Tag Archive for 'Jon Lewis'

Spring 2015 + Uncivilized Books

Here it is! Today, we officially announce Uncivilized Books’ Spring 2015 line-up. This season sees us returning to work with some of Uncivilized’s staple artists as well as stretch our legs with someone new.

Our subscription deal is available on our website. We are also offering pre-orders for individual books. The plan is:

 

Borb by Jason Little

Borb by Jason Little (Shutterbug Follies, Motel Art Improvement Service) is the story of a severely alcoholic homeless man, a downtrodden urban Candide whose misfortunes pile up at an alarming rate. The narrative is presented as a series of daily newspaper strips as the author pays homage to the depression-era imagery of Harold Gray (Little Orphan Annie) and Frank King (Gasoline Alley) and the long and complex tradition of the comic strip slapstick vagabond archetype. At once hilarious, horrifying, and full of heart, Borb depicts the real horrors specific to present-day urban homelessness. Borb is Jason Little’s most complex and challenging work.

Jason Little is the author of the Bee books: Shutterbug Follies (winner of two Ignatz awards) and Motel Art Improvement Service. His Jack’s Luck Runs Out comic book was the first Xeric winner to be printed in full color. He also teaches in the cartooning program at the School of Visual Arts. Jason lives in Brooklyn with writer Myla Goldberg and their two daughters.

ISBN 978-1-941250-02-0
Hardcover, b&w, 96 Pages, $19.95
April, 2015

Pre-order here.

 

Robot Investigator by Vincent Stall

Robot Investigator by Vincent Stall (Things You Carry) follows a lonely robot on an expedition to a mysterious planet that looks a lot like Earth. The story unfolds like a parallel universe Wall-E as the robot explores what appears to be a pristine landscape. He meets curious gerbil-like animals and stumbles on… a band of feral humans. Who were they? Why did they turn into wild men? Robot Investigator is both sweet and melancholy, cute and grisly. Stall’s silent sequences are drawn with an inky, lush, and elegant line filled with expressionistic colors. Robot Investigator is Stall’s masterpiece. The book also includes a brand new story and sixteen-page robot parts catalog.

Vincent Stall is an artist, cartoonist, and designer. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

ISBN 978-1-941250-04-4
Hardcover, color, 100 Pages, $19.95
Jul, 2015

Pre-order here.

 

True Swamp: Book 2 by Jon Lewis

True Swamp: Book 2 continues the misadventures of Lenny the Frog. The world of True Swamp grows to include inventor marmots, a living book, the cave-dwelling custodian of the swamp’s one true religion, and most fatefully of all, the walking fungus known as Nikolas Underwoods. The stories collected are the very best of True Swamp and were placed on the Time magazine’s “Top Ten Comics of 2000″ list.

Jon Lewis began True Swamp in 1992. It continues today. Other comics include Ghost ShipSpectacles, and scripts for DC, Dark Horse and Kodansha Publishing. Lewis came to prominence as one of a tight-knit wave of early 90s Seattle cartoonists who brought new narrative ambition to alternative comics. He lives in Brooklyn.

ISBN 978-0-9889014-9-0
Hardcover, b&w, 140 pages, $19.95
Jun, 2015

Pre-order here.

Jon Lewis cameo in Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips’s Fatale

Comic Book Resources published an interesting interview with Ed Brubaker yesterday, discussing the series wrap on he and Sean Phillips’s Fatale.

Jon Lewis appears in the book for a story set in Seattle in the 90s, and while his character ends up dead, it’s still a cool nod. It reads like a companion piece to Brubaker’s introduction to True Swamp: Choose Your Poison.

A lot of people didn’t think they were going to stop in Seattle in the ’90s, Ed.

Yeah. I was stuck there for a long time in the ’90s. [Laughter] It was a lot of fun, though. A few of my old friends from the indie comics scene really loved that arc because it felt like I was taking what I do now and blending it with something like “Lowlife.” Two of the main characters in the band in that story are based on old cartoonist friends of mine — Jon Lewis and Tom Hart. We used to be roommates in a house together and do zines and stuff. So a lot of that stuff was real things we’d talk about. It feels real to me because they’re some of my oldest friends. It was a lot of fun to put them in my comic and kill them. [Laughs] I warned them ahead of time when they gave me permission to use their likenesses that they would probably die badly.

