Fantasy Trader 41 (October 1979) Where “comics and science fiction lives!” This little UK fanzine proved to be quite the doozy to track down. After looking for a number of years. I was fortunate to… More
From Bayou to Abyss: Examining John Constantine, Hellblazer is now available!
A Hellblazer anthology was released on Tuesday and I’m thrilled to have been involved in such a fun book. The 364-page anthology examines the mage’s history from his beginnings to the present with a slew of insightful essays by some familiar names. James Delano, Nancy Collins, James Chambers, Genevieve Williams and Tony Simmons are just a handful of the extremely talented contributors.
A little over a year ago I was contacted by the editor of the book (also a friend & fellow Swamp Thing fanatic), Rich Handley to pitch an idea for an essay. Being more of a know-it-all of all things Swamp Thing, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to write an in-depth essay focused on John Constantine. Turns out I did indeed have it in me, and the topic of the essay permanently emblazoned on my backside. You may be familiar with the subject matter of my essay, “The Birth of a Mark: Swamp Thing Leaves Revenge Behind.” Below are a couple sample pages.
I had a blast writing the essay and enjoyed chatting with the folks involved in creating John Constantine during the process. You can order a copy here!
Blandman #1 (1992)
Eclipse Comics takes a poke at DC/Vertigo’s poor sales and struggles with readership in this one-off spoof comic. The comic features a parody of Swamp Thing (Swamp Thug), John Constantine (Hellrazor), The Doom Patrol, Shade the Ch… you catch my drift.
The books creators, Fred Schiller, Bill Maus and Bob Hanon depict The Vertigo cast setting out to increase their sales. Dicey Comics (DC Comics) put the imprints characters in a home and they are ready to get out.
Constantine frantically ruminates while Swamp Thing assumes the booze drinking, laid-back type. Constantine wants his big break, he wants to be popular again.
Swampy and Constantine share a beer while reminiscing about their salad days. Even Abbygull Arcada and Alex Hollandaise make an appearance. Swampy references Melon Smore’s (Alan Moore) epic run and how his career dipped considerably once he departed as writer from the title.
Continue reading “Swamp Thing‘s Beer Break”
The New Teen Titans #22 (1986)
Interlude, Part Three: Friends & Foes
Swamp Thing doesn’t appear in this book, his name not even mentioned. But, John Constantine does have a cameo and he alludes to our “mossy friend”… atop George Washington’s head.
How does this all come to be?
Exposition time: Within Swamp Thing #49 “The Summoning” (1986), Constantine awakens/enables Steve Dayton’s (Mento from Doom Patrol) powers. Constantine convinces the frazzled/unstable Dayton to put on his Mento Helmet in an attempt to make contact with the spirit realm. The two panels below, from Swamp Thing #49, give you an idea of how things went with the helmet. The two panels also give context to Steve Dayton’s mental state going into The New Teen Titans #22.
losing your mind while witnessing what could be the beginning of the end of the world is not an ideal headspace when exacting revenge.
Guy Gardner: Warrior #29 (1995)
It’s My Party and I’ll Fight If I Want To
Guy Gardner’s Warrior’s Bar is having its grand opening and it appears that ALL of DC showed up. To emphasize/celebrate the over the top event, this book is outfitted with a cover that opens up to the impending party. Guy’s Warrior’s Bar is open for business! Step right in…
The gathering is so large, even Darkseid heard about the shindig.
You’d think with the vast cast of characters present that Beau Smith (writer) & Phil Jimenez (pencils) were trying to set a record for most superheroes in a single issue. And amongst this enormous cast of characters lies an extremely small Swamp Thing appearance.
Wizard #62 – 1996
Flashback to 1996! Wizard Magazine is five years old and another Swamp Thing series comes to an end. October of 1996 saw the final issue of Swamp Thing series 2 with, #171 “Trial by Fire”. But that’s not why this book is Swamp Thing gold. Wizard #62 is special because it features a Swamp Thing parody image along with an article related to the NES game
Within the magazine is a fold-out calendar and poster, Wizard’s 1996 “Spooky Calendar” to be exact. Swamp Thing and Batman start October strong, featured as the 1st day of the month. Highlighted in this parody panel is Alan Moore’s notable story, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” from Swamp Thing #53. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to write about that issue-and its surrounding story arc-but it’s one of the greatest Swampy arcs. It holds a special place in Swamp Thing fans’ hearts. It features one of many defining moments in Abigail & Swampy’s relationship. Swamp Thing also brings Gotham City to its knees and battles Batman.
“It’s a jungle out there! Alec visits Gotham City in Swamp Thing #53, October 1986” Swamp Thing looks on, unhappy while Batman begrudgingly cleans up Gotham City-post issue #53. Note: although the cover of Swamp Thing #53 reads October 1986, it was published on July 17, 1986.
The back of the Wizard “Spooky Calendar” features a poster of the Fantastic 4 by Jim Lee.
