Jonathan M. Sweet (character)

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Jonathan Sweet is an eponymous character who first appeared in the debut issue of The Belch Dimension Comics. He is the de facto leader of a group of teens and preteens called The Treehouse Warriors, all either relatives or friends of his since early childhood. He is 16, and a student at Carbuncle High School in Jigaboo Junction.


Jonathan on the cover of TBDC #1 (May 2005), along with eternal nemeses Tony Moneran and Hiss Hole.

Jon is known for a love of books (esp. the work of Arthur Conan Doyle, but also comic books) and a passion for his studies in school, particularly zoology and psychology). These skills serve him well in his detective work, often enabling him (like his idol Sherlock Holmes) to determine a villain's identity or motive from even slight clues, like a few bits of errant dirt or something odd in a person's speech or demeanor. Jon is a Bob Dylan fan, which is noted throughout the series; he keeps a poster of the singer on his bedroom door and occasionally quotes lyrics from his songs in conversation.

As a young boy he frequently wore a baseball cap and a red bath towel about his neck that served as a cape, fancying himself a superhero. In his politics Jon (much like his creator) is a rock-ribbed Republican, and frequently the comic serves as a platform for Sweet's own conservative viewpoints.

Jon, as are the other Warriors, is rendered in the in-house stick-figure style. The few times Jon is actually seen with a realistic body, he appears to have a fairly impressive, muscular physique (though on a few occasions a large pot belly, if a joke requires it, is seen). On several occasions he sports a mustache and bushy sideburns, which is modeled after series creator Jonathan M. Sweet's own full beard.

Fictional character biography

When he was eleven Jon was exposed to gamma radiation from an explosion of chemicals. After several days in a coma he awoke to discover the radiation had given him a battery of super abilities. He changed from the ratty red towel and hat into a brighter, gold-colored cloak and button-decorated cap, deciding to use his love of comics to good advantage to become a bona fide superhero.

His greatest enemy is Hiss Hole, a gruesomely-mutated scientist whose schemes he has been forced to thwart on numerous occassions over the years. Jon first mentions his enemy's real name and onetime occupation--Dr. James Allen, herpetologist--in "A Girl And Her Chair" (#9). Other enemies include Tony Moneran, Captain Maggot, Dung Tung Wu, Dr. Ichabod P. Freely, Demi-Jon, Jiggawatt, Feminazi, Lord Merdre, and a host of other minor foes.

The Early Years

Allen first met Jon a few months after his terrrible lab accident. [1] The boy, only nine years old at the time, never saw his future enemy's face (it was bandaged). Allen--or as Jon called him, "the mummy-man"--had just pursued and shot a young girl who had robbed his hotel room. In the ensuing struggle, Jon grabbed the object she'd stolen--a magic glass ball--and broke it on the sidewalk. He then stabbed the mummy-man in the chest with a piece of glass (perhaps only in self-defense or terror, but Allen took it as a gesture of truculence) and fled. Hiss Hole bore a J-shaped scar under his left collarbone to the day he died, as well as a deep grudge.

Jon repressed the memory, although during his coma he spoke of it to his oldest friend and teammate Joshua (whose formula had exposed his ailing friend to the gamma rays to begin with). He was unaware of doing so upon awakening. He also was unaware of why he chose to don a yellow cape, although it seems to have been inspired by something the girl said as she was dying (calling him nino del oro, or "golden child").

Snakeman (as he now called himself) "officially" met Jon when he was twelve and had just gotten his powers from a chemical explosion the previous year. The Warriors and the Cobra Clan continued to fight on and off, bitterly, for four years, frequently to vicious but unsatisfying stalemates.

After Hiss Hole kidnapped Jon's sister Marcie and attempted to inject her with mutagen to turn her into a reptilian humanoid like himself, Jon fought and banished him to another world through a portal the reptilian wizard had himself conjured up, and thought him gone for good. However, Hiss Hole reentered our dimension in a bolt of lightning--the scene which kicked off the series--and the old emnity began anew.

