Swamp Thing’s in Hell Again, Merlin Recalls

The Demon #51 “Sons and Lovers” September 1994

Swamp Thing appears in a flashback in this Demon book. While Merlin (the not so magical magician) reminisces about the good ol’ days in Hell, a very small Swamp Thing can be seen. Merlin was a fly on the wall when Swampy, Deadman, Constantine, Spectre, Etrigan, Phantom Stranger, etc. battled the Great Darkness/Shadow in Swamp Thing #50 “The End” (July 1986).

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In this Demon story arc, Etrigan is trying to bring his child into the Earthly plain and it could cause destruction for mankind. Merlin and Jason blood are heavily featured in this book and they discuss how to handle the situation. Jason Blood’s ex-girlfriend is expecting the child in six weeks. As you can imagine the plot certainly thickens. 
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Merlin tells Jason Blood and Thing-That-Cannot-Die his perilous venture through Hell. The two think it’s hilarious that Merlin no longer has his powers.

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Merlin references the grand showdown in hell involving Swamp Thing and his team (see Swamp Thing #50). If you’re familiar with Alan Moore’s “American Gothic” story arc you’re well aware of the fun involved with that story coming to a head in Hell.

I’ve enlarged and rotated the image of Swamp Thing, below. As you can see from the panel his appearance isn’t very big but he looks great.

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I love the way Chris Alexander (penciler) and Rick Bryant (inker) depict Shadow’s arm within the book. I wonder if they inspired Nick Gazin’s Run The Jewels’ artwork (below). They’ve got great matching nails… wishful thinking.

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Lucifer’s Guardian of the Green Says Goodbye

Lucifer #49 “The Widow: Wire, Briar, Limber Lock II” (June 2004)

This issue of Lucifer features the Guardian of the Green. He’s little, with plenty of fight in him and looks a lot like Swamp Thing.

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The book primarily focuses on Elaine Belloc (daughter of Michael Demiurgos, and the successor to Heaven’s throne) and Mazikeen (demon and the companion to Lucifer Morningstar) finalizing their campaign to evict all immortals from Lucifer’s Cosmos. “We were told to weed out those who do not die.” Lucifer made it law that all immortals must be evicted or they would be killed.

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While venturing though Lucifer’s Cosmos, Elaine and Mazikeen meet up with their “team.” Mazikeen senses that the forest is attacking them and takes action. Elaine merges with the Green to investigate why the forest is attacking. It turns out, The Green’s Guardian is one of the last two immortals that must be expelled or killed.
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Elaine realizes that she is encountering one of the last immortals in Lucifer’s Cosmos. She refers to the little green guy as, “The Guardian of the Green.” The plant elemental, although not called Swamp Thing, looks a lot like him. I don’t think this counts as a true Swamp Thing appearance but the similarities warrant it being listed in my appearance list. I like to think of the Swampy lookalike as an extension of Swamp Thing.

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Continue reading “Lucifer’s Guardian of the Green Says Goodbye”

Swamp Thing Awaits A New Reality in 1963

1963, Book 6 – The Tomorrow Syndicate “From Here to Alternity!” (October 1993)

1963 is another fun Alan Moore series where he presents a parallel universe of previously established comic book superheroes—think Watchmen but far more playful. Rick Veitch & Don Simpson are in on the fun as pencilers. Dave Gibbons provides the inks. With a creative team so familiar with Swamp Thing, you know he made his way into this book. Moore & Veitch of course worked on the Swamp Thing series. Don Simpson drew Swamp Thing back in ‘87 for the Comics Journal #117 cover. He also referenced Swamp Thing in his Megaton Man series in 1985. Here are links to Megaton Man #5 & Megaton Man #6. To round things out, in the early 80s Dave Gibbons submitted artwork to DC to audition as a Swamp Thing artist. The submitted work was later published in Watching the Watchmen, here.

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This book pays homage to Silver Age superheroes. The Tomorrow Syndicate is a team similar to the Avengers. The more familiar looking characters are USA (Captain America), N-Man (Hulk), and Horus the Lord of Light (Thor). In the book, the Tomorrow Syndicate is looking for another superhero group, Mystery Incorporated. They search for the missing team in New York City after picking up a suspicious radiation source.

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Underneath New York City, the Tomorrow Syndicate discovers a technological labyrinth leading to Alternity, “a sort of clearing house between realities.” Within Alternity’s busy corridors, two familiar superheroes can be found. Below, within two different lines, you can spot Swamp Thing and Superman.

