I started reading Swamp Thing from the very beginning... sort of. When I was a kid, I liked superhero comics and not much else (no western, no war, etc.). I also gravitated toward Marvel, so Swamp Thing had two strikes against it right out of the gate (to mix a metaphor or two). I remember seeing titles such as Swamp Thing and Kamandi on the spinner racks but not giving them a second look (or even a first). Even when I walked into a comic book shop for the first time in my life several years later, it took some time for me to overcome my preconceived notions regarding such titles as Daredevil (Frank Miller's) and Swamp Thing (Alan Moore's). Then, in 1986, DC released the Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint series and i started at the very beginning (#1) if not exactly from the very beginning (1972). 

Skip ahead 15 years. I'm now married. My new bride is not wholly unfamiliar with comic books and is willing to read more. I recommended a list of 8 or 10 of my favorites (including the Wein/Wrightson and the Moore/Bisette/Totleben runs of Swamp Thing), most of which she read. I had tens of thousands of comics in my collection at that time, enough to keep us busy reading and discussing for years. But she became interested in comics I didn't have, such as the post-Moore Swamp Thing as well as the complete run of Fables (which I myself still have not read). We spent the next however-many-it-was months collecting backissues of Swamp Thing plus I added those two titles to my pull & hold. 

At this point Tracy has read literally hundreds more issues of Swamp Thing than I have. We don't have every issue (she finally lost interest after the "New 52"), but we have quite a few. Ironically,  it was "Brightest Day" which reignited my own interest, so some of the more recent issues she has not read. I like to "prorate" the cost of my comics by a) reading them multiple times, or b) giving them to my wife to read. We get the best value from those comic we both read multiple times. To that end, we have decided to work our way through every issue we own from 1972 to 2018.

We recently led a discussion through every issue/series in Terry Moore's "SiP-verse" but, if we complete it, this project is more than twice as long. We invite you along for the ride. 

Wein/Wrightson - p1

Nestor Redondo - p2

The "Mopee Thing" - p3

Miscellaneous - p4

Martin Pasko - p5

Alan Moore - p8

Rick Veitch - p25

Doug Wheeler - p31

Nancy Collins - p33

Grant Morrison & Mark Millar - p37

Mark Millar - p38

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ISSUE #10: Grossman's power slams Swamp Thing to the wall, and the roots in his body grow into killer vines. Kripptman explains that both Grossman and Karen Clancy are mutants, but usually there is a "inhibitor factor" (that which "turned inward" on Grossman and changed him into a misshapen thing) to keep their powers in check. Karen Clancy was born without that inhibiting power. Currently, Kripptman reveals, "She is enroute to Munich--to find the Pendulum of Ernst Von Ruhnstedt, a magic talisman that will make her 'the Herald of the Beast'." He again proposes that they join forces against her, and introduces his team: Rachel, Samuel, Alan and Karl. The Swamp Thing refuses, resists and fights Grossman to a draw (or rather a stalemate). He reconsiders and accepts Kripptman's offer. 

Meanwhile, Kripptman's presence in Sunderland's Washington facility 36 hours earlier has been discovered. It is revealed that Ellenbeck/Grasp's life was saved by use of a "receptor." Sunderland is the only one who refers to him by his real name; everyone else in the organization uses the codename "Grasp." Sunderland maintains he was never interested in the bio-restorative formula, but used that story to attract Ellenbeck, who would have objected to being simply a "hit man." Sunderland maintains his objective all along was to kill Holland for his "client." He sends Ellenback out on the next flight to Munich.

Kripptman says that his identity as a Nazi was falsified to gain access to Sunderland's organization. He says that his objective was never him, but always the girl, and he also reveals that Sunderland's orders come directly from someone highly placed in the government. Before they leave, Liz contacts her parents because she is running out of money. Her call goes through in the midst of a private memorial service her parents are holding for her. Later, on the plane to Munich, Grossman uses his psionic powers to project an illusion of normalcy. (He is reading the Creepshow graphic novel by Stephen King and Berni Wrightson.) 

They check in to "a quaint gasthaus overlooking the charming Merienplatz." Kripptman has booked Liz and Dennis into a double room, much to Liz's chagrin. Apparently I got the wrong idea from that scene in #9, because she insists, "He's obviously got the wrong idea about us, Dennis--and you've got to straighten him out." Instead he makes a clumsy and awkward pass at her with a sloppy kiss on the mouth. At that point, they are interrupted by a scream from the next room.

