Fort Comics Digest #27 – India (circa 1995)
The title translates to, Churning of the Ocean. It’s an original Swamp Thing story written by Mahesh Dutt Sharma and illustrated by Baney Singh Rathod. I am absolutely thrilled to share this book with you. It’s rare to find an original, published Swamp Thing story outside of what DC permits, but they do exist. The few that I’ve come across are within the Indonesian trading cards: Manusia Rawa #1 & #2, and the Animated Series origin story within the DC/LCA Entertainment Style Guide. The latter wasn’t published for public consumption and the Manusia Rawa stories were not sanctioned by DC Comics. I’m guessing, Churning of the Ocean wasn’t sanctioned either.
It took some years but I was finally able to find a copy of this book a couple weeks ago. The pocket-sized comic hails from India and it contains an original Swamp Thing story in Hindi! Until now, I don’t believe it’s been available translated into english. Fellow Swamp Thing fanatic, Rich Handley assisted in getting the book translated. If not for Rich, I’d just be sharing photos of pages from the book. Because I’m mildly obsessed with our favorite muck-man, I photoshopped each page and placed the english translation so you can read along.
Notes: As the book progresses names of certain characters are abbreviated to acronyms to save space. I apologize for the poor angles of many of the images/panels. I did not wan’t to compromise the condition of the book/flatten spreads for better photographs.
In this book Swamp Thing is called, Deva Shakti. The translation I was given is, “Powerful God” or “God Power.” The character differs from Swamp Thing in a couple ways, as you will find in this story. The title page above reminded me of Martin Pasko’s monster from Saga of the Swamp Thing #4. Although the monster isn’t all that similar to Pasko’s, later on in the story you will find Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala’s wonderful work has been mimicked.
As you’ve noticed, Swamp Thing doesn’t have much of a presence in the story until now. But, like in a number of DC comics nowadays, Swamp Thing is the earth god that comes to the recuse in the end.
If you think some of these Swamp Thing illustrations look familiar, they are. The artist took liberties in recreating artwork from Swamp Thing #51 (series 2). The original artists are Veitch & Alcala. I was racking my brain as to where I saw the poses and am very thankful that friend and fellow Swampy lover, Thom Monk helped me out.
The first power we see from Swamp Thing in this book is that he can run on water. Not too shabby Swampy!
I’m a big fan of the reimagined Swamp Thing illustrations. The top, right panel on the page below is one of my favorites in the book. Swamp Thing looks like he’s stoned, ready for his school pictures.
By the looks of it, below, Swamp Thing has gained the abilities to skank and breathe fire. The notion of Swamp Thing enjoying ska music during battle is far more entertaining than breathing fire.
With his eyeballs, fingers and mouth, Devashakti dismantles Jandhasur. The absence of blood makes the scene creepier.