Swamp Thing, the Smear on Rip Hunter’s Time Sphere

Time Masters #5 “Good Times… Bad Times” June 1990

Before getting into this really fun Swamp Thing appearance/reference, I want to circle back to Swamp Thing’s birthday. I don’t think DC plans to celebrate Swampy’s 50th the way Marvel has with Man-Thing. So in honor of our favorite swamp monster’s birthday, I’ve decided to take action and hold a virtual birthday party. Last week, I reached out to Swamp Thing creators & fans to participate in the fun and I’ve received amazing responses. The party will be live on youtube, May 25th at 9pm CST. The evening will include birthday wishes from some of Swamp Thing’s oldest and familiar friends. We’ll be discussing great moments in Swamp Thing history and sharing personal stories of how Swampy has become a part of our lives. There will also be Swamp Thing giveaways and so much more. The wonderful podcast, The Grail Keepers will be hosting the birthday party with me on their YouTube channel. I encourage you to join in the fun and the live conversations. As the date gets closer I’ll be sharing even more information, along with familiar faces. Below is a teaser image I’ve been sharing on social media.

50th Bday Hype (1)

Now, onto the book!
I’ve been posting more Swamp Thing cameos than Swampy books lately. But, the cameos are the fun sightings that tie everything together. This issue of Time Masters is a great example of continuity and crossovers.

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Most readers recall Swampy’s adventures through time while Rick Veitch was the writer on Swamp Thing. It was around the time of DC Comic’s Invasion event. Swampy’s time travel troubles began in Swamp Thing #80, “The Longest Day.” In the book, Swamp Thing was lured out of his body and sent hurdling through time. It was the master plan put forth by Dominators, to get Swamp Thing out of the picture. The events were very disorienting for Swampy. Each book placed him in a different, significant time in Earth’s history. During his time travels, Swamp Thing bumped into many notable, historic figures, but in this post I’m focusing on the time Swamp Thing bumped into Rip Hunter. 

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The image above is from Time Masters #5, published in June 1990. The image below is from Swamp Thing #86, published in May 1989. One year after Rick Veitch included Time Masters, Rip Hunter & Jeff Smith into Swampy #86, the two characters continued the story continuity in Time Masters #5.

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In Swamp Thing #86, while traveling through the time stream, Swampy collided with Rip Hunter’s Time Sphere. The collision resulted in Swamp Thing being knocked off course as you can see above. The collision sent Swamp Thing back to 1780. For Rip Hunter and the Time Masters, the consequences were less severe. The Time Sphere required minor repairs and a good scrubbing. As you can see from the panels above, Swamp Thing inadvertently left a bit of himself on the Time Sphere.

In Time Masters #5, Rip Hunter is frantically working on his new Time Sphere. He sends it on a trial run and is thrilled when it returns. He’s less excited about the green plant matter splattered on the side of his vessel. 

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I absolutely love that Bob Wayne & Lewis Shiner (the writers of Time Masters #5) drew from Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing story arc. They could have tapped into any period in time during the Time Sphere trial run but instead, they utilized a narrative already established. It’s downright fun and provides thorough insight into the brief and seemingly trivial interaction.

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There are a couple discrepancies between the two books, but seeing Swamp Thing smeared across the side of the Times Sphere helps to forget about them. The major difference is that Time Masters, Rip Hunter and Jeff Smith were inside the vessel in Swamp Thing #86. In Time Masters #5, Rip placed a clock into the sphere to track the time differential. The other main difference is the Time Sphere design and color. 

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