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

Fantasy Trader 41 (October 1979)

Where “comics and science fiction lives!”

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.

Back Cover

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!”

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.
Continue reading “Flashback ’96 – Wizard 62, Swamp Thing on a Calendar”

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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