DC Through the 80’s – The Experiments: A Storied Survey of the Decade that Changed Comics Forever
This installment of DC Through the 80’s was released last month and I was eager to get my hands on the 504 page hardcover. I love editions that collect various DC stories (see DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest circa 1980), and this book includes fun insight into the stories and what was happening at DC Comics at the time of their release. DC Through the 80’s sheds light on the creative choices, business decisions, and industry environment of the era. DC was allowing artists and writers to make bold choices in their craft/trade and the results provided some of the best comics ever created. From the cover alone, you know you are in for a treat. This book is the follow up to, DC Through the 80s: The End of Eras which was released in 2020. You can find a copy here.
Swamp Thing appears in two stories within this edition. He kicks off the Vertigo section of the book with, Swamp Thing #40 “The Curse” from 1985. The Moore, Bissette, Totleben story was part of the wildly engaging and inspired story arc, An American Gothic.
In his book, Writing for Comics (2003) Alan Moore discussed Swamp Thing issue #40: “This story was about the difficulties endured by women in masculine societies, using the common taboo of menstruation as the central motif. The plot concerned a young married woman moving into a new home built upon the site of an old Indian lodge and finding herself possessed by the dominating spirit that still resided there, turning her into a werewolf.” Even though issue #40 of Swamp Thing is overlooked/underrated by many, it’s an excellent example of the inspired level of thought going into the comics being made. These were not run of the mill stories involving caped crusaders, but rich tales with themes involving cultural history, relationships, and what it means to be human.
The second story within DC Through the 80’s – The Experiments to feature Swamp Thing is Wolfman & Perez’s, “History of the DC Universe – Book Two.” Swamp Thing is featured on the cover within the word, “the” as well as within the story.
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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.
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.
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.
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”
The DC Universe by Len Wein – 2019
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.
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.
Below are a few pages from within the book.
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Super Monstruos – Spain 1992
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.
The figure looks quite similar to one of Bernie Wrightson’s more obscure renderings of Swamp Thing.
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.
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Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest 52 (1984)
Years Best Comics Stories
Best of Blue Ribbon collects 1983’s best comics, and Swamp Thing made the cut! The collection of stories includes, Stopover in a Place of Quiet Truths from Swamp Thing 16 (series 2) by Martin Pasko, John Totleben and Steven Bissette.
What kinds of perks should a “years best comics” character expect when attending the Years Best Gala?
Swampy makes the list of best comics but gets roped into slinging drinks all night on the back cover. Talk about a bum deal! At least he looks dapper; kind of like a Bond villain posing as a waiter.
Here’s a list of the other stories honored in the book as 1983’s best comics.
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DC Blue Ribbon Digest 35 (1983)
Years Best Comics Stories
This issue of the Blue Ribbon Digest features the best comics from 1982. Swamp Thing made the cut along with other notable characters.
The wrap around cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano features some great characters
The table of contents lists the winners.
Swamp Thing 4
In the White Room
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