Somebody got this set from us on eBay already, but wow was it fun to assemble. Writer Martin Pasko, author of more than one minor classic for DC Comics, would leave the series to pursue opportunities in his television writing career. Before he left, though, he set the stage for the team of Moore, Bissette, and Totleben to take over.
The run feels, in many ways, like a television series. With a movie still from the Swamp Thing movie adorning the cover of issue two, it’s likely DC had an eye out for the transition to television success. Pasko gave readers a large supporting cast and many subplots that evolve at different paces.
With demons from hell and evil sea monsters with huge brains, Pasko keeps Swamp Thing largely in the realm of monster-based horror as Wein & Wrightson did in the beginning. A back-up series of Phantom Stranger stories adds to the spooky vibe.
The cover of #6 is our favorite, hands-down. Or, tentacles down. We dug the entire story as Swamp Thing gets stuck on the cruise from hell. A demonic squid brain takes over the ship and turns a masquerade party into a cyclops circus. #6 and #7 are just too much fun!
Judging from the letters pages, readers really loved issue #8, too. Swampy ends up on an island where fantasy and reality become indistinguishable for a group of war vets. Behold the cover, with its skull mountain, jungle foliage, and long-haired lady with her clothes shredded and slipping off. This is pure Hollywood pulp, but delightfully executed.
At the beginning of the series, we found Tom Yeates’ art merely serviceable, but by this point in the series he seems to have really hit a groove. The covers and interior art have become memorable and dynamic.
More damnable demons spring up from the Stygian depths to confront Swamp Thing as Yeates keeps the volume cranked on madness and the macabre.
A sombre interlude with a freakish crystal antagonist begins perhaps like any silly superhero story, but the moody artwork and utter tragedy of the participants makes it a surprisingly moving tale. These two issues feature a different creative team, and Tom Yeates would not return to the interior art. But, dude, crystal alligator. Check it out.
And then, something magical happens. Steve Bissette and John Totleben come aboard and revolutionize the atmospheric, horrifying visual style of the book. While we often sing the praises of the Moore run, these few issues with the same art team demonstrate how much the intensity of that run came solely from the pictures. We lack the words to depict the scope of how stunning these pages are for us, so let us simply leave you with a few to enjoy!
Like we said, we sold our set on eBay recently, but you can almost always get a great deal on these Martin Pasko issues of Saga of the Swamp Thing. The last couple rarely come into stock, but good luck!