On page 42, the staff of Wizard magazine casts Kingdom Come with acting greats. “Since Alex Ross painted these heroes to look like regular folks, it’d be a cinch to cast, so we did.” Quite a few of their pairings are dead on. I’ve included a couple of the pages below.
Continue reading “Flashback ’96 – Wizard 62, Swamp Thing on a Calendar”
Harley Quinn and Batman TPB – 2019
When I purchased the trade paperback, Batman and Harley Quinn in March of 2019 I was thrilled to see Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy and Floronic Man in one book. But, I was surprised in realizing that I’d never read the chapter in the book titled, “Floronic Man: The Judgment of the Green.” It’s the only chapter in the book to feature Swamp Thing and I was not familiar with it. I just assumed this book was a collected edition, comprised of previously published comics. So why couldn’t I find, “Floronic Man: The Judgment of the Green” as a single issue within my collection? I’m usually aware of upcoming Swamp Thing releases, acquiring any and all Swampy appearances as soon as they are released. This story had me buzzing with excitement to track it down!
A Swamp Thing story that may have flown below your radar (as it did mine) was released in a trade paperback in March of 2019. It might have gone unnoticed because-prior to the TPB-the story was only available in digital format and was originally released in November of 2017. I have quite the blind spot when it comes to digital comics. I prefer physical comics and as a completist, I’m usually focused on the physical format which lead me to completely space on this Swamp Thing story.
Batman and Harley Quinn: the 136-page trade paperback collects chapters 1-5 of the digital comic series, “Harley Quinn and Batman“ and chapters 1-7 of the digital series, ”Batman and Harley Quinn” (November 2017). The digital series was created by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett to act as a continuation to the Batman and Harley Quinn animated film from August 2017. The film featured a small Swamp Thing cameo making his appearance in this continued story arc even more exciting.
Floronic Man: “The Judgment of the Green”, part 3 of 7 of Batman and Harley, is written by Matthew Dow Smith with art by Sandy Jarrell. In the story, Floronic Man has been summoned by the Parliament of Trees to be held accountable for his crimes against nature and humanity. Mistakenly, Woodrue thinks he has been brought before the Parliament to be commended for his acts against humans and for defending nature. Woodrue has upset the balance of the planet and the Parliament wish to restore it by eliminating Jason Woodrue.
Woodrue eludes the Parliament but is quickly confronted by Swamp Thing whose been tasked with returning him.
In typical fashion, Woodrue thinks he knows what is best for the Green. He gets so wrapped up in thinking he is Earth’s #1 candidate for avatar of the Green that he forgets who is actually in control of the Green.
The Parliament reclaims Jason Woodrue and judgement is served.
The dedication, “For Len” at the end of the story couldn’t be more fitting. The great, Len Wein passed in September of 2017. This digital comic was originally released 2 months later, in November. Len and Bernie are greatly missed. Enjoying and sharing Swamp Thing tales like this helps to remind and educate others of their greatness.
DC Comics Co-op Advertising Program Binder – 1991
Friend and purveyor of all things comic books, John Nordstrom swung by the house (social distancing was indeed applied) to give me this fine DC marketing/advertising program. Since the virus is doing its damnedest across the globe, Nordstrom had time to root through some of his items in storage. He was pleased as punch to find a little bit of Swamp Thing within the DC Advertising Program. I was even more pleased to take it off his hands! Although I had never seen the DC Program binder before, I was familiar with the Swamp Thing appearance within it.
Front cover of binder
The program came with 2 DC Co-op Pre-Authorization Forms, the business card of then DC Marketing Representative, Christine Maturo and 22 pages of advertising information. Sure the ad info isn’t all that entertaining but the artwork involved in the layouts is pretty cool! I’ve included photos of various pages from the program, below.
The binder is broken-up into 4 sections: The “Dear Retailer” letter, “General Information”, “Ad Slicks” and “Yellow Pages”. All but the “Dear Retailer” letter feature special binder tabs. My favorite portion of this binder is the Yellow Pages. That’s where the Swamp Thing lies.
Within the various Yellow Pages ad examples, Swamp Thing can be found on the right, interior page.
Four years ago I stumbled upon the same Yellow Pages insert page from the binder. I thought it was a one and done item. I wrote about it here with more detailed photos. Four years later I now know where the inert belongs, pages 19-22 of the DC Comics Co-op Advertising Program binder!
Back binder cover
Matt from Foreign Comic Collectors Magazine (FCC) contacted me this past weekend to ask if he could use images from my website for his latest episode of Global Comic Safari. Having a hefty collection of non-US Swamp Thing books, I was happy to oblige. In their new episode, Matt and Jon Z (of CBSI) look at international comics featuring Bernie Wrightson & Len Wein’s classic, Swamp Thing #1. The comics feature some beautiful variations from Mexico, France and beyond. Matt also discusses the different styles and sizes that publisher, Navaro (Mexico) used in publishing the comics.
