Poison Ivy & Jason Woodrue have a child?

What seems to be a significant development in the DCU, the new Walmart Exclusive Swamp Thing #4 revealed the full name of Swamp Thing’s current associate… Briar Woodrue! As you may know, Woodrue is the surname of Floronic Man, AKA Jason Woodrue/Plant Man/Floro/Plant Master/Seeder. This revelation creates extremely fun plot opportunities to explore.
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Jason Woodrue has a rich history within the DC Universe as a B-list, plant wielding  villian, first appearing in The Atom #1 (1962). Prior to adopting the name “Floronic Man” (-see The Flash #245, 1976), Woodrue went toe-to-toe with classic DC characters such as, Wonder Woman, The Atom & the Justice League. Along with being involved in the Atom’s origin story, Woodrue played an integral role in the creation of Poison Ivy. While working as a college professor in the Pacific Northwest in the ’60s, Woodrue seduced and experimented on one of his young students, Pamela Isley. These torturous experiments gave birth to one of DC’s most notable villains. Now, it seems that Woodrue’s experiments have extended his family tree.
Note: The Poison Ivy origin I am referencing is post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, not the Earth-One version.
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Throughout the series, hints and allusions are made regarding Briar Woodrue’s family/origin. In Swamp Thing #1 (Walmart Exclusive, 2019), Swamp Thing explains,

“she says she’d defended herself, telling the FBI agents that her mother’s ravenous and demanding rhododendron had directed the crime. The flowers had spoken to her all her life. That mistake, she says, leads her to understand why the man we’re hunting would want to escape the psychiatric ward he was held in until very recently.”

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Swamp Thing’s narration in issue #1 paired with the reveal of Briar’s full name in issue #4 leads me to believe, Jason Woodrue and Poison Ivy have a child. The methods in which the two villains created the child, I’m sure, are as sordid as it gets and hopefully more backstory comes to light. Knowing Ivy and Woodrue’s past, the two would seem more likely to throw one another under a bus before collaborating.
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Below is a brief timeline of Briar Woodrue.
Briar Woodrue first appears in the Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Special #1 (2019). She acted as a harbinger for Swamp Thing, warning evil monsters of the danger that lurks in the forest. She’s depicted as being one with her surroundings, forming from a swirling pile of leaves. Swamp Thing refers to her as, Twiglet, perhaps alluding to Briar being a child of nature. The nickname is a term of endearment and the two share a familiarity/trust. The two search for a character they call, The Barren.
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In Swamp Thing #1 (not to be mistaken for the Swamp Thing Halloween Horror #1) Swampy refers to Briar as a witch, explaining, “the witch is my friend… we are bound by blood and black magic…”. The two battle and negotiate with the Elemental Forces of Fire. Briar is depicted as more confident and mature than when she first appeared in the Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Special. It is revealed that Briar can use her empty, left eye socket to see visions.

Briar and Swampy’s journey to confront The Barren continues in issue #2. Briar uses her clairvoyant power once again. She inserts a blade of grass into the empty eye socket and begins seeing cryptic visions of where they need to travel. Swamp Thing helps to decipher Briar’s visions. At one point, Briar asks Swamp Thing to stop calling her, “Twiglet” and mentions that he’s able to talk to plants, not her. Briar saying she doesn’t speak with plants seems to contradict Swamp Thing’s narrative in issue #1, “The flowers had spoken to her all her life.” In Swamp Thing issue #2 she seems to look more like Poison Ivy. Briar’s long, flowing, red hair and her face make you feel as if Swampy and a young Ivy have become close friends.
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Although Swamp Thing’s intentions are focused on protecting Briar in issues 1-3, she eludes danger unscathed. Unlike her “parents” (conjecture at this point), Briar uses a form of organic/elemental magic. It will be intriguing to learn more of Briar’s powers and how she’s able to protect herself. Swamp Thing however handles the brunt of the fighting, battling a different Elemental adversary each issue. Their relationship is a mutually beneficial balance, as mysteries unfurl with each path they take.