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Superman can be seen holding his Death Certificate, on the left. Swamp Thing is on the right, and a little harder to make out because he’s colored dark green. I messed with the contrast of my photo to make Swampy a little more noticeable, below. Swamp Thing and Superman, like many other travelers, are making their way through Alternity to reach their desired realities. Since this book was published in 1993, I’m assuming Veitch is referencing Swamp Thing’s many adventures throughout time and space.

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Continue reading “Swamp Thing Awaits A New Reality in 1963”

Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Swamp Thing Say, “Relax”

Wonder Woman (Vol 3) #19 – June 2008

This issue of Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman features a special and very small Swamp Thing reference. It’s the culmination of a passé pop culture reference & our favorite muck-encrusted mockery of a man. 
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How did a Swamp Thing/Frankie Goes to Hollywood t-shirt make its way to the planet Khundia? The book takes place on Khundia and the majority of it centers around Wonder Woman fighting the Green Lantern, Procanon Kaa. Amidst the fighting and chaos, Wonder Woman’s new friend, Kho Kharhi shows up in the super cool t-shirt!
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Khundia doesn’t have a lot going for it. It’s a dark world, forever eclipsed by its own moon. It’s massively overpopulated and militant, but at least the inhabitants understand the power of a fun t-shirt and fandom. They also enjoy their MTV (see Wonder Woman #18 – May 2008). Continue reading “Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Swamp Thing Say, “Relax””

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.

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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. Continue reading “Swamp Thing, the Smear on Rip Hunter’s Time Sphere”

Swamp Thing Helps The Hssfsstss

Martian Manhunter #11 “Pilgrims” (Volume 2) October 1999

Throughout his history, Swamp Thing has been known to leave his mark in space. Outside of the Swamp Thing title series, there have been a handful of space based appearances that I really enjoy. Adam Strange Book #2 (April 1990) is a good one. Time Masters #5 (June 1990)-which I will write about soon-has a really fun, Swampy appearance in it. This Martian Manhunter book provides a wonderful glimpse into Swamp Thing taking the time to inspire and empower a race of plants.

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It’s the 853rd Century. Hssfsstss are a race of sentient plants. They travel throughout space in cool, little pods. They put their roots down on alien worlds and help heal plant-based illness. They are also storytellers. They tell their history and of their admiration for the “two green men… one of our creation, one of our salvation.” In this book, we learn of the two green men who helped develop the Hssfsstss race.

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Before the Hssfsstss became nomadic, healing heads of cabbage, they were a grouping of telepathic plants on their home planet. Before the great, green men arrived, they were rather unremarkable. The Hssfsstss’ sentience was taught to them by Swamp Thing. The space travel came from J’onn J’onzz.

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It sounds like there is a lot to unpack here but it’s pretty simple. This book takes place in the 853rd Century. The Hssfsstss recall its origin story which occurred in the 20th century, circa 1987. It plays out as a flashback within the comic. Most Swamp Thing fans have fond memories of Swampy’s space travels in 1987, especially in issue #56 “My Blue Heaven.” Continue reading “Swamp Thing Helps The Hssfsstss”

Swamp Thing is Back, Scaring Kids at the Carnival

House of Mystery #304 – May 1982
I… Vampire! “The Night Has Eyes”

Swamp Thing is back at it, making an appearance at a carnival, scaring children. You probably remember when Swampy was giving Clark Kent & Lana Lang a fright in, Superboy 198 (1973) “The Fatal Five Who Twisted Time.” In House of Mystery 304 (May 1982), Swamp Thing is an attraction in the Fun House! I just found out about this appearance thanks to a fellow Swamp Thing fan on Instagram. Thank you Theodore!

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In this story, Mary Queen of Blood has a plan to kidnap J. Brown Wooley’s granddaughter. Who’s Wooley? See below
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Andrew Bennet stands in the way of Mary’s plans, so she drives a stake into his chest. She has her henchmen display Bennett’s body in a coffin as a carnival Fun House attraction. Not far from Bennett’s coffin, a wax statue of Swamp Thing appears next to the Wolf Man.

