We bought this at a used bookstore for one reason and one reason only: the Steve Bissette portrait of Swamp Thing. But in all fairness, the portfolio has several stunning renditions of DC characters. It rarely appears in stock at MyComicShop, but you can find it on eBay for less than its original price of $15.
Swamp Thing #75, part of Rick Veitch’s run on the title, remains a favorite of ours due to the lavishly large panels full of Swampy’s psychedelic ponderings on life, the universe, and everything. Swamp Thing sits down and grows a bigger brain to consider a thorny problem; namely, how to find a host for the spirit of the next elemental force of The Green. Long-time fans will know this elemental force eventually takes the form of his daughter, a character Brain K. Vaughn would develop in his time on the series.
We recently sold our Swamp Thing collection on eBay but had to scan this bad boy before it went off to its new home. Enjoy!
When Rick Veitch began writing Swamp Thing, he’d already drawn many issues of it. In his first issue as writer, he continued several of Alan Moore’s themes, like the Parliament of Trees and the psychedelic effects of eating Swampy’s tubers. While Swamp Thing descends into the green realm of the Parliament, Abby takes a weird hallucinogenic trip in issue #65. The events here kick off the main theme of Veitch’s run: Swamp Thing and Abby’s attempts to have a baby, and the unusual role John Constantine plays in that endeavor.
Many before us have sung the praises of the Len Wein and Berni Wrightson stories that kick off the first volume of Swamp Thing stories. Have you seen the first issue of Swamp Thing? We might be in the minority, but the first chunk of issues where Swamp Thing takes on some pretty generic monsters seem like merelyt a warm-up for further greatness.
Even the Batman crossover in #7 fails to get our engines revved. But then: issue #8 comes along. Swamp Thing encounters a demon in a cave on the outskirts of a small town, giving us a dark visual feast that brings the series to life for us. The Lurker in Tunnel 13 may be the first of the early tales that hints at what Swamp Thing would later become in the 1980s –the first appearance of Arcane notwithstanding. It’s cosmic, satanic, horrific, and sports one of our favorite Wrightson covers.
Wein and Wrightson also present a great story about a stranded alien trying to repair his ship and return to the stars. Making this freakish beast sympathetic and compassionate reminds us that monsters and heroes come in many forms.
Before leaving the book, Wein & Wrightson deliver the consummately creepy Man Who Would Not Die, the first return of Arcane from the hell where he deserves to stay. The confrontation between Arcane and Swampy in a graveyard may be our favorite artistic moment of Wrightson’s legendary contributions.
Nestor Redondo steps into Wrightson’s shoes without missing a beat, working with Len Wein on three issues before David Michelinie takes the reins. We have some other images of Nestor Redondo’s Swamp Thing art if you’d like to check them out.
Michelinie and Redondo seem to lose steam towards the end of their contribution, and what happens next is a bit of a disappointment. The creative team changes, and the book loses much of its horror appeal quickly. Readers must have felt the same way at the time, as Swamp Thing would soon be cancelled. Swamp Thing’s gambit to revert to a normal Alec Holland once again just doesn’t work for us, and it’s been more or less ignored in subsequent Swampy stories.
The end of the volume is a bit of a mess, but the early stories have definite high points. We sold our collection of VG+/FN issues — almost a complete run — on eBay. But a few of them we would be happy to collect and read again. You can get many of the early Wein/Wrightson issues in Roots of the Swamp Thing reprints.
Having owned both the reprints and the originals, we prefer the originals. Though the printing and color is more crisp and clean and bright in the reprints, the vintage horror vibe feels much more authentic with a well-worn copy from the early 1970s, the smell of tanned comic book paper, and the distinctive original covers.
Rick Veitch took over the creative helm of Swamp Thing after having worked on it as artist for Alan Moore’s stories of Gotham City and Swamp Thing’s space travel, among others. Let’s have a look inside his memorable contributions.
But first, let us mention that a full Veitch collection is nicely rounded out by two Annuals (one with work by Steve Bissette), an odd issue of Secret Origins that covers the Floronic Man (revisited by Veitch in his S.T. run), and a couple issues that complete Veitch’s unfinished cliff hanger.
Recall that Veitch had wanted an issue where Swamp Thing met Jesus, but DC would not publish it. Frustrated, he left, but the resolution by the next creative team works well. With brilliant Totleben covers and the return of Tom Yeates’s art to these pages, Veitch’s long saga of the unborn child of the Swamp Thing comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Veitch maintains several strong motifs from the Moore saga. Swamp Thing’s travels through the surreal sentient plant dimensions of the Green take on new life with the Parliament of Trees. The Parliament reveals Swampy is one of a number of plant-like avatars of the Green. Meanwhile, Abigail Cable, now Mrs. Swamp Thing, starts taking more psychedelic trips by eating the tubers of the Swamp Thing. Whoa, dude.