However, the origin of the yellow cape may precede that first meeting with Snakeman and the girl. When he was five he was nearly kidnapped by a strange-looking man with a split photograph head. However, a teenager in a golden cape and his friends saved the child. The bizarre man was actually a disguised Hiss Hole, and the teen was the present Jon, who had gone back in time to protect himself from Hiss Hole. Later little Jon recounts his adventure that day with "Gold Cape Man" and the "pretty lady" and the "dog-boy" to his stuffed bear, saying he wants to "fight bad men" and wear a gold cape someday. [2] This would suggest Jon, by interacting with himself in the past, sparked a curious "grandfather paradox".

The Status Quo Changes

Their long years of fighting came to a head in the pivotal "The Cobra's Last Strike" arc, which spanned from May to Sep 2008 (#37-41). Hiss Hole's Nefarious Four kidnapped Marcie, and Jon and the Warriors were forced to navigate a maze called The Black Labyrinth, fight the team, and solve a riddle (based on a series of numbers), under penalty of death if they guess wrong to get her back. During the mission Jon acquired a ring that Hiss Hole had given Demi-Jon to counteract the magic-dampening field he had placed over the maze. The ring healed Jon's grevious wounds and restored his super-powers, but had the unfortunate side-effect of driving him temporarily insane, forcing him to remove it quickly. Meanwhile, Marcie was being held in a secret underground bunker back in this dimension. Hiss Hole, tired of her sass, pulled a Derringer pistol and prepared to kill her. The Warriors--having solved the riddle and defeated the Four--burst into the lair. Hiss Hole whirled around and shot Buddy, Jon's dog, in the head. Jon became enraged and, seizing him by the throat full force, slowly applied pressure. Hiss Hole's last words were "No. Not this way. You aren't a kil--" before his neck snapped. The realization that he unthinkingly has taken a life sent Jon into hysterics.

Jon sought to assuage his guilt by performing charity work in addition to his normal crimefighting duties. However, Demi-Jon returned seeking revenge, having Jon jailed as retaliation for the slaying of his father. Jon acknowledged that while the Ring of Essarhaddon did remove his inhibitions, the subconscious urge to kill was very much his. He seemed almost relieved to be placed behind bars, wondering if maybe he had become worse than what he had spent half his life fighting against. The charges were dropped after the true criminal was brought to justice. It was also revealed he had been seeing a psychiatrist to treat his feelings of guilt.

This experience, as well as the taking on the stress of a heavier crimefighting schedule, soon took its toll on Jon, and he became overcome by fatigue, as well as having strange nightmares. In "Son of the Return of the Serpent II" Jon told his doctor that he feared he had been losing his grip on reality for the better part of the last five months; however, this session is itself to be revealed to be part of a dream. The dreams soon became more severe and debilitating, leaving him an emotional wreck. He also kept seeing a strange child--in reality, his repressed memory of the girl he couldn't save--who repeated in Spanish, "El vato momio" and "los suenos son matarle" (the mummy man and the dreams will kill you). Molina, however, believed they were more than just guilt; they were Hiss Hole himself attacking him from the world beyond. Her supposition proves correct; Jon went into convulsions and nearly died while under a hypnotic trance. Buddy, however--inadvertently hypnotized as well--enters the dream and gives his master the courage to fight back against Hiss Hole, destroying the monster.

The Status Quo Changes: Postscript (The Feminazi arc)

This was a flashback story in CABF09 (#51-53), told by Jon. Though it followed the "Shanghaied Streetwalkers" issue, chronologically this is set between "Double Trouble" and "Son of the Return of the Serpent II". Feminazi's ill-timed attack is described as taking place ten weeks after "the ugliness", and Jon had just recently begun seeing his therapist, Dr. Murray Rouseford. Hiss Hole's disappearance had opened up a power vaccuum in the underworld, and a number of minor villains were jockeying for position, looking to become major figures in Jigaboo Junction's criminal community by getting their hands on forgotten Cobra Clan "tech dumps" scattered about. Jon and Josh were terribly overworked putting out numerous small fires all over the city; Jon, in particular, was so fatigued he had trouble staying awake, and every time he dozed off, he sees terrible nightmare visions (setting up the events of issue #41). Though not directly connected to the events of the other stories in the arc, Feminazi was revealed to be created by Prof. Fruitcake, who had since retired from crime and wishes to distance himself from the Clan's long shadow.

