I’ve been rearranging the Swamp Thing room this week. It’s a work in progress, and currently a mess, but I’m feeling better about how my books are being stored. For a while I had some books in spinner racks. I didn’t like how the metal left indentations on some of the books. Long story short, here’s a progress photo and a video of some plant monster comics. Along with collecting everything Swamp Thing, I have quite the collection of books that feature plant and swamp monsters.
I snapped photos of a stack of plant/swampy monster covers and made a slideshow, below. If you have some favorite plant monster covers let me know in the comments. Some of my favorites involve tree monsters. I also enjoy the many covers featuring Superman tangling with vines. Being one of the strongest aliens on the planet, he sure does get tripped-up by plant vines.
I held off on reading this new Swamp Thing series because I wanted to enjoy reading the first four issues in one sitting. I also expected the first few books to be light in content, stringing me along with one vague cliffhanger after another. I was absolutely wrong in having that opinion/preconception. I loved the first book so much that I paused reading so that I could jot down some initial thoughts regarding how great it is. Mike Perkins illustrates an amazing world for Swamp Thing.
Ram V’s writing feels much smarter and smoother than most stories being written today. I’m really enjoying his pacing. His story telling isn’t heavy with exposition. He drops you into an intense, mysterious scenario that you unravel along with the characters, Swamp Thing/Levi Kamei. Perhaps it’s how the characters are written, or Ram V’s timing, but the story feels like a classic episode of the Twilight Zone. I was effortlessly drawn into this new Swamp Thing world.
Ram V does a fantastic job of introducing various plot threads. Whether through dreams, flashbacks or while Swampy spontaneously regenerates, Ram V keeps the story moving by presenting multiple vignettes. This style of storytelling makes the reader feel as if they are getting a rich, multifaceted story within each single issue. Rich storytelling is why I enjoy the Alan Moore series so much. It feels like you’re getting more per issue, like Mike Perkins and Ram V’s series. Continue reading “The Swamp Thing 1-4 Review”→
Happy World Environment Day everyone! I hope you all are doing well. I’m excited to announce the winners of the rootsoftheswampthing.com 6,000 Followers Giveaway. Over 130 people participated in the Giveaway and I’m so thankful for your fun responses. I encourage you to read fellow Swamp Thing fans discussing their favorite Swampy books/appearances, here.
The entries were selected at random as you can see in the video above. 1st place Winner of a box of Swamp Thing collectibles is: Ryan Spahr 2nd Place Winner of 2 issues of Holland Files Fanzine is: capeversesam 3rd Place Winner of 2 issues of Holland Files Fanzine is: Alan (Doom Wizard)
As a thank you to all those who visit this site and its corresponding social media avenues, I’ll be giving one lucky person a great big care package of Swamp Thing goodness. The giveaway will include Swamp Thing comics, Holland Files fanzines, Swamp Thing collectibles, a Swamp Thing Fanclub mug and more! To spread the cheer, 2 other lucky people will be randomly selected to receive copies of the Holland Files Swamp Thing fanzine.
How do you enter to win all this Swamptastic stuff? All you need to do is comment on this post. Let me know your favorite story/book that Swamp Thing has appeared in. I’ll be picking the 3 winners Saturday, June 5th on World Environment Day. Be sure to visit this site next Saturday for the list of winners. Thank you so much for swinging by and I can’t wait to read your fun answers. Swamp Thing has a long history of fantastic appearances to draw from.
Thank you Len Wein & Bernie Wrightson. Last night was a birthday party for the history books! Christine Valada (Len Wein’s wife), Stephen R. Bissette, Phil Hester, Nancy Collins, Bernie Wrightson’s sons (John & Jeff), Joshua Dysart, Stuart Moore and many more expressed their gratitude and birthday wishes to Swamp Thing for his 50th birthday. It was so wonderful to spend time with fellow Swampy fans, celebrating the character. I can’t thank the Grail Keepers Podcast enough for helping to host the show. The idea to host a Swamp Thing birthday party started as a small concept but quickly blossomed into a virtual, community celebration. Like a ripple effect, It’s been exciting to see many Swamp Thing fans join in on the birthday wishes on various social media platforms. Even though Swamp Thing’s 50th birthday party was live last night, you can still catch all the excitement on YouTube, here!
In coordinating the birthday party, I contacted the various participants for Swamp Thing’s video birthday card. It was a thrill to speak with so many big names in comic book history. I’m fortunate to know most of them because of Holland Files, and naturally crossing paths being a Swampy fan. I’m extremely grateful that so many people took time out of their schedules to wish Swamp Thing a happy birthday. I owe a special thank you to Tom Kleve for arranging John Wrightson’s video. I edited the birthday video submissions and am honored to share the results with you, below.
The Swamp Thing birthday show was a wonderful reminder of how great Swamp Thing fans are. Hearing sentimental and fun stories regarding how the character changed peoples lives was really special. The birthday party inspired an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the wonderful experiences and the people I’ve met by being a fan of the character. It also reminded me to take time to say, “thank you” to everyone who visits my site, rootsoftheswampthing.com. I greatly appreciate your passion for Swamp Thing and am glad this site can be a place to love and learn about the character.
Join me and the Grail Keepers Podcast in celebrating Swampy’s 50th. We’re excited to chat live with fellow Swamp Thing. Fans, and hear from Swamp Thing’s family and old friends. Joshua Dysart, Nancy Collins, Stephen Bissette, Christine Valada, John Wrightson and more will be wishing Swamp Thing a happy birthday.
