TRUE SWAMP by Jon Lewis

August 3, 2012


Filed under: Comics (click to enlarge) — joncroaker @ 8:51 am

It’s time for me to officially announce the most exciting single publication my work has ever seen. Last week, I completed the panel-by-panel restoration of all my art for the original, five-issue TRUE SWAMP series (drawn 1992-1994, published 1994-1995). I’ve just finished my Afterword, and the Foreword and Critical Introduction are coming in from Ed Brubaker and Charles Hatfield. It’s pretty much put to bed. It’s…


200 pages, 7” x 10”, Hardcover, $19.95

Published by Uncivilized Books, Minneapolis MN

Available at retail this November!

If you’re a human being, you can pre-order a copy HERE.

If you’re a bookstore, then god bless you–  and please order from Consortium Distribution HERE.

This is the deepest I’ve been buried in these pages since I actually drew them 20 years ago. It’s been pretty intense. I feel okay saying that these were the most urgently felt comics I’ve ever made. I have other perspectives to bring to TRUE SWAMP today, but there’d be no one around to appreciate them if not for the vivid fever of its first creation.

So, what do I mean by ‘restored’? Did I redraw stuff? No. My digital enemies were faded lines, smudges, white details half-swallowed by adjacent blacks, that kind of thing. I pretty much left the art alone otherwise. The most significant work I had to do was in the lettering. It wasn’t equal to my  art in those days, and my sense of spacing was quite poor. So a great deal of 2012 has consisted of me grabbing words and nudging them further apart from each other in order to greet the eye more readily. These stories have never looked or read better than they do in this volume.

As a bonus appendix, I’m including the original minicomic-only version of True Swamp #1 in all its raw, congested murk. The art is completely different from what came out in the mass-printed #1. There’s also the four-page Hale story from Dark Horse Presents and the ten-page The Anole and the Box, which I consider a high water mark for my art of this era.

I’m going to be saying a lot more about this book in the coming weeks—and finally getting back to drawing new comics about our unhappy little vertebrates, thank god—so I’ll shut up for now. Spread the word, if you don’t mind.



  1. VIVID FEVER is what I live for

    Comment by Tom Hart — August 3, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  2. woot!

    Comment by Atsurumi — August 3, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

  3. Oh yeah, bring it!

    Comment by Scott Faulkner — August 5, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  4. Hi Jon– I’m a True Swamp reader since back in the day. Congrats on the new collection.

    I wanted to contact you about the possibility of buying original artwork or a commissioned piece. Contact me or post your email please if that’s something you have the time and inclination for. Thanks!

    Comment by Erik — August 31, 2012 @ 9:19 am

    • Hi Erik– sorry for not responding sooner. I do have original pages from all issues of True Swamp available (except for a few which have been bought over the years). The size of my originals has varied from issue to issue– in the original series, issues 1, 4 and the back half of 2 were drawn the same size as print, while the first half of 2 was slightly oversize and 3 and 5 were significantly oversize. The second series was all drawn the same size as printed. The current series is drawn same size too but with overlays (which is to say the pencils and inks exist separately).

      I also do pieces on commission (black and white, in brushwork and/or pen and no larger than around 10″ x 14″). My address is (convert the asterixes to the letter between N and P) j*ncr*aker@gmail.c*m.

      Comment by joncroaker — October 29, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  5. Glad to see the DHP story included. It was my first exposure to True Swamp, and ever since I’ve thought of you as “that guy that did the Pissed-Off Rodent story.” It took hunting through many small midwestern comic shops to find all those original issues. More, please.

    Comment by Dasbender — September 2, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

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