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Come issue #4, Briar and Swampy find themselves underneath Portland, summoning The Confederation of Remains for information pertaining to The Barren. But, they learn more about themselves in the process. The Confederation tells Briar and Swampy that they are like the Barren, seeking to “peer beyond” and “nothing that believes it is something”, respectively. The Confederation declares Briar’s full name, “Briar Woodrue”.
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As Swamp Thing issue #4 comes to an end, The Confederation of Remains declares,

“The Barren was a seeker, determined to peer beyond what can be seen, to find a vessel for the mind greater than the impermanent flesh. Like you, Briar Woodrue.” “To us you are no different than the Barren! You have all each sought to avoid payment for your term of sentience! You have all shunned our open hand! …know that no matter how long you run, you will all eventually find the path back to death.”

It becomes clear that in finding The Barren, Briar and Swampy are finding  themselves. The two inadvertently set out on a journey of self discovery with the Barren as a common thread. As the series evolves, so does our understanding of Briar Woodrue. The quote above provides a great deal of insight into her history and desires. She is apparently cheating death and seeks an immortal vessel for her mind. I’ll be sure to keep you up to speed as the series progresses.
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If you’re not able to find these exclusive Walmart books in your town, fear not. DC plans to lift the Walmart exclusivity, making the books available at your local comic shop later this year.

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Battle for the Bayou

Swamp Thing Battle for the Bayou Board Game – 1991

Last weekend I had company over and decided to unleash the Swamp Thing board game. It’s always a blast to play and easy to learn. Along with a slew of Swampy merchandise, the game was released in conjunction with the short-lived Swamp Thing animated series in 1991 by Rose Art. Gameplay is easy enough, allowing two to four players, ages seven and up.

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Players take turns advancing their game pieces, utilizing “Swamp Thing” and “Hero Card” cards as they make their way toward the evil Anton Arcane. The first player to reach Arcane, and defeat him, wins!

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There are various pitfalls and obstacles throughout the board. Arcnae’s Un-Men are dead set on stopping you and your opponents from defeating Arcane. It’s a simple and fun game Swampy fans are sure to enjoy.

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Rough start for the Swamp Thing TV series

Two big things happened in the world of Swamp Thing this week.
1) Production of the Swamp Thing series was cancelled
2) The series costume was revealed in a teaser

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In a seemingly sudden change of direction, DC/Warner Bros. has decided to cancel the remaining production of the Swamp Thing series. The first season was intended to be 13 episodes long but, last night cast and crew members were notified that production will be cancelled except to finish the tenth episode (they are currently working on), along with re shoots they may need. Without a teaser, leaked photo from the set or much of anything at all to entice, eager fans woke up this morning to the unfortunate news. Although the season will not be the full 13 episodes, DC/Warner still plans to release the 10 episode series. The show debuts on May 31st on DC’s streaming service, DC Universe.

Last night (4/16) I was contacted by a crew member who’s working on the series. He relayed the following information.

“We just got told they’re stopping production on Swamp Thing… we had three episodes left and we’re finishing this one and some re shoots and it sounds like that’s it for now. DC streaming is apparently not doing well. Not sure if Warner Bros will try to find Swamp Thing a home elsewhere or what. We were all basically under the presumption this was gonna go five seasons minimum… not good. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.”

To make things even more confusing, less than 24 hours after the news broke that production cancelled, DC released the following teaser for the series.
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It’s a shame Swamp Thing fans weren’t shown the teaser before hearing about the production cancellation. The suit looks great and I have no doubt it will be a fun series.

On Wednesday afternoon, the DC Universe Community Manager posted the following message to fans.

“Hi Everybody,
We have some updates to share regarding the details of the upcoming DC Universe original series, Swamp Thing. We remain as excited as ever for the thrills and chills to come, but we would like to share a few notes regarding the series and DC Universe:

– Swamp Thing is still set to release on 5/31 on DC Universe.
– Swamp Thing’s first season will run for 10 episodes, versus the previously announced 13 episodes. This was made for creative reasons, and do not reflect the future of DC Universe.”

The post goes on to briefly discuss the additional features the streaming service plans to add to their content, unrelated to the Swamp Thing series.