Paul had been suffering from a form of traumatic amnesia due to his near-death experience at the hands of Karen Clancy. Now he has awakened from a dream with the knowledge that she is going to usher in the End Times, first by bringing about the extermination of the Jews, then of everyone. "According to what Karen conveyed to me telepathically," he now remembers, "Von Ruhnstedt was one of many occultists secretly recruited by Heinrich Himmler to aid the Third Reich after 1941. But he was imprisoned at Dachau after Hitler himself ordered all occultists purged from his inner circle." 

Apparently Von Ruhnstedt's powers were real, and their next stop is Dachau to see if they can get a line on the Pendulum. They arrive just in time to witness Karen Clancy siphoning the last of David Marx's lifeforce. she is in full-blown witch-mode now: adult, floating in the air, breathing fire from her mouth. She also uses her powers to bring Dachau back as it was during WWII, or the illusion of it, anyway... a very realistic one. She contacts the spirit of Ernst Von Ruhnstedt, who tells her that she must search for the Pendulum "in the Berchtesgaden. There dwells one who harbors a dark secret: a collection of 'mementoes' from the days of infamy. Among these you will find the Pendulum. go--and take it from that fool who scarce suspects its power!"

Karen leaves and Kripptman insists they follow, but Dennis has had about enough. He still doesn't believe Kripptman's story... until Kripptman rips off his sleeve revealing a tattoo from the concentration camp. 

ISSUE #11: This issue begins with a summary of the entire series so far. Karen finds the Pendulum, kills the current owner (Otto Mueller) and transforms his house into a Fortress of the Beast. 25 miles away, at the base of Mt. Kehlstein, Dennis gets into a fistfight with Kripptman. Swamp Thing breaks it up and Paul vouches for Kripptman. Kripptman and his team are schooled in the Cabala and use it to animate a Golem, which immediately sets out on the trail of Karen Clancy. Meanwhile, Dennis works on a cure for the Swamp Thing in his hotel room. Liz refuses to spend the night there, but I think that's only because of the smell of the chemicals because she's wearing nothing but a bathrobe. 

The Golem traces Karen Clancy to the Apres Ski Resort on the northern slope of Mt. Untersberg, where it finds her in the lodge recruiting members to her Fourth Reich. Swamp thing senses her, too, through the medallion. She destroys the Golem in a vicious fight, then takes on Swamp Thing. Grossman reanimates the Golem but Karen, outmatched, escapes. Then, sensing Karen through the medallion, the Golem attacks Swamp Thing, who tries to remove it but cannot because the roots in his skin have grown around it. 

Before they leave, Liz contacts her parents because she is running out of money. Her call goes through in the midst of a private memorial service her parents are holding for her.

"Sorry to interrupt my memorial service, but can you send me some money?"

ISSUE #12: The Swamp Thing utilizes the knowledge he gained last issue about Cabala mysticism to erase the character "aleph" from the Hebrew word "emet" (meaning "life") carved into the Golem's forehead to change it to "met" (meaning "dead") in order to defeat it. Karen briefly reappears and issues a challenge to Kripptman and his crew to meet at the synagogue of his youth. Meanwhile, in Munich, Dennis has learned that Swamp Thing has been infected by a laboratory -synthesized variant strain of e. coli that will kill him within two months if left untreated. He and Liz are definitely not sleeping together at this point, but that doesn't stop her from parading around in front of him nearly naked all the time, sending mixed signals out the wazoo. A knock comes at the door. It is Grasp (whose first name is revealed to be "Walter" BTW). they turn the tables on him, then flee to join Kripptman. Grasp, however, let them "overcome" him so that his confederate, Trace, could follow them.

Meanwhile, Kripptman and his agents have removed the locket from around the Swamp Thing's neck and have retrieved and reactivated the Golem. Then they proceed to their rendezvous with Karen Clancy at the synagogue. A vicious battle ensues, in which Kripptman's allies combine their psionic powers against Karen, but lose their lives in the process. They succeed in weakening her enough, however, that Swamp Thing can move in for the kill. They soon discover that the Golem is missing. Dennis and Liz have arrived by this time, just as a demonic entity rises from Karen's corpse and takes possession of Liz.

They pile in the car and depart, little knowing that Grasp and Trace are on the road above with a sniper rifle. "Liz" chooses this moment to attack in an attempt to wrest the locket from Kripptman. The car crashes and the demon entity switches hosts from Liz to Swamp Thing, then begins to attack Liz, which sets Dennis against Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing is able to cast the demon out, but Liz is missing. Because Liz has the locket, the Golem will be following her. Just then, the entire party (including Grasp) are transported to the Fortress of the Beast for their final conflict. 