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The Swamp Thing statue looks stylized with elongated ears and fangs. The carnival ride looks more like a haunted house than a fun house. In regards to Swamp Thing continuity, House of Mystery 304 was released the same month as, The Saga of the Swamp Thing 1 “What Peace There May Be in Silence” (Series 2) May 1982. Continue reading “Swamp Thing is Back, Scaring Kids at the Carnival”

The Eaglemoss Collections

We were fortunate to see numerous trade paperbacks and omnibus released in the past few years. If you’re a completist like me, they no doubt put a kink in your cash flow. I don’t regret purchasing them but I do overthink the situation while paying for a story I already own.

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My favorite recently released Swamp Thing collection was the Nancy Collins omnibus, released last year. Nancy wrote some of my favorite Swamp Thing books and they are the stories I revisit most often. Nancy’s omnibus is slated to be reprinted, so if you missed out the first time around be sure to grab a copy. The other recent trade paperbacks that I absolutely love were released by Eaglemoss in 2018. They just arrived in the mail last week and I wish they were more widely available. The UK editions were part of a subscription based service, much like the one linked here. Because of this, they were a little harder to track down. Part 1 was easier to come by than Part 2.

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These two UK Eaglemoss editions are the perfect jumping on point for those interested in getting to know who Swamp Thing is. The two books feature some of the greatest Swampy stories by Alan Moore. Both books feature biographies of the talent that crafted the stories. Both books feature a page of backstory so you know what you’re jumping into. Part 1 features House of Secrets #92, while Part 2 features Swamp Thing #1. Having the two books together provides a well rounded start to a great character (the greatest). 

I took some photos of the key portions of the books. Below is Part 1.

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The cover features the artwork of Michael Zulli. This awesome depiction of Swampy has been featured on trade paperbacks, playing cards, a poster, and inspired 2 statues & 2 action figures. It was also featured in an Alice Cooper comic! Continue reading “The Eaglemoss Collections”

Swamp Thing is 50 & a Christmas Tree

Swamp Thing is 50 this year. House of Secrets 92 was in stores in/around April of 1971. July is on the cover. Whether you celebrated this month or wait until July, it’s fun to recognize the greatest swamp monster in comics. I’ve been thinking quite a bit  about how to celebrate. Not like me sitting across from a Swampy Statue, similar to the end of 16 candles, but with fellow Swamp Thing fans. Something interactive would be fun. Well, I’m hatching a plan and will have more info soon. Here’s a teaser image I’ve shared on social media 1, 2. 

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Speaking of celebrating (and obscure appearances), if a Christmas tree shows up in a comic book, Swamp Thing is a terrific candidate to play the role. He does just that in, Guy Gardner: Warrior #39 “Merriment, Mistletoe, and… Mayhem” (Volume 1) February 1996

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Guy Gardner is hosting a Christmas Party and many DC Comics heroes are in attendance. Guy has the blues and is slow in joining the party, but Swamp Thing jumped right in. Zatanna, Atom and Deadman help in getting Swamp Thing looking like the glorious Christmas tree he deserves to be.
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Below is page 11, which features Swamp Thing. Guy finally came downstairs to join the party. Clark Kent can be seen in the bottom right corner of the page.

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Regarding Swamp Thing continuity, the cameo is meant only to serve this holiday themed issue. It does not continue the narrative from Swamp Thing issues #163 & 164. Guy Gardner: Warrior #39 Was released the same month as Swamp Thing 163. Around this time in his ongoing title (January 1996), Swamp Thing is being written by Mark Millar and drawn by Phil Hester. His storyline at the time focuses on Swampy dipping his toes in the waters of the Parliament of Waves.

Blue Devil Wows Swamp Thing in the Showcase

Showcase ’93 #4 – April 1993

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Blue Devil and Earth are in a precarious situation in, “A World To Conquer (But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There).” Evildoer, Galaxa is hell bent on trying to use Blue Devil’s powers to retrieve the planet’s “Worldseed” (spirit).

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So how did Swamp Thing make his way into this story? Like most obscure/random Swampy cameos, when Earth is in peril Swamp Thing responds. And respond he did! 
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I wish I could say there was more Swamp Thing action–and any words at all–but a head turn (maybe even a double take) from our favorite muck-encrusted mockery of a man is fun. Making this page even more fun, Swamp Thing is in good company. It’s a grouping of fantastic characters from Swampy’s past, and those who happen to be tapped into Earth’s energy.

