I recently fell in love with the supernatural Webtoon Of Swamp & Sea. It follows Jonah and Mercy, who set off on an adventure after a monster hunt goes wrong. These two strangers soon discover that their relationship may be more than strictly professional. This series is packed with unique characters, beasts, dark magic and dangerous circumstance. Absolutely everything I need! I recently got the chance to chat with creators Jay Boulton and Laurel Boulton about the series, its inspiration and how they balance the workload!

If you haven’t started the series, I highly recommend it! They drop updates every Wednesday and it can be read here!

RELATED: Need more Webtoon recommendations? Check out Saturday Morning Webtoons!

Jonah and Mercy in Of Swamp & Sea Webtoon series.

Jonah and Mercy in Of Swamp & Sea Webtoon series.

Jay Boulton and Laurel Boulton Of Swamp & Sea Interview

Julia Roth: Of Swamp & Sea is a beautiful and engaging Webtoon series. What is the inspiration behind the story?

Laurel Boulton: Thank you! The story that developed into Of Swamp & Sea has been through several rewrites and restarts. I pitched the current incarnation of the story to Jay a few years ago, and at the time, my inspiration was definitely music. I find that certain songs evoke strong feelings for me, and OSAS as it stands now started as a way to try to communicate those same feelings and emotions through a story. The rest of the inspiration for the comic is a patchwork of historical fashion, video games and lyrical poetry. I really can’t stress enough how much music influences me – particularly music in the Southern Gothic genre.

JR: How does the creative process go? Does living in the same home help or hinder the process?

Jay Boulton: It definitely helps since the two of us basically live and breathe the stories we create together – we’re constantly discussing and brainstorming ideas. When we get around to the writing, we do si in a 50-50 split, writing in turns, with myself writing Jonah and Laurel writing Mercy. Once we have a section of the story written in prose format, Laurel adapts it to script form, then it’ll go through editing. After that, I draw up the layouts and inks for the comic panels and pass them to Laurel, who does the character flats for me before sending it back for more coloring, shading and final touches. So, it’s really a back-and-forth process every step of the way.

JR: How far ahead do you have planned for the story? Can we expect multiple seasons?

JB: We have plenty of adventures planned for Jonah and Mercy before their story is done and we’re certainly hoping for future seasons!

JR: What underlining themes do you want readers to pick up throughout the story?

JB: Both of our protagonists have gone through and go through a lot through the course of the story, so I like to think one of the most important themes is of togetherness through adversity. And of something soft blossoming out of hard circumstances.

JR: Will we get the chance to learn more about Jonah and Mercy’s backstory?

JB: There’s a lot to learn about Jonah and more and more of his colorful history and unique life will be revealed over time, both for Mercy and the readers.

LB: As Jay alluded to, Mercy’s perspective is the lens through which the audience experiences the story. Because of this, most of her story is heavily weighted towards after the start of the comic. I don’t think there will be too much further exploration of her past because most of the time, it’s not relevant to this new world Mercy has found herself living in.

Jonah in Of Swamp & Sea Webtoon series.

Jonah in Of Swamp & Sea Webtoon series.

JR: Where do your supernatural monsters come from? Do you pull from different urban legends, or are they self-created?

JB: I wouldn’t say we draw from myths and legends any more than we draw from real-life animals or original concepts. It’s a bit of a blend and most of the time, when I’m designing a monster from scratch, I’ll try to create something that’s not especially like anything else while also having traits that serve a particular function in the narrative.

JR: We love that Mercy is a reader! What would you say her favorite novel is? What would Jonah’s favorite book be?

LB: Mercy tends to voraciously read any fiction she can get her hands on, but her favorite genre is definitely romance. She also enjoys anything with drama or mystery. Her favorite novel is probably something with a combination of these elements, but a little too cheesy for her to openly admit that it’s her favorite – but she carries it with her in her backpack at all times.

JB: Jonah usually reads factual books about interesting places or creatures since he’s always trying to expand his practical knowledge for his line of work. I’m not sure he’d have a favorite book because, being constantly traveling, he switches them out as he finishes them rather than holding onto any. But if I had to guess, probably some old, lost journal once belonging to a prolific monster hunter.

JR: What has been your favorite part of the series so far?

JB: Any part where Mercy is flustered, to be honest. I love drawing both comedy and romance.

LB: The highlights for me have yet to be published, but I really enjoy the opening episode. I love the dark atmosphere, cut through with a bright yellow lantern and seeing the characters come to life for the first time is still exhilarating.

JR: What made you decide to release the series on Webtoon? Is their format the initial way you wanted to tell Of Swamp & Sea?

LB: This one’s a little harder to answer because I honestly cannot remember when or how I first found Webtoon. Jay and I knew we wanted to tell a story together and that the visual medium would be the best opportunity to present it. Webtoon always seemed like such a good option because it provides a way for the artists without connections to get their work out there to a huge audience. We began publishing it on Canvas with the hopes that we’d eventually make it to Originals … and we did! As for the format, I personally enjoy it a lot. I’ve always been into webcomics but have since transitioned to reading pretty much entirely on Webtoon because the scrolling format is so intuitive.

JR: What other Webtoon series are you in love with?

JB: My favorite Canvas series is The Secrets of Soulford. It’s a fantastic read so far and the art, in particular, is extremely inspiring to me.

LB: Like almost anyone who’s in the Webtoon community, I’ve spent a lot of time reading Lore Olympus. It’s definitely a fun read. I also love Stagtown and a Canvas series called Les Piggies.

Of Swamp & Sea Webtoon series.

Of Swamp & Sea Webtoon series.

JR: Have any inspired your work on Of Swamp & Sea?

JB: Absolutely, there’s so much amazing art on Webtoon and it all makes for great inspiration when I’m struggling. Laurel is always introducing me to new Webtoons when she finds ones she thinks I’ll vibe with. Recently she showed me a really beautiful Canvas series called Banshee which I love. The art in Muted is lovely and striking in a way that I’ve always wanted to capture for OSAS too.

JR: Do you have any plans on creating another series after this is done?

JB: We do indeed. We just sort of constantly generate stories together and some of them are set in the world we’ve established in OSAS and some are unconnected. I’m very excited about the idea of bringing more stories to readers in the future!

LB: I’m super excited about this as well! We have a ton of stories to tell and I really hope we’ll get the opportunity to tell them. I’m absolutely in love with the worlds Jay and I have created and I hope that some of that passion rubs off on readers.

 

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