Swamp Thing’s birthday party is next Tuesday and it will be live on The Grail Keepers YouTube Show. Join me and the Grail Keepers in celebrating Swampy’s 50th with giveaways, stories and fun top 10 lists. I’m also extremely excited to present some of Swamp Thing’s oldest friends, wishing him a happy 50th. Stephen Bissette, Nancy Collins, Phil Hester and Stuart Moore are just a few of the familiar faces you’ll see. Join in the live celebration and conversation by tuning in Tuesday, May 25th at 9pm CST. Here is a link to the show site.
In preparing for Swampy’s birthday, I forgot to share a few fun collectibles that have come my way. I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve acquired a few Mark Jewelers Swamp Thing comics. Well, I found another. This Swamp Thing #5 “The Last of the Ravenwind Witches” from August 1973 has some wear on the cover but the interior looks terrific. I was really excited to find a Mark Jewelers book from so early on in the Swamp Thing series. I provided the cover and Mark Jewelers pages below.
You probably recall Dr Arcane’s custom action figures that I posted last month. If not, here’s a link to a boatload of fun. His amazing, custom Swamp Thing creations never cease to amaze. Earlier this month I received these two awesome Swampy busts in the mail. The one on the left is glow-in-the-dark resin. The one on the right is beautifully rendered using various colors. The photos below help to display the fantastic detail work.
A little over a month ago, Dallis (@ozark_comics) from The Grail Keepers Podcast let me know that Selecōs N° 213 was on eBay. I about fell out of my chair with excitement. I bought it immediately, thrilled to share it with all of you wonderful people. The Portuguese book features an original Swamp Thing cover and I’ve been looking for it for a number of years. After a month of waiting by the mailbox it arrived!
I’m always thrilled to find a cover where Swamp Thing is being reinterpreted. Usually a title page is used as a cover in place of the originally published DC Swamp Thing covers. Few and far between are the completely original covers, but they usually relate to the featured Swamp Thing story within its pages. Not long ago, I was able to track down a Hindi book that featured a fantastic cover and original story. The Australian Murray books are among my favorite reinterpreted covers 1, 2. These two Swedish edition covers are great 1, 2. As well as this German cover. This is turning into a covers gallery so I’ll get on with it.
The Selecōs N° 213 cover artist appears to be named Enetto. I love Enetto’s illustration depicting the action from Swamp Thing #4 “Monster on the Moors” (May 1973). As you can guess, this book reprints the story of Swamp Thing’s misadventures on the moors. The cover appears to be a reinterpretation of one of the panels from the story. Enneto proudly defines Swamp Thing’s butt. I’ve paired the two images below. Unfortunately I was not able to find information about the artist. The book measures 16.5 cm x 23.5 cm.
Below are a few of the interior pages. I always love seeing Bernie Wrightson’s artwork in black and white. The detail is fantastic.
I tried to capture a clear image of the publishing info below. This book was published in May, 1979.
The gentleman with the pencil thin mustache on the cover of this book doesn’t appear in Swamp Thing #4. But, he is the featured character in the backup story, “Fire Ball.” I haven’t translated the story but he seems like quite the action hero. I bet he and Matt Cable would be fast friends.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Superman The Man of Steel #104 “Bounty: Man of Steel – No Axioms” (September 2000)
In this issue, Superman & Swamp Thing pass each other like two ships in the night. Swampy only shows up in one panel but he looks great. Doug Mahnke is on pencils. Tom Nguyen and John McCrea are the inkers.
Superman and Swamp Thing are aboard the S.S. Arkham. The flying detainment facility is dubbed the UFO of irrationality. Superman is being detained for being rational.
After his evaluation from Dr Skizm, Superman is sent to the rational ward of the UFO. It’s where the “perverts—your fellow scientists and skeptical scum” are held.
While pondering his conundrum, Superman wonders the rational ward. While doing so, he passes Swamp Thing whose getting advice.
Two inmates suggest to Swamp Thing that he try aromatherapy and psychotherapy (rebirthing) for what ails him. The rebirthing suggestion is funny, knowing that Swamp Thing can regrow himself anywhere he pleases.
This Swampy cameo is surely an appearance for fun and doesn’t affect Swamp Thing continuity. This book was published the same month as, Swamp Thing #5 “Burning Down the House” (Series 3). At this time, Swampy was taking a break from the comic book kingdom for the most part. Around this time, he only showed up in brief cameos and books based on Elseworld stories. You can reference the Vertigo Era: ’93-’10 appearance list, here.
But, it would be fun to imagine how and why Swamp Thing would allow himself to be held captive on the ship.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sandman #3 “Master of Dreams, Part 3: Dream a Little Dream of Me” (March 1989)
Sandman 3 features a whole lot of John Constantine, with just a hint of Swamp Thing. If you’ve not read Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run, you may have missed some of the fun references to Swampy and Constantine’s adventures.
Morpheus is in town and he’s looking for Dream’s Sand Pouch. It was stolen from him some time ago and he’s intent on getting it back. John Constantine has had it for so long that he doesn’t remember where he put it, or if he still has it.
John is very surprised to see Morpheus at his door. Prior to this meeting, Constantine didn’t believe Sandman existed.
Constantine recalls that the pouch may be at Chas’ “lock-up” (self storage). Before the two travel to the lock-up to retrieve it, in typical fashion, Constantine takes the time to insult Morpheus. The best part of this insult is that John throws Swampy in on the ribbing!
Apparently John doesn’t find imitation to be flattering. I think Morpheus and Constantine would make a rockin’ trench coat band.
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.
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.
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.
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.