Dog Welder, Steve Dillon, Totleben, Bissette

I’ve been looking forward to this week’s Six Pack & Dog Welder issue for a number of reasons. I love the world Garth Ennis and John McRea have created in Section 8. My favorite member of the Section 8 team is Dog Welder who happens to be the focus of this current series.
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In 1997, Steve Dillon introduced Dog Welder to the world in Hitman 18. The late, great artist also created this week’s spectacular cover.
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It’s an homage to the Swamp Thing 47 cover by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben released 30 years ago.
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In this issue -much like Swamp Thing in The Parliament of Trees– Dog Welder explores his history and roots. He finds himself amongst a gallery of statues, much like a Parliament of Dog Welders.
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I’ve been loving this series. Like all Section 8 stories, it’s crude, unorthodox cast and storyline is extremely entertaining. Wrapped up in Section 8’s current shenanigans is, John Constantine. As the featured guest Constantine adds another element of significance that the storyline and Dillon’s cover pays tribute to Swamp Thing. I’m looking forward to the next issue of this six part series to find out if Swampy is mentioned or if there are any more references to him.

it’s a stretch but I enjoy how much this western/pioneer era Dog Welder mask is shaped kind of like Swampy’s face.
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EC: The Haunt of Fear Volume 3

EC: The Haunt of Fear Volume 3 (1989)

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Five months ago I wrote a post focused on Comic Artist #1 (Spring 1998). The magazine featured a great article with interviews from Len Wein, Berni Wrightson and Joe Orlando. The three Swamp Thing creators briefly discuss the creative process and origins of their famous muck monster. Indeed, there are a number of Swamp Monsters throughout the history of sci-fi and horror literature that inspired the creation of Swamp Thing but Orlando mentions that the first Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets #92 was also inspired by the story, Gorilla My Dreams from The Haunt of Fear #17 (1953). Well, he doesn’t specificly mention issue #17 but through a good bit of research and  chatting with fellow Swamp Thing fanatic and guru, Rich Handley, I came to the conclusion that this was indeed the book Orlando was referencing.

“… the first story was done in House of Secrets and I fed to Len the idea from an old EC story that I loved where they took the brains out of this guy and put it into an ape and the last panel is that it’s Christmas time and he looks into the window of his home and sees his wife and children celebrating Christmas and there’s a picture of daddy. The family turns and screams and he has to run and leave. I thought that that’s such a powerful idea and it’s in the first Swamp Thing story.”
-Joe Orlando

His recollection of the story is a little fuzzy but the gist is understood, as you will see in the following images. Since I love researching Swamp Thing, I had to find this issue and share it with you fellow Swampy fans. Turns out the original book is tough to come by and is currently selling for more than I’d like to spend. The book has been reprinted a few times and I haven’t had much luck tracking one down until today! This good looking, 9″ x 12″, 172 page, black and white hardcover collects The Haunt of Fear (EC Comics 1950-1954) issues 12-17. The collected Golden Age tales of horror features stories by Gardner Fox, Harry Harrison, Al Feldstein, Jack Davis and Wally Wood.
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The back cover features the cover of The Haunt of Fear #17 (1953)
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I immediately got home and dug into the book. The stories are horrific and wonderful! Gorilla My Dreams was better than I could have hoped. I certainly can see why Orlando would want to borrow the emotions and themes depicted in the short story.

The Vault of Horror!
Gorilla My Dreams
Script: Albert B. Feldstein, Art: George Evans
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Philip Stoker is a business man on his way to work. He leaves his beautiful family for the city, as he does everyday.
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A stranger has arrived at his office, first thing in the morning, to meet with Mr Stoker. Before Stoker can understand the situation at hand he is drugged unconscious.
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Stoker wakes to find himself strapped to an operating table. Only, he isn’t himself. His brain has been transplanted into a gorilla!
image_6.JPEG Continue reading “EC: The Haunt of Fear Volume 3”

The Return of Swamp Thing Filming Location

Last week, I was back home in Savannah, GA for my brother’s wedding. While there, we got out to enjoy the beautiful weather and visited the Oatland Island Wildlife Center. The island is home to a wildlife refuge with numerous scenic nature trails and attractions. The main purpose for my visit to the island was to investigate the sight of where the Return of Swamp Thing was filmed.

Ledbetter Pond on Oatland Island in Savannah, Georgia. A filming location for the Return of Swamp Thing (1989).
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As you can imagine, Ledbetter pond is quite marshy and is home to numerous free-roaming creatures. The alligator sign was a nice reminder of what lurks within the murky water.

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The Main Building on the island served as Arcane’s estate in the film. To make the facade of the building look more like a home, additions and build-outs were applied to the building. Here is a screengrab from the film for you to reference.
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The same building, today, without the fake entrance built on.

While taking pictures of the Main House, I was approached by one of the groundskeepers. He asked if I was interested in architecture or if I worked in construction. I told him why I was so interested in the building (Swamp Thing) and he invited me inside to meet with the Director of Operations for the island. They could not have been more inviting and gracious. I told them about my Swamp Thing collection/obsession and they showed me a bunch of photos from when the film was being shot. The Director of Operations told me that she owns one of the masks from the film. She said there were numerous masks on-hand in case the Swamp Thing costume needed a replacement. I’m currently waiting for photos of her mask. I can’t wait to see them and share!
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During filming the crew promised that when Arcane’s estate blew up, only a few of the building’s original windows would be effected. The folks at Oatland Island told me that when the explosions went off, most of the windows on this side (picture above) of the building blew out. That must have been a surprise! Continue reading “The Return of Swamp Thing Filming Location”

Fifty Who Made DC Great

Fifty Who Made DC Great (1985)
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A great reference book, spotlighting the early movers and shakers that made the best comics publisher what it is today.
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As you can see, the list is full of comic greats but one name is most intriguing to me, Emile Keirsbelk. His publishing company and efforts helped bring DC to the non-English speaking world. Keirsbelk’s Arédit produced countless, classic editions. The large number of non-US editions keeps me busy hunting for all of the ones that feature Swamp Thing. So far it’s seemingly endless. Continue reading “Fifty Who Made DC Great”

Who’s Who 22

Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe 22 (1986)
John Byrne penciled and inked this cool wrap around cover featuring a scraggly Swamp Thing, front and center. This issue of Who’s Who covers everyone from Starfire I to Syonide. Superman looks pleased and proud, everyone else looks like they’re concerned and scrambling for some reason.
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Continue reading “Who’s Who 22”

History of the DC Universe – Book Two

History of the DC Universe – Book Two (1986)
It’s 1986, Earths have merged, Crisis on Infinite Earths has come to a conclusion and Marv Wolfman and George Pérez are attempting to set the record straight. More or less, History of the DCU was a prestige format recap to help readers get caught up to speed, post Crisis. That said, Swamp Thing makes an appearance!
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Swamp Thing puts the “the” in… you know
 photo 63B3B443-463A-47B3-9D65-7C0F298F9776.jpg Continue reading “History of the DC Universe – Book Two”

DC Comics: A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes

DC Comics: A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes (2003)
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This DC reference book has it all; character bios, artist histories, info on movie adaptations as well as collectibles.
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Swampy is prominently featured and has a few different articles within the book
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Continue reading “DC Comics: A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes”