Swamp Thing: Houseplant That Looks Like a Man

Swords of Cerebus Vol. 3 (Fall 1981)

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Have you ever wondered, what happened between Cerebus issues 20 and 21?” I can’t say that I have because I’m not invested in the Cerebus series/universe. In fact, the only Cerebus books I’ve read are the ones that feature Dave Sim’s Swamp Thing parody,
Sump Thing. If you’ve not had a chance to check out, Sump Thing in Cerebus, 25, 82, 105, 106 and 107 you’re  not missing a great deal. But, as a Swamp Thing completist they’re enticing for your collection.

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This trade paperback collects 4 Cerebus comics (issues 9-12 from 1979) and features a previously unpublished 8-page story. The story is titled, “What Happened Between Issues 20 and 21” and it features a small, bizarre Swamp Thing appearance/parody.

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The 8-page story starts with Cerebus having been drugged (continuing the narrative from Cerebus 20). Trying to elude his captures, Cerebus stumbles in and out of a bar, and winds up being kidnapped by two different evildoers/opportunists who sell him to a freak show. Within the freak show, Swamp Thing can be seen as one of the attractions next to Cerebus.

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I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the Swamp Thing doppelgänger is placed next to someone named, “B’erńi”
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Swamp Thing Amongst the Snark and Fuss

Comixscene 6 (September-October 1973)

Traveling back to 1973, this issue of Comixscene is full of John Carter, comics news, snark, strong opinions and a couple fun Swamp Thing mentions.D5B5CFB9-4B42-48BF-AD5A-09E06FA70733
Cover

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Interior Spread

Around this time (September-October of 1973), Swamp Thing was appearing in his first cameo in the form of a carnival statue in, Superboy #198 “The Fatal Five Who Twisted Time”. Within the Swamp Thing series, issue #6 “A Clockwork Horror” was being released. The Comixscene Editorial section was abuzz in response to Joe Brancatelli’s column, “Ten Most Powerful Men in Comics” from Inside Comix #1. Jim Steranko invited Marvel Editor (at the time), Roy Thomas to respond to the column. Below are some of his fun, painfully honest and cringe worthy answers.

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Thomas continues, pointing out Brancatelli’s errors and inaccuracies, but not without being a little self deprecating.

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Below, Thomas mentions the Man-Thing & Swamp Thing origin similarities. His compliment to Berni and Len almost gets lost as he continues to eviscerate Brancatelli’s presumptuous and inaccurate column.
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Below, Thomas finalizes his response and sticks the landing by quoting Amazing Fantasy #15. I’m not sure what he wrote could be described as cordial though.
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The second and final Swamp Thing mention in this newspaper style comics magazine comes by way of the National News section. Berni & Len’s “unabated” success is mentioned but not without a snarky remark regarding Len’s busy panels.

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This issue of Comixscene is filled with a lot more comics news but that’s it for Swamp Thing references. Until next time, thanks for reading. -John

Life & The New Swamp Thing Room

It’s been a considerable amount of time since I last posted. Like most of you, I’ve had to adjust my life, future plans and daily routines since the Covid pandemic began. Hobbies and interests that were once a priority have taken a backseat to this new way of life. Over the past 9 months I’ve taken to focusing more on how I can be better prepared for the future—financially and otherwise. Needless to say my new found thriftiness (along with life events) have kept me busy and away from this website. But, I’m thrilled to share that my Swamp Thing collection has a new home! …and I got married! Below is the new Swamp Thing room in progress.

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November has been a very busy month. Moving, marriage, working from home, and putting together Holland Files 5 has left me with little time. But, I can’t turn down a good time or a good idea, and am currently working with two other Swamp Thing fanatics in developing a multimedia project. That’s all I can divulge for now but the project involves a thorough investigation into everyone’s favorite muck-encrusted monster.

Regarding issues, I’ve been purchasing all of Swamp Thing’s recent appearances but haven’t found them to be very engaging. Eventually I’ll get around to writing about them. That’s all I have to report at the moment. I hope you and yours are healthy and safe.

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Fantasy Trader Cover Model of ‘79

This little UK fanzine proved to be quite the doozy to track down. After looking for a number of years. I was fortunate to find it on eBay for a reasonable price.

The cover was advertised to be illustrated by the notable, Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Rachel Rising, etc) but it turns out, he didn’t do it. Terry told me so. See below.

