The Sophisticated Moves Into Mature Territory in ’86, Letters From Kahn

A couple weeks ago, Stan Chu (a fellow collector from Toronto, Canada) contacted me to share some amazing letters that he’d found at his local comic shop. The first letter, intended for DC Comics freelancers, was written by-then President of DC-Jenette Kahn in1986. Amongst other things, her letter discusses the transition from the “Sophisticated Suspense” label on the Swamp Thing series to the introduction of the “For Mature Readers” label. Check it out below, and thanks again Stan!

DC Comics – Letter to Freelancers

Page 1 of Letter to Freelancers by Jenette Kahn – DC President and Publisher

Below, Kahn mentions Swamp Thing! After all, the wild success and craftsmanship put into the Swamp Thing series helped DC to distance themselves from the Comic Code. “Almost anything in a comic book is acceptable if appropriate to the characters, the storyline and the way the story is told.”

Page 2 of Letter to Freelancers by Jenette Kahn – DC President and Publisher
Continue reading “The Sophisticated Moves Into Mature Territory in ’86, Letters From Kahn”

Beautiful Brian Bolland Art Book

Cover Story: The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland (2011)

I’ve had this book on my ‘want list’ for a while and I finally picked it up while traveling through Omaha, Nebraska last week. I took the family to the Omaha zoo, but not without a stop at Krypton Comics. The store is covered, wall-to-wall, with awesome books, collectibles and games. I bought a couple Swamp Thing series 1 books as well, to be sure our muck-encrusted friend was represented.

Front Cover – Dust Jacket

The title page is a Bolland illustration that features some the more notable characters he has worked on. Naturally, Swamp Thing made the cut.

Below is a detail from the title page.

If you pick up a copy of this beautiful hardcover book, be sure to take off the dust jacket for these two amazing black and white reproductions.

Front Cover
Back Cover
Continue reading “Beautiful Brian Bolland Art Book”

A Swamp Thing Amongst Pin-Ups

Mediascene #8 – January/February 1974
Sure, this issue of Mediascene is focused on Pin-Ups but Swamp Thing made the cut as well!

Jim Steranko’s Mediascene newspaper-style publication always delivered amazing art and comics/media information. I acquired a hefty stack of back-issues a few years ago and I’m still digging through them for Swamp Thing sightings and posters I’d like framed. In 2018 I posted a Bernie Wrightson interview from Mediascene #16 (1975). It’s a fun and insightful read.

In this issue, Swamp Thing can be found buried behind all the Pin-Up information and art. But, I’m going to lead with it. As you can see, the awesome full-page image is a grayscale reproduction of Swamp Thing #11 ”The Conquerer Worms.” Matt Cable tries his best to be brave.

The large Swamp Thing image appears within the upcoming (in 1974) comics portion of Mediascene. It is the only place Swamp Thing appears in the paper.

Continue reading “A Swamp Thing Amongst Pin-Ups”

Comic Book Who’s Who – 1994

Hero Illustrated (a popular comics magazine from the ‘90s) released, “Comic Book Who’s Who” in August of 1994. The book was part of the magazine’s, Hero Special Edition releases. It features 50 profiles of the most popular heroes and villains in comics. Naturally, Swamp Thing made his way into the book and that’s why I’m sharing it with you.

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The table of contents provides a list of all 50 characters. It’s great that characters outside of DC and Marvel are represented.

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Swamp Thing’s profile is on page 74. I’ve enlarged the information so you can read it, below.

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The bio indicates that Alec Holland’s first appearance was in House of Secrets #92. Alec Holland didn’t appear on the scene until 1972, within Swamp Thing #1. Alex Olsen appeared in House of Secrets #92 in 1971.

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Swampy’s bio lists Len Wein as the creator of Swamp Thing. Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson and Joe Orlando created Swamp Thing in 1971.

