cover image True Swamp: Choose Your Poison

True Swamp: Choose Your Poison

Jon Lewis. Uncivilized (, $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-98468-142-6

This 20th anniversary edition compiles the first story arc from the early days of Lewis’s indie comic and teems with foul-mouthed slimy creatures and dense emotional philosophy. Lenny the Frog is the focus of this swamp tale, an amphibian with a constant inner dialogue of self-doubt, brought on by his interaction with other swamp life. Lenny second-guesses himself at every turn, whether he’s facing the swamp fairies, battling for his life against a human, or visiting the creepy resident of a wayward human skull—it’s all a catalyst for self-examination, as well as investigation of the big picture. Lewis’s achievement—illustrated with a loose but expressive line—isn’t just that he has effectively grafted human personalities onto animals, but that he has mingled the actual traits of the animals onto those personalities. All the creatures, including bugs and fish, figure into the drama, creating not only tension over the dilemmas the animals face but building on themselves to make a sense of mystery surrounding whole ecosystem. Lewis has also taken great care with the swamp culture—monetary, religious, romantic—to create a believable and intricate society, and it all comes together brilliantly. (Nov.)