GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Grot: The Story of the Swamp City Grifters

Top Shelf: IDW. Jun. 2020. 200p. ISBN 9781603094665. pap. $19.99. Rated: Teen+. fantasy
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Even among all the preexisting fictional dystopias, writer/illustrator Grant (Blue) comes up with an original setting for his “Swamp City Grifters” series. In climate-change-ravaged Australia, bicycle pedal power has taken the place of fossil fuel and disease is rampant, but green algae is priceless. In this first volume, two brothers—straight-arrow Lippy and roguish Penn—travel from the boonies to big, bad Falter City expecting to make their fortune. Grant’s artwork resembles Geof Darrow drawing Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant with Lynda Barry-esque grotesqueness, but this is no freak show; Grant develops this grotty world and its particulars steadily and surely, and it becomes impossible not to root for the brothers as they fall prey to con artists and a city without pity. While no masterpiece, the familiar material is brought to freshly funky life, with the sort of characters and uniquely dystopian foundation that should make readers eagerly anticipate the next installment of this ongoing series.
VERDICT A strong optional choice for general graphic novel readers fond of postapocalyptic and noir fiction. Apart from general grossness, contains profanity, mature themes, and some gory and disturbing scenes.

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