Read the full interview here. Also, check out Jon’s work. It paints an interesting picture of a certain era. Order True Swamp: Choose Your Poison here.

Uncivilized New York

Uncivilized Books is coming to New York for the MoCCA Festival and a couple of post MoCCA events. Here’s what’s going on:

• April 5 & 6. 11 am – 6 pm. MoCCA Festival. We will be tabling with Gabrielle Bell, Sophie Yanow, Jon Lewis, Sam Alden, Alex Holden & Tom Kaczynski. We’re debuting Sophie’s War of Streets and HousesWest Side Improvements by Alex Holden and Eel Mansions #5 by Derek Van Gieson. We’ll be at table C25. Stop by! Info.

• April 5. 1 pm. Sophie Yanow will participate in the Comics and Protests Movements panel on Saturday at MoCCA Festival. Info.

• April 7. 7 pm. Sophie Yanow will read from War of Streets and Houses at Bluestockings in New York. Info. And here’s our Facebook event page.

• April 8. 7-9 pm. Sophie Yanow and Sam Alden are guests at Ben Katchor’s NY Comics & Picture Story SymposiumInfo.

Our First Sale

It’s our first-ever proper sale! Books by Gabrielle Bell, James Romberger, Crosby,  Kevin Huizenga & Dan Zettwoch, Zak Sally, Jon Lewis, Derek Van Gieson & Tom Kaczynski. 20-50% OFF! Check it out!

True Swamp on Hazel & Wren

Our recent collection of Jon Lewis’ True Swamp: Choose Your Poison gets a really nice review at the excellent Hazel & Wren site. Aaron King says:

By diverging from that traditional display of world-building, Lewis presents us with an organic world that’s still a work in progress. As opposed to the metaphorical glass castles of Tolkien or the beautifully intricate machine that is Larry Marder’s Beanworld, True Swamp feels like an expansive backyard to stomp through and build forts in. Reading through it, I want to turn over rocks and tear down branches, and I want to come back months later to see how the seasons affect it.

There much more, check it out.

Klagen 23

During recent inventory we found a few unused covers for Jon (True Swamp) Lewis’ sold out mini-comic Klagen: A Horror. We decided to do a tiny edition of 23. This was an unusual production. It was printed on bright yellow paper to produce a strong contrast with the grayscale artwork. The cover is a mix of black-on-black laser printing, combined with a gold logo (designed by Dan Wieken of Gagged and Blood Folke) printed on the hard to find Print Gocco. If you missed this one before, now’s the time to get it. It’ll go fast!

Brooklyn Book Festival

The Brooklyn Book Festival is on Sunday (Sept. 22, 10-6 pm)! Uncivilized Books will be exhibiting at Booth 63 (along with publishing pals at Exterminating Angel Press & Owl Canyon Press). We’ll have all of our recent books & mini comics AND we’ll have James (Post York) Romberger and Jon (True Swamp) Lewis on hand to sign books and comics!

Additionally cartoonist & Uncivilized Books chief, Tom Kaczynski, will be participating in a panel called The Real: Comics Nonfiction:

3:00 P.M. The Real: Comics Nonfiction. Three artists represent the diverse spectrum of topics taken on by nonfiction comics-Ed Piskor’s Hip-Hop Family Tree offers an encyclopedic comics history of the formative years of hip hop; Lucy Knisley’s Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is a loving memoir of growing up gourmet and Tom Kaczynski’s Trans-Terra: Towards a Cartoon Philosophy is a mutant memoir that melds comics, politics, and philosophy. Moderated by Professor Jonathan W. Gray, John Jay College. Featuring screen projection. [at the BROOKLYN HISTORICAL SOCIETY AUDITORIUM (128 Pierrepont Street)]

Check out the panel, meet the artists, stop by and say hello! See you there!

True Swamp 1 & 2 Review

True Swamp No. 2 by Jon Lewis

I don’t think we linked to this review of our True Swamp mini-comics.

There’s a lot going on in True Swamp, all of which is pretty fun. From the marmot mad scientist, to the weird homunculus Nikolas who can speak to fungi, to the fascination with the sexual habits of various creatures, it’s a unique experience. My favorite bits include Wallace the bird, who is a secret magician and has a sidekick stick-bug wand. The bird from the future comes back to speak to his younger self, as True Swamp tries to impart glimpses of this secret knowledge that emphasizes an appreciation for naturalism. Also? The animals swear. And swearing animals is funny!

