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.
This fantastic swipe/homage to Bernie Wrightson’s House of Secrets 92 was published in 1978 but was brought to my attention last week. It was like a hidden treasure within Swamp Thing’s history. Unlike House of Secrets 92 where Swamp Thing lurked behind Linda Ridge, this illustration features two Swamp Thing space men! I wonder if Louise Simonson knows about this tribute to her likeness.
The Swampy appearance can be found within Ancient Astronauts #7. I was fortunate enough to find a copy on EBay. I did have to purchase a lot of 8 issues of Ancient Astronauts to obtain the Swamp Thing sighting in #7 but it was well worth it.
The Swampy appearance comes by way of an article about aliens and skin complexion. It’s a random yet delightful sight. This magazine is full of bizarre and funny articles. I’m not sure if all of the content is meant to be funny. Below is the spread for, “Beware of Strange Skin Blemishes.” I believe the House of Secrets 92 homage was illustrated by either, Gene Day or Clifford Spencer. Gene Day illustrated a number of pieces of art throughout this magazine but he typically signed his work.
The above Swamp Thing astronauts sighting reminded me of another spacey scenario involving Swampy. If you were reading Batman in 2014, you may have come across this awesome Swamp Thing preview in the back of Batman #33.
I’ve been on the lookout for this awesome French book for a few years. I first found out about it when someone posted an image of it on Twitter. The 43-page, magazine sized book features an awesome Swamp Thing cover. The artwork is not original to this book, but a cropped image from the Swamp Thing series.
Another wonderful French book that I’ll need to have translated! Luckily though, I’ve read that the Scarce Alan Moore interview was not an original interview for this book and it was circulated around various European publications. I’ve no doubt it’s published in English in another book I have, so I’ll need to do some digging this weekend. Continue reading “Scarce #12 Swamp Thing is in France”→
Mark from DC in the 80s sent me all 3 issues of his awesome fanzine, Baxter Stock! Swamp Thing is featured on the cover of issue #3 and Rick Veitch is interviewed in issue #1. DC in the 80s posts really great content on Facebook and Twitter. I recommend checking out their website as well.
Josh Bayer illustrated Swamp Thing on issues #3, above. Below, “Vertigo Top 10” lists Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run #1.
“The Time is Right…” DC Comics 1994 Editorial Presentation
Pal and purveyor of comics, John Nordstrom brought over a fun gift last night. It’s 336 pages of Editorial Presentation goodness and of course Swamp Thing made it in the book. In fact, this giant book contains a never before published illustration by Phil Hester.
Amongst the seemingly endless spreads of upcoming comic books-which is all this book features-the Swampy illustration called to me! No, it didn’t but it certainly felt unfamiliar. So much so that I thumbed through every Swampy book that Phil Hester illustrated. Not finding it in his books, I figured I’d send a tweet to my friend, Phil. Below is his response.
I bought this lot of Comic Report fanzines to finally obtain issue #2, which features Swamp Thing on the cover. The Canadian zine from 1976 is produced by Jeff Zinger but features a great deal of artwork from Dave Sim and Gene Day.
The Comic Report #2 – May 1976, cover by Dave Sim
The interior features an illustration by Vince Lavarello. I think it’s Swamp Thing but your guess is as good as mine.
These two issues of House of Secrets host some of the earliest fan letters lauding Swamp Thing’s debut appearance in House of Secrets #92 (1971). The cover of House of Secrets 95 (January 1972) was illustrated by Nick Cardy. The cover of issue 96 (March 1972) was illustrated by Bernie Wrightson.
House of Secrets 95 features more muck-monster love than 96. Fans fell quickly in love with Swamp Thing. Some fans were moved to tears.
Miss Henry & students at Carleton University are big fans of DC apparently. Her letter warms my heart.
Direct Currents – What’s News From DC for January ‘79 (Vol. 1, #10 November 1978)
I’ve been lucky enough to find a number of DC’s Direct Currents but never one this old. Apparently DC Currents was a folded mailer in 1978 before growing up into a zine/book, as you can see here. I was thrilled to track down this issue because it features Swamp Thing. It highlights DC Comics Presents #8 (1979) The Sixty Deaths of Solomon Grundy. It’s fun to see Alec is spelled, “Alex” in the write-up. Folded, the piece measures 4 3/4” x 7”. Unfolded, it measures 13 3/4” x 28”.
I’m burning the midnight oil editing Holland Files #5. My New Years break started today and what’s more fun than staying up late, editing, and putting together a handsome graph representing every Swamp Thing appearance from 2010 to 2020. I omitted variant covers, non-visual/mention only and trade paperbacks. Seemed like the right thing to do. I’m going to get back to editing but feel free to extrapolate what you wish from the graph. It’s pretty fun looking. I’m going to throw together a graph later this weekend spanning 1971-2020.
Until I get the 1971-2020 graph together, enjoy this other timeline I made.
“Are you quite ready for the Alan Moore Interview?” The cover of Amazing Heroes tries to tantalize readers as so many publications do when featuring Alan Moore, even to this day. Fans are used to reading catchy headlines relating to Moore and his opinions. The headline pairs well with Stephen Bissette’s manic looking portrait of Moore. Unfortunately the hype surrounding his notoriety and his sometimes abrasive demeanor can overshadow his great work. I tend to ignore what I hear about Moore. I appreciate that he has opinions about the industry and his past work, but I enjoy focusing on his efforts related to Swamp Thing. I love reading about his process and understanding what went into the run. The creative team worked their tails off, executing some of Comics most ambitious and well executed books. This Moore interview is full of great content and insightful Swamp Thing information. It’s quite long so I’ll only be featuring the pieces that reference Swamp Thing.
Kim Thompson conducts the interview and is quite thorough. Moore’s career is chronicled and his career highlights are discussed. Below are portions of the introduction that relate to Swamp Thing.
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. Cover
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.
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.
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.
The book features industry highlights from 1986, with Alan Moore and Frank Miller receiving due praise.
This snippet below had me chuckling.
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.