Even though a different Terry drew the cover, I was fortunate enough to have a Twitter interaction with THE Terry Moore. Pretty cool! Although Swamp Thing is featured on the cover of Fantasy Trader, the fanzine does not reference nor does it mention Swampy within. Below are the interior pages of the zine.

Continue reading “Fantasy Trader Cover Model of ‘79”

Swamp Thing has cake!

Comics Feature Magazine #50 – 1986

Hey everyone, Swamp Thing has cake! This extraordinary display of celebratory Swamp Thing is brought to you by Comics Feature Magazine. Illustrator Martin Cannon-on cover duty-does a bang up job of all the characters depicted, front and back. Fellow Swamp Thing fans on Instagram thought Tom Yeates was responsible for the artwork… that’s a mighty fine testament to Cannon’s work. I’m always thrilled to see an illustration of Swamp Thing smiling, with cake to boot! The celebration is upon us because it’s Comics Feature’s 50th issue.
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The book features industry highlights from 1986, with Alan Moore and Frank Miller receiving due praise.
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This snippet below had me chuckling.
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Martin Cannon’s centerfold features (L-R) Swamp Thing, Stan Lee, Daffy Duck, Jack Kirby, Donald Duck, Saturn Girl, Captain America, Superman, Howard the Duck,  She-Hulk, Miracle Man,  The Spirit and Cerberus. The ducks-in typical fashion-are worked up into a lather.
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Continue reading “Swamp Thing has cake!”

Mister Miracle’s Swamp Ad

Mister Miracle 10 – October 1972

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Jack Kirby’s Miracle Man features an ad for Swamp Thing #1! Because the cover date and release date don’t coincide, the ad most likely made it into consumer hands shortly before Swamp Thing #1 was released. I’m still on the hunt for the elusive House of Secrets #92 ad. I’ve yet to come across it in any comic.
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Swamp Thing’s ad shares a page with Kamandi, another of Jack Kirby’s creations. You’ll notice that the ad reads that Swamp Thing #1 will be available August 10th while the cover of the actual comic reads “November”. Swamp Thing #1 was actually released in July of 1972.

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Other great house ads for Swamp Thing debut, #1 can be found in
Detective Comics #426 “Killer’s Roulette!” (Volume 1) August 1972
Superboy #189 “The Curse of the Hangman’s Noose! ; The Runaway Superbaby!” (Volume 1) August 1972
The Forever People #10 “The Scavengers” September 1972
Detective Comics 426, Superboy 189 & Forever People 10 feature the same Swamp Thing house ad, advertising the premier issue of Swamp Thing in 1971. This ad features custom type and layout from legend, Gaspar Saladino.
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The house ad within Forever People 11 is slightly different than that of Mister Miracle 10, above. As you can see the cover of Swamp Thing 1 is blue while the one above is yellow.
The Forever People #11 “Devilance the Pursuer” November 1972
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To reference my long list of Swamp Thing ads, visit the Ads page.

From Bayou to Abyss: Examining John Constantine, Hellblazer

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.
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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.

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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!

Swamp Thing‘s Beer Break

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.IMG-0479
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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.
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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”

A Mossy Friend Within The New Teen Titans

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.
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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.
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losing your mind while witnessing what could be the beginning of the end of the world is  not an ideal headspace when exacting revenge.

Continue reading “A Mossy Friend Within The New Teen Titans”

Swamp Thing Lends an Arm in Guy Gardner: Warrior #29

Guy Gardner: Warrior #29 (1995)
It’s My Party and I’ll Fight If I Want To

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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…
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The gathering is so large, even Darkseid heard about the shindig.
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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.

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Continue reading “Swamp Thing Lends an Arm in Guy Gardner: Warrior #29”

Flashback ’96 – Wizard 62, Swamp Thing on a Calendar

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
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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.
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“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.
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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”

Digital to Analog: The 2017 Story That Almost Got Away

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!
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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.

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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.

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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.
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Woodrue eludes the Parliament but is quickly confronted by Swamp Thing whose been tasked with returning him.
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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.
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The Parliament reclaims Jason Woodrue and judgement is served.

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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

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.
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Front cover of binder
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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.
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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.
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Within the various Yellow Pages ad examples, Swamp Thing can be found on the right, interior page.
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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!
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Back binder cover
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