Below, it’s mentioned that “Linda died in the blast.” Linda Holland was killed in Swamp Thing #1 (1972) but she did not die in an explosion. Swamp Thing finds her body on the floor of the reconstructed, secret laboratory barn. It’s not clear how Linda died but Ferrett is holding a gun on page 18 as he enters the lab to kill Linda. Continue reading “Comic Book Who’s Who – 1994”

Cinefantastique No 2/3 & the Swamp Thing Bust

Cinefantastique No 2/3 Vol 12 – April 1982

This “Special Double Issue” contains a giant-sized Swamp Thing (the feature film) article by Michael Kaplan. I recently bought a copy because the book was referenced in a 1982 Wooley’s Auction Gallery catalog. It’s nice to find another Swampy appearance in Cinefantastique. Articles featuring Swamp Thing can be found within issues, No 4 Vol 11, No 4 Vol 12, and I’m always on the lookout for more.

As you can imagine, this special double issue contains a ton of Conan film material. If you’re interested in the Conan content, I’m sorry. Below I’ve provide all the Swamp Thing goodness this book has to offer. I enlarged the images so you can hopefully read the article it in its entirety.

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Special Effects artist (now Bigfoot researcher), Bill (William) Munns is the focus of much of the article and I was excited to dig into it. I interviewed Bill for Holland Files #1 and he expressed that he didn’t enjoy working on the film. But, he did have many memories to share. He dealt with budget cuts, unrealistic alteration requests and deadlines. These and other production troubles came to a crescendo with Munns standing in as lead villain, the Anton Arcane monster. We’ve all heard the rumors about how hard it was to work on the film. With this article, we get some insight!

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I was excited to see Michael Uslan’s name in the beginning of the article. I don’t think a DC movie or tv show has been made without him being involved. I knew Uslan was a producer on the first Swamp Thing film but I didn’t know he led the second unit during filming. I’ve been trying to get an interview with him for a number of years. He’s a big Swamp Thing fan.2F800623-51FA-4EED-921E-FA352D9195FB

Continue reading “Cinefantastique No 2/3 & the Swamp Thing Bust”

Wooley’s and the Swamp Thing Bust

Wooley’s Auction Gallery Magazine – circa 1982

Wooley’s Auction Gallery used to produce paperback catalogs to accompany their auctions. The books were typically filled with original comic book art, film props, comic books, etc. This issue caught my eye because the back cover features a familiar looking Swamp Thing bust.

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Below is the back cover. It features THE Swamp Thing bust by Bill Munns. I acquired the bust from a fellow Swamp Thing fan in 2016. I wrote all about it, here. It’s a thrill to find this auction magazine with even more details about the bust.

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Below are some photos from the inside of the auction catalog.

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Continue reading “Wooley’s and the Swamp Thing Bust”

DC Through the 80’s

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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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Continue reading “DC Through the 80’s”

Swamp Things in Space

Ancient Astronauts #7 (Vol 4) August 1978

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Continue reading “Swamp Things in Space”

Scarce #12 Swamp Thing is in France

Scarce #12 (1987) – French Fanzine

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.

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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”

DC in the 80s Fanzine: Baxter Stock

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.486A1C09-2B29-4650-AC4C-08EC50F1AE22C5DC5CC2-6636-46EB-81D3-063309EC4F75

Josh Bayer illustrated Swamp Thing on issues #3, above. Below, “Vertigo Top 10” lists Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run #1.

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Fanzines back in the day had really fun extras and Baxter Stock does not disappoint in representing the greatness. Below is an awesome Depeche Mode parody ad. Continue reading “DC in the 80s Fanzine: Baxter Stock”

DC Editorial Presentation

“The Time is Right…” DC Comics 1994 Editorial Presentation

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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.

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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.

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As always, he provides fun insight. Continue reading “DC Editorial Presentation”

The Comic Report Fanzine

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.

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The Comic Report #2 – May 1976, cover by Dave Sim

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The interior features an illustration by Vince Lavarello. I think it’s Swamp Thing but your guess is as good as mine.

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Continue reading “The Comic Report Fanzine”

House of Secrets & The Swamp Thing Letters

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.

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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.

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Miss Henry & students at Carleton University are big fans of DC apparently. Her letter warms my heart.

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The Swamp Thing love just keeps coming… Continue reading “House of Secrets & The Swamp Thing Letters”