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!

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.
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In the Drawing Board section of the book, Gill Sanchez won grand prize for his killer rendition of John Constantine. I searched for Gill on the internet and found that he illustrated the cover of The Elvis Files #1 in 2017. It’s great to see he is still working on comics.
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The Second piece of Swamp Thing goodness within this issue of Wizard is on page 193. In this segment of Junk Drawer Video Games, “DC Comics: A video Game Guide” features a blurb about the Swamp Thing video game.
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It’s mentioned that an SNES and Genesis release may have been possible but the Swamp Thing video game was only available on the NES and Gameboy platforms. A version of the game was in development for Genesis but it never saw the light of day. You can play it though and as I wrote in a previous post, it’s much more fun than Nintendo’s versions.

If you have played the Swamp Thing video game, nothing you’ll read below is a surprise.
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Global Comic Safari

Matt from Foreign Comic Collectors Magazine (FCC) contacted me this past weekend to ask if he could use images from my website for his latest episode of Global Comic Safari. Having a hefty collection of non-US Swamp Thing books, I was happy to oblige. In their new episode, Matt and Jon Z (of CBSI) look at international comics featuring Bernie Wrightson & Len Wein’s classic, Swamp Thing #1. The comics feature some beautiful variations from Mexico, France and beyond. Matt also discusses the different styles and sizes that publisher, Navaro (Mexico) used in publishing the comics.

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Jon Z is a member of the Tales from the Flipside Podcast team as well as a contributor to comicbookinvest.com

Matt is a foreign comic fanatic and a founder of the Foreign Comic Collector Magazine. You can join the Here

Follow Matt & Jon on Instagram
Matt @Define999
Jon Z @ComicsaretheNorm

Holland Files 4 Pre-Order!

It’s that time of year again!

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Another issue of Holland Files is nearly complete and I’m taking pre-orders. If you’d like to secure your copy, email me at HollandFilesZine@gmail.com. Books are $10 with free shipping in the US during pre-order only. Issue 4 is packed with in-depth Swamp Thing info along with an interview with Macon Blair (Phantom Stranger from the recent Swamp Thing series/Blue Ruin/Green Room), art by Stephen R Bissette, along with art and articles by 48, talented Swamp Thing fans from around the world. Share in the love for Swamp Thing and order Holland Files today.

Holland Files 4 is expected to be in the mail by mid November. If you missed out on previous issues, 1-3, now’s your chance to order while back-issues are available. Thank you all for your support in celebrating such a great character.

Classic Swamp Monsters

Swamp Monsters – Classic Monsters of Pre-Code Horror Comics (2019)
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The much anticipated, Swamp Monsters came out last week and it’s full of stuff you love! I can only assume, as you’re on a swamp monster website. The book reprints a whole bunch of classic, pre-code swamp monster stories-the type of monsters that paved the way for creatures like Swamp Thing and Man-Thing. The book also includes Swamp Thing sketches!

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Swamp monster fan and alum/vet, Stephen R. Bissette provides a fantastic introduction for the book, examining his love and history with swamp monsters.
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I can’t recommend this book enough. For those in love with cryptids and swamp monsters, it’s a fun, inspired history lesson of sorts. The book collects the following swamp monster stories.

Swamp Monster from, Weird Mysteries #5 – June 1953
The Frogman from, Forbidden Worlds #29 – May 1954
Beast of the Bayous from, The Hand of Fate #24 – August 1954
The Swamp Horror from, Beware #3 – May 1953
It Won’t Come Back Until Midnight from, Web of Mystery #16 – December 1952
Demons of the Swamp from, Mysteries #3 – September 1953
The Evil Eye from, Adventures into the Unknown #39 – January 1953
Bayou Vengeance from, The Unseen #6 – September 1952
The Winged Spectres of Dismal Swamp from, The Beyond #8 – January 1952
Creatures of the Swamp from, Chamber of Chills Magazine #22 – August 1951
Nightmare Flight from, Baffling Mysteries #10 – September 1952
I Am A Thing from, Out of the Night #12 – October 1953
Dead Woman’s Swamp from, Crime Mysteries #12 – March 1954
Bride of the Swamp from, Forbidden Worlds #33 – September 1954
Swamp Terror! from, Strange Mysteries #2 – November 1951

Below are some of my favorite pages.
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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.
Continue reading “Rough start for the Swamp Thing TV series”

Holland Files 3

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I took some time off from the site for the holidays and to finish Holland Files #3. I’m excited to get envelopes stuffed and the books in your hands. It’s another excellent collection of art and articles by Swamp Thing fans like you. Among the contributors, Stephen Bissette was kind enough to send me 18 sketches to use as I please. Writer, Joe Bongiorno caught-up with Nancy Collins for a very insightful/intriguing interview, and Holland Files regular, Rich Handley presents the history of John Constantine, pre-Swamp Thing. I’m honored to see Holland Files enter its third year. Thank you all again for your support and patience. I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to a new year. If you would like to order Holland Files 3, 2 and/or 1, contact me at HollandFilesZine@gmail.com.

Regards,
John

The Swamp Thing Issue!

Comics Journal 93 (1985)

While I’m reading through Moore’s run again, it’s fitting to share the mega, Swamp Thing focused Comics Journal 93. It features a whole lot of insight into the Swamp Thing title at the time. It’s fun to re-read the comics that are discussed in the following interviews, piecing together the creative process behind my favorite stories. The stunning cover was painted by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, the team in charge of visuals for Swamp Thing at the time.
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The magazine kicks off with a short article, discussing DC’s decision to drop the Comics Authority Code. It was a big step for the title, and the hype may have helped increase intrigue for the muck monster.
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“The first such book to be sold on newsstands without the Code’s seal of approval since the inception of the Code in 1954.”