We made some scans of one of our favorite Veitch issues where Swamp Thing thinks deep thoughts by growing a giant plant brain. Veitch seems to have fun revisiting the drug-fueled aesthetics of underground comix of the 1970s, and the reader gets many a lavish visual treat.
Some lucky Swamp Fan picked up this collection from us on eBay, but you can usually find Rick Veitch issues of Swamp Thing in stock. You want issues #65-87, and go all the way to #91 if you want the concluding story arc. It resolves Veitch’s two main plot lines: Swampy & Abby’s attempt to conceive a child, and a time-travel saga through the history of the DC Universe.
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!
Whatever knows fear, blogs at the touch of Man-Thing! Here he is, Marvel’s mucky monstrosity in some of our favorite swamp stories. We bet you never knew injecting yourself with chemical mutagens and fatally wrecking your car would be so much fun!
It’s a time-honored geek pasttime to debate who is better: Man-Thing or Swamp Thing. Our favorite take on it comes from Peter Gillis in the pages of What The?! Dig Swamp Thing as a tuber-tripping swamp hippy!
Collector’s Guide: From What The–? #6; Marvel, 1990.
You know we love the Moore/Bissette/Totleben/Veitch Swamp Thing as much as we’ve loved any comic-book story. And hats off to the original Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing. But Nestor Redondo doesn’t get enough credit for his artwork on issues #11-23 of the first volume of Swamp Thing. To celebrate Nestor Redondo, we present for your viewing pleasure three awe-inspiring splash panels from his Swamp Thing days: mutant swamp worms, giant frogs and snakes, and even a giant ant. Yes!
Collector’s Guide: From Swamp Thing volume 1. Scripts by Len Wein and David Michelinie, art by Nestor Redondo.
Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing may be the most-reviewed comic book series on the web. So we’re not going to discuss how it’s one of the greatest things written in comics — or anywhere else. We’ll just let the story speak for itself!
Here is the complete “Anatomy Lesson” story that started it all. Well, issue 20 gave Moore a chance to wrap up the story lines started by Marty Pasko, but this is the issue that pulled the rug out from under all that to launch an exciting new direction.
Steve Bissette’s MyRant discusses more of the creation of the first few issues of Moore’s Swamp Thing, including original script pages from Moore, examples of John Totleben’s incredible contribution as inker, and credit to Rick Veitch on the interior shots of Sunderland’s office building in “Anatomy Lesson.”
These scans come from a reprint DC/Vertigo created when the Watchmen movie came out. Branded “What’s Next,” the $1 reprints aimed to take the momentum of the movie and create some new fans for more Vertigo titles beyond Watchmen. The “Anatomy Lesson” reprint of Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 proved especially awesome: Never before (not even in the TPBs) has the art appeared so crisp and perfect, and Tatjana Wood’s coloring of this issue came to life like never before on the high-quality paper.
Enough exposition! Let’s get to the heart of what makes our favorite muck-encrusted mockery of a man really tick!
“Rite of Spring” is one of our top ten favorite comic books of all time, easily. Psychedelic love in the swamp, baby! Yes! Where do we sign up?!
Abigail “Abby” Arcane and Swamp Thing declare their love for each other and find a unique way to consumate that love on the transcendent, spiritual level. This story also has some historical significance. It often receives credit for “launching the entire Vertigo line” at DC by boldly going off the Comics Code Authority label.
No spandex. No referring to yourself in the third person. Just a shambling muck-encrusted mockery of the man that once was Alec Holland… Swamp Thing! Here are his origin and very first issue for you to enjoy. And it only gets better from there!
Story and Art by Len Wein & Berni Wrightson.
Keith Giffen really pulled out all the cosmic stops to draw Challengers of the Unknown in 1977 and 1978. Also featuring Deadman and Swamp Thing. Here are some especially awesome pages to blast your brain!
This issue packs immortal demons from space, muck monsters from the bog, gorgeous gals in distress, sonic ray guns with sweet visual effects — you can’t ask for much more entertainment factor! Giffen’s entire run is a blast, and the art gets even weirder as it goes along.
Collector’s Guide: From Challengers of the Unknown. The entire story runs from #81-87, the final issue.