The New Flung arc

During an investigation into the late-night disappearances of prostitutes, which Jon suspected was the work of aliens, Marcie was abducted in the park. As in all the other cases, burn marks were seared into the ground. Jon became so upset over his obsessive search for truth blinding him to his duty that he threw away his cape and renounced his responsibilities. However, after learning that Flunger's people were the ones abducting the women, he journeyed with his friends to the planet New Flung--using Cobra Clan technology--and found a dytopian, stagnant socialist hell ruled by the despotic Amabo Merdre. Worse, Jon was rendered powerless, owing to an anti-radioactivity shield over the alien capital. Imprisoned and separated from his friends for many months, Jon was kept caged like an animal and treated brutally; slowly, due to the loss of his powers and the never-ceasing torture, he begins to lose his mind. But for a brief moment of lucidity caused by an accidental electrical shock while breaking into a lab to rescue Marcie, Jon spent most of his time on New Flung in a feral state. He was later forced for his arrogance to fight fellow prisoners in a grand arena for the amusement of audiences. After sending him several combatants, which he handlily beat, Merdre arranged for Flunger to be sent into the gladiator's circle. Jon, so mad with rage by now he didn't even recognize Flunger, attacked him. If not for Josh's intervention, Jon would certainly have slain his old friend. However, Pan-Li Smintheus--who had adapted Marcie's form to revitalize herself--made her presence known. She used her vast powers to banish Merdre to a hellworld and to rewrite events so that Jon and his friends never came to New Flung. Only Jon retains the memories of the original time stream.

This experience gave Jon a purpose and a new lease on life. He fought back a student uprising at Carbuncle High, led by Demi-Jon, a bare month later, as well as facing foes like Dr. I.P. Freely and Clinton Hollings. He began dating Jeanne Stonehart during this time. Jon also began his search for "The Boss", an elusive underworld figure reputed to control much of the local crime and who was warring with rival gangs for Clan technology reputedly scattered throughout the city.

The Vacation arc  (or, The Status Quo Changes again)

Over spring break, Jon and several members of his team took a cross-country road trip to California.  However, Demi-Jon tried to kill them twice. first with plastique explosive wired to a bridge, then by setting a fire at a gas station and causing a huge explosion. Jon succumbs to rage and tries to choke Demi-Jon to death. This results in the opening of a warp in reality (caused by The Artist's  eraser tearing the paper while trying to erase the entire scene). Half the cast is sent into the plot desert, whereupon Jon has a spiritual experience. He witnesses certain key moments of his past being altered by the mysterious mummy-man. However, he realizes that he hasn't gone back in time, but merely into his own mind, and the "mummy" is actually himself--or, more precise, his own subconscious "mirror image". Citing an "abberation" created by Pan-Li's interference, the second Jon seeks to "make things right" by eradicating and overwriting reality itself. The Artist, meantime, has corrected the anomoly (Jon-2) and rewritten the story's ending so that most of the story never happened (although Jon, Demi-Jon, and possibly Buddy still recall the events of the original timestream), and reality is saved, Demi-Jon and his goons are defeated, and everything comes out happily. Jon and Angela celebrate by sharing their first real kiss at the end, which begins a new phase in their relationship.



Angela has known Jon since the two were five, and though he cares for and respects her deeply, he is completely oblivious to her feelings for him. Creator Jonathan M. Sweet says that "There's something there, all right, bubbling just below the surface...we all know this couple, flirting around for years but never actually sealing the deal--it's so annoyingly cute, practically a cliche. If these two could just stop playing around and get their shit together, they might be pleasantly surprised."