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it’s exciting to read about Berger, Moore, Bissette and Totleben, blazing trails in the comics world; dedicated to telling great stories.
Continue reading “The Swamp Thing Issue!”

The Comic Book Trivia Quiz

The Comic Book Trivia Quiz (1977)

This week I’m in Cleveland, and with every trip, a thorough exploration into the local comic shops is a must. Being the birthplace of Superman creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, as well as the great Harvey Pekar, my hopes are high for Cleveland’s comics scene.

While visiting Imaginary Worlds Comics in Cleveland Heights, I stumbled upon a great comics trivia book from ‘77. The giant, 192-page book is jam packed with comics trivia, representing various eras of comic book history. And, the best part of it all, it features Swamp Thing related trivia! I had a feeling it would since Michael Uslan co-created the book. For those unfamiliar, Uslan is a huge Swamp Thing fan and has produced the bulk of DC television and movies.

Prior to this book referencing Swamp Thing, the first instance of Swamp Thing  being incorporated in trivia/games was two years earlier in Limited Collectors’ Edition: Christmas with the Super-Heroes DC Treasury Edition (1975)

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Sure, it took 109 pages into the book to find our muck-encrusted friend but there he is, within the “We’re Looking for People Who Like to Draw!” match game. The objective of the game is to match artists with their notable characters. Berni Wrightson and Swampy made the cut, naturally.
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A few pages further into the book, Swamp Thing is seen again within, “Colorful Characters”; another word matching game. He’s described as, “Muddy brown with green highlights”.
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The third and final game, with mention of Swamp Thing, comes by way of “Who’s Putting Words in My Mouth”. The game pairs comic writers with the characters they’re best associated with. The great, Len Wein can be found toward the bottom of column one.
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Back cover
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Starlog 48 – Casting ‘81 Swamp Thing

Starlog 48 (1981)

As you know, I love Swamp Thing articles and ads, big and small alike. This instance being the latter, Starlog Magazine delivers another Swamp Thing mention. This time, a brief statement regarding the feature film from 1981.
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Across the science-fiction universe and deep within the Star-Studded Notes portion of the magazine, Swamp Thing producers Avco Embassy make a key casting announcement.
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Swamp Thing and the SDCC

There were a number of notable Swamp Thing moments at San Diego Comic Con this year and I’m excited to share my findings. Although I didn’t attend, I was in touch with various folks that did and there were some fun sightings!

DC Comics Swamp Thing Experience
At SDCC, DC comics created an off-site event to promote its upcoming online streaming service and by all accounts, it wasn’t very informative. A mini maze, decorated to look like a swamp that included lush vegetation, props and cast members, acted as a fun teaser for the upcoming live-action Swamp Thing series. Below are some images sent to me by fellow Swamp Thing fan, Erica who was on location for the event.
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The DC Experience provided some hype and excitement going forward into the launch of DC’s streaming service. It also put Swamp Thing into the limelight at one of the largest comics related conventions in the world. Doom Patrol, Teen Titans and Harley Quinn were also part of the DC experience. I’ve not seen any images from those specific attractions but look forward to more as images from the convention emerge.

Note: Yesterday, the website Geeks World Wide posted the following information relating to the Swamp Thing series. “production start is expected to begin on September 10th in Wilmington… Casting is well underway and we expect to start hearing announcements very soon.” click here to read more.
Although news has been slow to be released for a show that will be shooting in September, it will be extremely exciting to see developments as September approaches.

Injustice Swamp Thing Figure
Along with the DC Experience, a Swamp Thing collectible was unveiled at SDCC. Hiya Toys announced and displayed an Injustice Swamp Thing figure. Slated to be relaeased in the winter/spring of 2018/2019, the figure comes with a wooden club and additional hands. The 4″ action figure looks beautifully sculpted, and is an exciting new direction for Swamp Thing figures.
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Continue reading “Swamp Thing and the SDCC”

Twixt Two Worlds 3

Twixt Two Worlds #3

Swamp Thing alum, Thomas Yeates released another installment of Twixt Two Worlds recently and I was excited to obtain a signed copy. The book features some of Yeates’ convention sketches commissioned by Dwayne Covey.
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Swamp Thing kicks things off!
On the inside cover Swamp Thing does his best Clint’s Eastwood, looking contemplative and badass wearing this Spring’s freshest moss fashions.
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Yeates and the convention sketch…
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Yeates pays tribute to Bernie Wrightson, mentioning his great influence at an early stage in his artistic development. The image featured in the book inspired Thomas Yeates to work in a more bold/graphic manner in doing quick convention sketches.
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Continue reading “Twixt Two Worlds 3”

Garbage Mag 1

Garbage Mag 1 (1985)

I found this French entertainment magazine/fanzine a little over a year ago and am excited to finally share it with you. As you can see from the cover, the book is packed with awesome interviews and articles. I’m extremely pleased with the killer content. The book had a limited run of 1,500 copies.
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The table of contents features an awesome Dave Stevens (The Rocketeer) Batman sketch.
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The magazine houses a couple awesome Swamp Thing features, the first being “The Swamp Thing Report”. I’m as dismayed as you are, I’m still in the process of translating (from French to English) all of the content.
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“The Swamp Thing Report” features some amazing sketches by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben.
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Continue reading “Garbage Mag 1”