Jon Z is a member of the Tales from the Flipside Podcast team as well as a contributor to comicbookinvest.com
Matt is a foreign comic fanatic and a founder of the Foreign Comic Collector Magazine. You can join the Here
The publication is Comics Buyer’s Guide. The date is March 13, 1992. Financial magazine, Barron’s influences Marvel stock prices, The Shadow of the Bat is the talked about ongoing series, and Peter David is in search of heroes. In March of 1992, Nancy Collins’ intriguing and fun Swamp Thing #117 “The Lord of Misrule” (Series 2) is released. Yet, noticeably on the Editorial page of this CBG is a satirical cartoon knocking DC comics, referencing Rick Veitch’s unpublished, “Morning of the Magician” from 1988. DC’s controversial decision in not releasing the story still circulates in conversations today.
Veitch, Christ and DC’s inability to handle “mature” subject matter are on the table thanks to cartoonist, David Goehner. 3 years after Veitch left Swamp Thing and DC due to the mishandling/treatment of his story, “Morning of the Magician”, Swamp Thing #88. Fans still talk of its release. Perhaps one day a finished copy will make its way into our hands. In the meantime you can read the script and see the rough pages by Michael Zulli over on 20th Century Danny Boy’s website, here.
It’s that time of year again!
Another issue of Holland Files is nearly complete and I’m taking pre-orders. If you’d like to secure your copy, email me at HollandFilesZine@gmail.com. Books are $10 with free shipping in the US during pre-order only. Issue 4 is packed with in-depth Swamp Thing info along with an interview with Macon Blair (Phantom Stranger from the recent Swamp Thing series/Blue Ruin/Green Room), art by Stephen R Bissette, along with art and articles by 48, talented Swamp Thing fans from around the world. Share in the love for Swamp Thing and order Holland Files today.
Holland Files 4 is expected to be in the mail by mid November. If you missed out on previous issues, 1-3, now’s your chance to order while back-issues are available. Thank you all for your support in celebrating such a great character.
Batman Official Annual 1981 – UK
Brought to you by Egmont Publishing, this UK edition collects a few fun Batman stories. I had to have this well-used, 62-page, hardcover because it features Swamp Thing #7 “Night of the Bat” by Bernie Wrightson & Len Wein AND it was 99¢.
The book includes a game, Batman trivia, as well as panels and covers from past Batman comics (“Vintage Views”, pictured below).
The three stories featured in the Annual are, “The Threat of the Two-Headed Coin” originally printed in Batman 258 (1974), “Night of the Bat” (1973), and “The Riddle of the Man Who Walked Backwards”, originally printed in Batman 277 (1976).
2019 Fan Expo Comic Con Promo Poster
Another wonderful package arrived yesterday from Canada. This 13″ x 17″ promo poster advertises the Swamp Thing television show for Canadian viewers. If not already, Swamp Thing will be available through the Showcase Network. Numerous Canadian Swamp Thing fans that I’ve been in contact with have been chomping at the bit to watch the show and I’m extremely excited that it will finally come to fruition.
Since the show previously wasn’t available in Canada, I was extremely excited to obtain the collectible.
Back of poster
Two fantastic books were released recently and I’ve been waiting on the Archie book to arrive in the mail before sharing them. House of Secrets 92, the book that started it all for our favorite character, Swamp Thing is represented through parody and reproduction!
House of Secrets Facsimile Edition – 2019
It’s wonderful to see House of Secrets 92 (1971) reprinted once again. The book is excellent exposure for Swamp Thing and for fans to finally get their hands on a copy… without the hefty price tag of an original. Len Wein & Bernie Wrightson’s masterpiece lives on in this fresh release. The book was in stores August, 28 and I’d guess they’re readily available at most local comic shops.
The reproduction includes ads and all. I suppose it should be noted that the five stories within (“Snipe Hunt”, “Swamp Thing”, “After I Die”, “It’s Better to Give” and “Trick or Treat”) have been recolored.
The back cover
Archie vs Predator II – 2019 (Marco D’Alfonso cover)
As soon as I saw this book last month, I had to have it. Although limited to a print run of 300 copies, it was easy to obtain on-where else but-eBay. There’s also a virgin version of this variant cover, also limited to 300 copies.
Marco D’Alfonso crafted this amazing homage to the cover of Swampy’s first appearance. This whimsical take on HOS 92 includes the same subtle textures Bernie Wrightson used on the original; note the items in the foreground, on the vanity.
I’ve not read an Archie comic since Afterlife with Archie began (2013) so I’ve got some catching up to do but the setup of this first issue is fun and dark.
A fella named Dilton purchased a mask off of eBay. What he’d hoped to be a costume for dance night becomes a beacon… for Predators.
I got a kick out of seeing Predators messing with Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover.
And with the original