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Above, Spectre, Madame Xanadu, Phantom Stranger & Etrigan react to Blue Devil and the Worldseed’s shift in power/energy. The creepy, ant like monster in the bottom right panel of the page is Nebiros. You may recognize that name because its first appearance was in Swamp Thing #15. Nebiros looked cooler when the great Nestor Redondo drew it. The fantastic illustration below (from Swamp Thing #15) was used for one of my favorite covers, the Australian edition, ”Creature of the Unknown (1980). Continue reading “Blue Devil Wows Swamp Thing in the Showcase”

Swamp Thing Keeps Watch While The Titans Play

New Titans Annual #9 “The Red Hand Blues” – July 1993

We’re all aware of Swamp Thing’s dedication to Earth-it’s abundantly clear by thumbing through the LCA style guide-but sometimes people forget (I know, no one forgets). Sometimes the Titans get reckless in containing a catastrophic Biological Research Facility explosion, and sometimes Swamp Thing is right there for a couple panels to pass judgement.

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Like so many random Swamp Thing cameos, this book takes place in Louisiana. The book features Mardi Gras, alien parasites, a cult, Aqualad, spinal fluid, Swamp Thing, and so much more! But, I’ll be focused on Swamp Thing in this post.

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Swamp Thing came, he saw, and he didn’t say a word-only silent judgement. I love that he’s described as “unamused”, like an adult watching kids play recklessly. Or, Swamp Thing is in a foul mood due to his marital and family struggles. New Titans Annual #9 was released  the same month as Swamp Thing #133 “Daisy Chain”, in July of 1993. If you recall, in Swamp Thing #133, Swamp Thing battles Thunder Petal, the gigantic, murderous daisy. In Swamp Thing #134, Abby leaves Swampy to move to New Orleans with Chester Williams. Needles to say, it’s a very drama filled time in Swamp Thing’s life and the last thing he needs is to clean up after Steve Dayton’s exploding Biological Research Facility. Continue reading “Swamp Thing Keeps Watch While The Titans Play”

Kingdom Come with a Little Swamp Thing Appearance

The week of small Swamp Thing appearances continues with, Kingdom Come book 2, Elseworld “Truth and Justice” from June 1996.

This Swamp Thing appearance measures 2.5 cm x 1.25 cm. Sure, it’s small but Alex Ross’ Swamp Thing is heavily inspired by Bernie Wrightson.

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This Mark Waid, Alex Ross team-up is a must read (in my opinion) for the visuals alone. Alex Ross’ paintings provide so much eye candy and fun takes on classic DC characters. The nightclub scene below features a bunch of cameos. The Shadow and Sherlock Holmes even made it into the mix. They happen to be standing behind Swamp Thing.3EE4E940-8C33-4913-9C00-E09F1187F7A447DF4B31-9999-4FE8-9103-70A97CF8E92C

You may need to get your glasses, perhaps a magnifying glass.

0B618B2C-95AA-49C7-B6E9-F625246126BAHalfway through the book, Superman arrives at a nightclub to recruit superhumans to fight in a super cool battle, for truth & justice (…really, he threatens them but read the book, it’s good stuff). Swamp Thing is incognito, sporting the same outfit he first wore in Swamp Thing #5, The Last of the Ravenwind Witches (1973). Continue reading “Kingdom Come with a Little Swamp Thing Appearance”

Suicide Squad 23 & The Swamp Thing Silhouettes

While writing a post last night, I was reminded that I’d intended to make a list of Swamp Thing’s smallest appearances. He has many. The appearances range from, and are as small as, a piece of his arm in a Guy Gardner book, to being a statue at a carnival within a Superboy book. The list I never made got me thinking of all sorts of fun Swampy sightings, but specifically Suicide Squad #23 “Weird War Tales” from January 1989. It’s is a good one! I clicked over to my ‘82-‘93 Appearances Page to check it out and was surprised to see that I haven’t written a post about it yet. Well, buckle up friends! Oh, and I’ll get right on that list…

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Swamp Thing appears on a single page, the title page to be precise. And, appearance might be a slight embellishment on my part. It’s Swampy’s silhouette.
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That’s it! It’s simple and hidden pretty well if you’re looking for an actual rendering of the character. There’s no mention of Swamp Thing in this book. He’s just keeping tabs on what’s happening. I’m very interested to know if penciler, Luke McConnell was the mastermind of this hidden gem or if Ostrander & Yale (the writers) made sure Swampy was included. Ostrander did ingest Swampy’s tuber with Del Close in 1988, within Wasteland #5. Continue reading “Suicide Squad 23 & The Swamp Thing Silhouettes”