They was an issue of The Invaders where something like that happened.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #12: The Swamp Thing utilizes the knowledge he gained last issue about Cabala mysticism to erase the character "aleph" from the Hebrew word "emet" (meaning "life") carved into the Golem's forehead to change it to "met" (meaning "dead") in order to defeat it.

ISSUE #13: The death of Karen Clancy's physical body has made the "Herald" entity even more powerful. After a brief skirmish, it disappears with Grasp in tow. Dennis and Alec and Kripptman are subjected to hallucinating of traumatic events from their pasts. During a relative lull, Dennis speculates that returning Swamp Thing to the waters of the original Louisiana bayou where he was first transformed may restore him. Then a 7-headed beast appears and the rest of the issue is one long battle scene. I'm not going to give a play-by-play, but I will say that Grasp stands revealed as the Antichrist. He is defeated, but that still leaves the threat of Sunderland back in the states. Having nowhere else to go, Kripptman decides to accompany Swamp Thing, Liz, Dennis and Paul.

ISSUES #14-15: I haven't mentioned it so far, but most have these Swamp Thing stories have been 17 pages because each issue has a Phantom Stranger back-up feature. The Phantom Stanger moves to the front of the book for this two-part fill-in by quest writer Dan Mishkin and guest artists Bo and Scott Hampton. Lip service is paid to the regular supporting cast, but this is obviously just an inventory story, probably slotted in to allow the new art team to get a leg up on their deadlines. It is mentioned that the swamp water, suffused with bio-restorative formula, has indeed regenerated the Swamp Thing's failing immune system but, like v1 #21-24 and the Challs run, these two issues are best skipped. 

ISSUE #16: With the addition of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, Swamp Thing moves one step closer to the team that will define it for years to come. The discovery of a device designed to keep people away from the tombstones of Alec and Linda Holland leads the Swamp Thing to try to exhume her her body. It is missing. Now it is time for Kripptman to come clean about what he knows about the government conspiracy concerning Alec Holland. He agrees and, to that end, they set out to "beard the lion in its den": Washington, D.C. 

They spend the night at the New Moon Motel but, by the following morning, Swamp thing feels the need to stretch his legs after having spent the night cramped in the car. He soon saves a young boy from an accident and is befriended by a woman named Ida. Ida runs a boarding house, and offers him a room. As they walk through town, no one seems to notice or react to his appearance. Ida's husband's name is Cyrus, and they have a daughter named Mallory. Mallory has a suitor named Frank. Cy used to own a costume shop and still has most of its wares in the attic. He offers Swamp Thing a "mask for the soul". He puts it on and immediately sees himself as Alec Holland. 

Meanwhile, back at the New Moon Motel, Dennis and Liz are eating breakfast in the diner, and their waitress is none other than Abigail Arcane! Time seems to pass differently at the Boarding House, however, because the next time we look in on "Alec" several days have passed. Cy and Ida have given him permission to marry Mallory, if that's what they both want. Frank objects, strenuously. He reveals to Alec that he, too, is wearing a mask and, when he removes it, he is transformed into the kind of monster Stephen Bissette draws best. Alec defeats Frank, then reveals his own true image to Mallory. It is clear now that everyone in town has a mask of his or her own.

Cyrus then reveals himself as a sort of "caretaker" of the town, and Alec's willingness to remove his mask for Mallory was part of his test. He is now deemed worthy to stay. Mallory had refused to reveal her true face, though. The twist is, she is beautiful even without her mask, inside and out. Swamp Thing walks away, changes his mind and turns back around, only to find that the town has disappeared. This is very much like one of those little "morality tales" one would expect to find in House of Mystery or House of Secrets. Very well done! (Sunderland moves into a more prominent role in this issue, too.)

ISSUE #17: The New Moon Motel is in Virginia, BTW. Abby and Alec are reunited. She is Abby Cable now, having married Matt. (A wedding photo shows Bolt as part of the wedding party.) Liz and Dennis accompany Swamp thing and Abby back to her and Matt's place. As they arrive, a monster appears and attacks Barclay by name. It can become intangible and transport. Swamp thing fights it to a draw and it flees. Miles away, Kripptman is lost in the woods. He is pursued by a helicopter and steps into a beartrap. Back at the Cables', Abby explains that such apparitions have been appearing for weeks. They find Matt inside the house in a drunken stupor. Surprisingly, Dennis seems to know Matt, but is relieved when Matt doesn't recognize him. 