Read the entire review here.

Vintage Jon Lewis Interview

Jon Lewis’ True Swamp has been getting some well deserved attention (like this great interview at CBR). While reading that interview, we stumbled on an older one, where Jon talked about a (then) recent bout of media exposure and the (then) new True Swamp comics that followed his well received run now collected in True Swamp: Choose Your Poison. Here’s a sample where Jon discussed some of his influences:

Of course, having intelligent and self-aware creatures roaming a swamp, mixing introspection in with their adventures brings Walt Kelly’s legendary “Pogo” comic strip to mind. While Lewis was aware of “Pogo,” it wasn’t the influence on him that other works, outside of comics and sequential art, were.

“It wasn’t something I really thought about since I was coming much more from the Beatrix Potter and ‘The Wind in the Willows’ end of things — these were huge early-childhood influences that predated and probably even influenced any real nature-experiences in my life. I know I took some visual riffs from ‘Pogo,’ but I think I got them second-generation from Pogo-loving cartoonists, because my own exposure to ‘Pogo’ has been extremely limited. The character of Hale looks fairly Pogo-esque and like everybody I’m always putting in those squat, wavery trees that Walt Kelly patented. Anyway, for some reason, even though Beatrix Potter, ‘The Wind in the Willows,’ ‘Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh,’ et al, always depicted animals as sort of miniature people with jackets and satchels and little houses in the underbrush, I felt certain that my characters should be plain animals, living in holes, eating beetles, having to use their mouths to pick things up ’cause they’ve got no thumbs. They’ve got culture for sure, but no appurtenances. The glaring exception is Hale, the swamp’s only inventor, who has trained his paws to be able to grasp things, and who has a laboratory under a tortoise shell. The story ostensibly takes place in North America, but if I feel like using a kiwi or a gibbon or an iguana I don’t let that stop me; and the cast isn’t confined to real animals — there’s fungus people and grotesque fairies and a ball of fire named Willie.”

Check out the rest of the interview here.

True Swamp Vine Voice Review

An amazing customer ‘Vine Voice’ review of True Swamp appeared on Amazon.com:

I came up with a number of potential headlines for this Amazon review of True Swamp:

“American poet”
“Classic from Seattle’s grunge comics scene”
“How can a comic about talking frogs and a foul-mouthed marmot be so moving and achingly human?”

But ultimately the one I chose above is the place I must start from. Reading True Swamp again close to 20 years after encountering it around 1994, I can reach no conclusion other than that True Swamp is a genuine classic of the medium, and readers familiar with the others — Sandman, Cerebus, Watchmen, take your pick — owe it to themselves to check it out.

[...]

On the surface, Lewis seems to follow few rules of “normal” storytelling. Situations meander into one another, running on pure, sometimes hallucinatory inspiration. Only later, at the end of the chapters, does the reader see how well thought-out the plotting often actually is, for instance issue #2, which floats along in its dreamy, organic, loose way, until suddenly you realize you’ve been reading a tightly structured pulp horror/detective story, complete with some clever plot twists.

There is a confidence to this material that is surprising for such a young man (Lewis began True Swamp at age 21) and someone whose drawing initially seemed so unpolished. The art evolves practically page to page, and by quantum leaps compared to his minicomic art for issue #1, included in this hardcover. Given Lewis’s age and apparent lack of experience, everything about True Swamp *should* have come out as amateur — the art, the writing, the world-building — but none of it does. The combination of confidence and raw talent is something we’ve seen before, but not usually in comics. We’ve seen it in places like rock and roll, punk, grunge.

I see True Swamp as a grunge comics classic. Lewis did create True Swamp in Seattle, in the early 90′s, among a vibrant scene of comic book artists who drew rough and scratchy artwork, and True Swamp is characterized by much of what’s considered the grunge ethos: concerned above all with authenticity (check), full of distortion, fueled by raw energy over technical skill (especially in the original #1, issue #2, and a certain commitment to raw artwork even when Lewis’s drawing had evolved by miles in the later issues), and apathetic, angsty, or depressive lyrics (three adjectives that describe most of True Swamp‘s denizens).

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Read the rest of the review here, and order a copy while you’re there ;)