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"John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye?" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by PLB Comics

John The Swamp Dude Mobie Graye 00

Written and illustrated by Josh Shockley
Lettered by James Dufendach
2019, 51 Pages, $5.00

Review:

John the Swamp Dude is back with a new adventure. Tasked with solving the murder of his friend, Mobie Graye, he gets crucified, fights a Reaper and comes face to face with a monster from his past. Joined by the scrappy Bobby, the two soon discover they have more than just a murder mystery to solve. There's a deeper conspiracy at work in this swamp.

The design for John is a mix of horror and cartoons. He sits squarely in the middle, looking like a strong warrior with little squid-like tentacles coming from his chin. It's not quite like Cthulhu,it's more like a wiggly beard made of flesh. OK, that was a gross statement.

Writer / artist Josh Shockley strikes the right balance between horror and humor with the look and feel of John the Swamp Dude. Much of the comic relief comes from Bobby, who is trapped in this space and fully understands how crazy this situation is. John is more stoic in nature, ready to fight even the fiercest monsters that come his way in the name of justice.

Some of the panels can look a little flat with the characters appearing in awkward or static positions. There's a lot of walking and talking in this comic, so we see some very similar shots repeated again and again. This might have benefited from some more varied angles to mix things up a bit.

Where this book falls short is with John's internal narration. It's rather overwritten, often telling us things that we can see in the artwork. It digs a little deeper into John's thoughts and feelings, but this isn't always necessary. It's like this was originally written as a prose story and then adapted into the comic book medium without adjusting much of this narration.

Letterer James Dufendach makes these big batches of exposition work on the page. I like how John's words are shown in black caption boxes with white letters, playing up the idea that he is a monster in his own right, but his thoughts contrast his scary appearance.

John the Swamp Dude has a good story in it, but it probably could have been trimmed down a few pages to make for a tighter read. As it stands, it flows more like a video game with John and Bobby going from one “dungeon” to the next finding clues and getting closer to a big reveal. At the bare minimum, this book has gotten me interested in the character and I want to learn more.

Grades:

Story: Threestars John The Swamp Dude Mobie Graye Small
Art: Threeandahalfstars
Overall: Threestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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