Despite optimism shown by DC/Warner, fans appear to be concerned with the state of the steaming service as well as the fate of the Swamp Thing series. Some of the cast and crew feel the same way. Earlier today, Swamp Thing series writer, Joan Rink posted the following reply on twitter.
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Actor, Virginia Madsen (who’s playing the part of Maria Sunderland) took to instagram to share her thoughts on the cancellation as well.
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As the show stumbles out the gate in the most clumsy of ways, fans can’t help to feel some trepidation. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out leading up to its debut.

Manusia Rawa #1 – Indonesian trading cards

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I was lucky enough to acquire another sheet of uncut Indonesian trading cards and am thrilled to share it with you. This sheet depicts the first installment of the narrative that continues in “Manusia Rawa” #2, which I posted a little while back. To get caught up, visit my previous post here. The storyline is poor, but it’s exciting to see young Jim (from the TV show) again. Manusia Rawa, sheets #1 & #2, seem to help explain Jim’s unfortunate departure from the television series.

I’ve provided a rough translation of the trading cards below. A very special think you goes out to Rich Handley for his help in translating. Throughout the sheet, Swamp Thing is referred to as Amos. I’m assuming “Amos” is being used in place of “Alec”.

The Cast:
Thub – Henchman
Jim – Kidnapped boy
Simon – Villain
Jane – Jim’s Mother
Jevry – Good Guy
Swamp Thing/Amos – duh

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Swamp Thing: “Manusia Rawa” translates to “Swamp Man”
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Jevry: “Let’s go now”
Thub: “OK”
Caption: Jevry and Thub are work colleagues.
Continue reading “Manusia Rawa #1 – Indonesian trading cards”

The DC Universe by Len Wein

The DC Universe by Len Wein – 2019

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The DC Universe by Len Wein was released last month and I had to get a hold of it to see what great Swamp Thing goodness is inside. The book collects 23 of Len’s greatest stories including the last Swamp Thing book he wrote, Swamp Thing Winter Special #1. As you’re aware, Len created Swamp Thing along with Bernie Wrightson and Joe Orlando in 1971. In December of 2017, Len’s last Swamp Thing story was published following his sudden passing on September 10 of 2017.

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The book collects Len’s stories throughout his career, from 1968 to one of the last stories he wrote. The book includes, Teen Titans #18, Phantom Stranger #20-24, Justice League of America #100-102, Action Comics #419-420, 422-423, 425-426, 429, 432, DC Comics Presents #27-29, Justice League of America 80-Page Giant #2, DC Retroactive: Green Lantern—The ‘80s: Big Betrayal #1 and Swamp Thing Winter Special #1.
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Below are a few pages from within the book.

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Continue reading “The DC Universe by Len Wein”

DC Direct Swamp Thing Figures

DC Direct Swamp Thing Action Figure – 1999

Once, it seemed he was an unthinking monster, a bizarre combination of scientist Alec Holland and the swamp itself. Now, the truth is clear: the Swamp Thing is an earth elemental- a being of vast power whose role as guardian of all plant life sets him forever above and apart from the human race.

Based on the sculpt of William Paquet and inspired by Michael Zulli’s original Swampy design, this 6 3/4” action figure casts a long shadow. It’s tough to find a better looking Swamp Thing action figure. The figure came with optional rosebush attachments to replace the hands.  Although the figure has various points of articulation, the options for posing are quite limited.
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The figure was styled after a similar statue, released in 1996. See details of the statue here.

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Continue reading “DC Direct Swamp Thing Figures”

Spanish Bootleg del Pantano

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El Monstruo del Pantano figure

I was really hoping to come up with a fun title for this post, riffing on Dylan’s song, “Spanish Boots of Leather” but that took too long and now it’s not funny, but… check out this sweet Spanish bootleg Swamp Thing figure. The Silver Surfer looking Monstruo was produced by Comansi/Yolanda Toys. I was excited to find the figure along with its packaging and product card.

Foil packaging
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Figure front
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The figure looks quite similar to one of Bernie Wrightson’s more obscure renderings of Swamp Thing.
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The illustration on the right was published on the cover of Australian edition, Swamp Monster #2 in 1981. It’s interesting to see similarities between the two.
Continue reading “Spanish Bootleg del Pantano”