pavement. The project’s name was eventually revealed to be Little Monsters, an ongoing series at Image Comics, and the first issue came out in March 2022.
Most recently, he had signed an exclusive deal with Image Comics.
[Latest Update: September 2, 2022]