However, the two shared their first kiss at the end of "Belch Dimensional Lampoon's Cross-Country Vacation", and have officially begun dating. ("I Swing the Body Electric!"). On New Year's Eve, at the end of their first year as a real couple, Angela gave Jon a plastic toy ring from a Hu-Man action figure which was an exact replica of the one he'd lost at the beach as a boy, to symbolize their great love and devotion to one another.


Jon's first girlfriend was Johanna Ralston, a student at Sonny Tufts Jr. High. She was upper-class, which caused friction because dating someone below her social station seemed to be an issue with her. Johanna's job, a reporter for the STJH Harbinger, was a also a bone of contention between the two. During the course of an investigation on misappropriated school funds, Johanna's life was threatened. She fearfully phoned Jon late one night looking for help, but he hung up on her. The following morning Jon learned that she had been killed in the driveway of her Apex Courts home by a bomb wired to her car's ignition system. He felt bad that he hadn't paid attention to her cry for help, a guilt he would carry with him for some time afterward.

Two years after Johanna's death Jon finally confronted her killer, knocking her out and leaving her tied up for the police. He visited Johanna's final resting place for the first time and was able to pay his respects with a clear conscience. Jon still sometimes goes to Johanna's grave and talks to her when feeling troubled. This seems to ease his mind, though Josh finds the whole thing somewhat silly.

During the "Cobra's Last Strike" arc Jon is haunted by nightmares in which he races to save her from the car, but fails each time and has to watch her die over and over.  

Jon's first kiss was with Joey, which they had in a broom closet after they snuck out during a church service ("Sound Judgement").

In "Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth" it is revealed Johanna wasn't killed immediately but lingered for nearly 36 hours afterward, and Jon still feels guilt for not going to visit her in the hospital.


Jeanne Louise Stonehart was the niece of Eustace Stonehart, principal of Jon's school. Jeanne's father was Dr. Edward Stonehart, a brilliant scientist who had died in an explosion two years before. Jeanne, as she frequently was, had been present that day in the lab. The blast threw her hard against a wall, neatly severing her spinal cord and confining her to a wheelchair. Jeanne later underwent experimental surgery in French Guiana, South America to relieve painful pressure on her spinal column, which left her with a large scar on her perineum ("Sound Judgement").

Hiss Hole, who wished to use Dr. Stonehart's work--stored in her memory--to rule the world, abducted her. He hypnotized Jeanne and forced


Jon shows Jeanne around the neighborhood in her debut issue (#9, Jan 2006).

her into giving him the secret formula--which, fortunately, was only for a high-strength hair tonic. After this mission Jon and Jeanne remained in touch, even after her visit ended and she returned to Jiggsdale to live with her mom.

Jeanne returned to Carbuncle High some time later when she moved in with her uncle and his wife and became a full-time student. She was instrumental in helping to quell a student uprising led by Demi-Jon, who had enrolled in CHS as "Damian Jones", presumably as part of rehabilitative therapy. Jon told her about his abilities, and the two shared their first kiss, at the end of the battle. They began dating shortly after.

Jon and Jeanne have been together for six months in "Jon's Halfiversary", whereupon he built her a handicapped-accessible bathroom as his gift to her.

They have since broken up, leaving Jon free to pursue a new relationship with his longtime friend Angela.


What do you do with a fishy problem like Maria?


Jon was rescued from drowning in #35 ("Fishy Business"), by a girl named Maria Eisner who revealed herself to be a mutant with a fish's tail. She was seen to be smitten with Jon, even viewing Angela as a rival for his affections; however, Jon never felt more than gratitude towards her for saving his life and being a valuable ally against Captain Maggot.


Jonathan Sweet is at heart a man of duty. He takes his roles as a protector of the city, a member of the Sweet family, and a founding member of the Treehouse Warriors with the utmost seriousness. At times this has led him into conflict with his comrades who do not appear to share or understand this serious attitude. His sense of responsibility is beyond reproach, as seen while being held in jail for his twin's crimes; Jon believes that beings entrusted with great power must be held accountable for their actions. He is a staunch conservative who believes in the opportunity for redemption yet realizes the real world does not usually offer second chances.

