Bayou Vol. 1

July 13, 2009 | Trades

To pay, or not to pay: That is the question.

Whether it’s better to read Jeremy Love’s award-winning webcomic series, Bayou, for free as it initially appears at or to pick up the new printed edition, Bayou Vol. 1 (Zuda Comics, $16.99, 160 pages), is a difficult choice.

This spellbinding tale revolves around a poor, black girl named Lee Wagstaff, who’s being raised by her daddy on the edge of the bayou in Charon, Miss., in 1933. Lee has known for a long time that there’s something magical, and a little creepy, about the bayou, but she’s shocked to her core the day her friend, Lily, the white daughter of the woman who owns the property Lee and her dad live on, gets snatched up by a giant smiling swamp monster.

When Lee’s dad is hauled away after being accused of kidnapping Lily, Lee embarks on a quest to clear her father by marching right into the heart of the bayou only to encounter an undreamt-of magical world filled with creatures dripping of old south lore — including a big, green blues-singing hulk of a creature who might be Lee’s only hope of success.

While the free option is certainly a good one, the folk-tale quality of Bayou is somehow accentuated by holding it in your hands. While a little scary at times, it’d be almost perfect for reading to an older child on a warm summer night and is well worth owning.

(This review first appeared in the Toronto Star)

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