Abby and Matt and Alec catch up. Matt is familiar with the Sunderland organization. Matt reveals that he was working for the D.D.I, (a division of Army Intelligence) when he was first assigned to Alec and Linda Holland. When he and Abby  thought the Swamp Thing had been destroyed in v1 #20, Matt reported to D.D.I. Director Dwight Wicker and thought that was the end of it. But Wicker wanted everyone associated with the bio-restorative project eliminated, and contacted his old mentor, retired General Avery Sunderland. It was Wicker who ordered Matt Cable to be sent to the Sunderland's Barclay Clinic for a checkup. The "checkup" included a diagnosis of delusions caused by paranoid schizophrenia and a recommendation for shock therapy. Dennis's psychiatric training is "rudimentary at best," and it was Dr. Barclay himself who through the switch. 

When Abby suggests that Dr. Barclay examine him, Matt suddenly remembers and snaps. Simultaneously, another monster suddenly attacks. They fight it off and it disappears, but Abby is injured. Swamp Thing stays with her and Matt while Dennis and Liz drive back to the motel to get his medical bag. Matt tells Swamp thing that he found out later that Sunderland and wicker had Linda's body exhumed for an autopsy. Something about the results excited Wicker, but the body was never returned to its grave. 

Back in the woods, the "helicopter" turns out to be a bio-organic dragonfly. Inside are innumerable monstrosities, including what looks like a man-size ant. The "ant" reveals itself to Kripptman to be (wait for it)... Anton Arcane!

ISSUE #18: A three-page framing sequence (two in front, 1 in back) surrounds a reprint of v1 #10 as Arcane explains to Kripptman why he hates Swamp Thing so much. Aboard bio-mechanical craft (which is a tesseract, BTW), Arcane prepares Kripptman for "metamorphosis."

ISSUE#19: (Stephen Bissette is credited as co-plotter of this issue.) For the first time, Matt realizes the the D.T.s he has been experiencing are not entirely in his mind, but are rather somehow manifesting in reality. An overturned lamp starts a fire, but Swamp thing puts it out with his body. Abby doesn't appear to be badly injured, but he carries her inside while Matt tells him more details of his fall from grace. On board Arcane's craft, he explains to Kripptman that he's been "shadowing" the Swamp Thing for some time and, when he saw Kripptman go into the woods to look for him, Arcane decided to strike. He plans to take his revenge on Swamp Thing by turning his friends into the new "insectoid" version of his un-men, and to switch bodies with him. 

On their way to get Dennis's medical bag, their truck breaks down. Liz doesn't want to be left alone while he proceeds on foot, so she picks this time to seduce him in order to selfishly keep him by her side. Back at the cabin. Arcane attacks. While Swamp Thing attempts to free Kripptman from the cocoon that is changing him into an insectoid, Arcane grabs Abby. While he is preparing to have Abby cocooned, the partially converted Kripptman chews his way out of his and disrupts the transfer. He is killed in the process, but something else happens to Arcane.

"His cinsciousness had already departed his body, and is now suspended somewhere in med-transfer--lost in a void. The mindless, lifeless hulk that slips from the metal exoskeleton is not even a thing of human flesh." Swamp Thing and Abby narrowly escape the plummeting craft as the un-men are distracted eating the body of their former leader. The issue (and Martin Pasko's tenure) ends with the Swamp Thing heading toward the wreckage to verify Arcane's death.

I must admit I am impressed with Pasko's run on this series. His first arc had lots of twists, not the least of which were the twin revelations that the Nazi villain was actually a Holocaust survivor and the innocent little girl was actually the Herald of the Beast. Toward the end, he brought back supporting characters Matt and Abby Cable as well as villain Anton Arcane. Martin Pasko has, at this point, written more issues of Swamp Thing than any other writer, including Len Wein. The series has evolved into something quite different from Wein and Wrightson's original concept but, other than those first ten issues, Pasko's is the best, longest and most consistent run of two series. 

I have finished up a day ahead of schedule, but Tracy won't have time to catch up until Saturday. (I am going to recommend that she can safely skip #14-15 if she wishes.) After that, Alan Moore ties up some "Loose Ends." 

Couldn't find a screenshot, but it was The Invaders #13.

The Baron said:

They was an issue of The Invaders where something like that happened.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #12: The Swamp Thing utilizes the knowledge he gained last issue about Cabala mysticism to erase the character "aleph" from the Hebrew word "emet" (meaning "life") carved into the Golem's forehead to change it to "met" (meaning "dead") in order to defeat it.

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