Jon's guilt over killing Hiss Hole and long absence from his homeworld coupled with months of deprivation and abuse during his captivity on New Flung ("The Case of The Shanghaied Streetwalkers", EABF02) has left him with some difficulty coping, but therapy and psychic healing has helped him to deal with this to some degree. He fears losing control greatly and is haunted by the possibility that if it happened once, it could easily again.

Although generally a good-humored sort, Jon has blue periods that often last for weeks at a stretch. A small mistake or loss can trigger memories of past failures and cause self-doubt and depression. On at least one point he has considered giving up superheroing entirely out of frustration, but seeing someone in need (EABFO3) rejuvenates his vow and reminds him of just why he became a crimefighter to begin with.

Beneath Jon's hard-nosed right-wing exterior, there remains a certain (and normally well-hidden) streak of playfulness and sentimentality. On the rare occasions he allows himself to let his guard down, he is not above using his morphing powers to drive home a point with a literal visual (for example, turning into a peanut when saying he is going "nuts", or becoming a dinner plate and smashing himself to show he is "flat broke") or to simply amuse his friends. He is fiercely protective of his loved ones, often willing to sacrifice his very life for theirs.


Jon's powers came to him by exposure to radiation. In the Secrets of a Teenage Superhero trade paperback it is revealed that after accdentally knocking one of Josh's experimental formulas off the edge of a table, causing the unstable chemical soup to detonate, the massive explosion caused his body to go through amazing changes. He gained a number of abilities including imperviousness to blows and bullets, the ability to fly and shape-shift, increased physical strength, heat vision, invisibility, and a 30% increase in IQ. His endurance has also been enhanced, allowing him to run at top speeds, hold his breath for sustained periods, and, if injured while depowered or exposed to a lead or magic-based weapon, to heal even grievous wounds quickly.

Curiously, the extent of his invulnerability varies according to the needs of the story. He is shown to be able to withstand conventional weapons or being struck by flying debris on many occassions, yet seems to feel discomfort from crashing into pavement in "Driving Miss Crazy" (AABF05) or the blows from a group of blacks' weapons in "Guidance System" (BABF04) (though perhaps it was only the four-against-one nature of the fight that made him feel overwhelmed). Indeed, many other Belch Dimension characters with no supertalents, such as Monty or Billy, frequently exhibit a cartoonish tolerance for pain if a gag calls for it. Jon is also able to use tactile transfer of certain abilities, such as pafing or morphing, with others by touching, holding, or grasping some part of another person's body, usually a hand.

He posses a form of low-grade telepathy which can read simple surface thoughts and emotions and allows him to sense approaching danger, which Josh once dubbed "Sweetchuck sense". However, this ability has limititations; while it may recognize the presence of an enemy, the precise location, nature, or immediacy of the threat is still vague, and may be easily misread. For example, he may misjudge an innocent person as a danger if he or they are in close proximity to someone who means him harm.

In "Demi-Jon" (BABF05) it is noted that Jon's ancestors were minor nobles and powerful maguses in 11th-century Scotland. It is this, Josh, believes, that allowed Jon to survive the blast, the radiation acting upon the residual magicks in his blood and allowing him to fully tap into a store of long-dormant power.

In addition to his super-abilities, Jon possesses a well-honed scientific mind with a knack for the applied sciences (esp. psychology). He is also an expert mimic and possesses some fluency in Spanish.

Jon is weak against electricity, dark magic, and toxic lead. As Demi-Jon has all the same powers and vulnerabilities, and both twins know full well each's limitations, they frequently use these weaknesses on each other.

If placed in a room with even a small amount of lead present, symptoms range from a mild headache and nausea to a blackout and total powerlessness.

The risk of electrical contact was a huge problem on the two occasions he fought Jiggawatt, as even a small shock would cause his powers to disappear temporarily (similar to the principle of a home circuit breaker).



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