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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I knew one named Velvet Bush. 

ClarkKent_DC said:

Richard Willis said:

* I actually knew a woman named Treasure years ago.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I knew one named Princess.

I knew one named Crystal Cleer.

Evidence of his change but a last act of mercy and tribute for the bird as well. Having read all the issues necessary for me to get caught up, this scene was similar to the bird full of bugs. Swamp Thing could do nothing for that first bird, or Matt either. However, he could give Alec peace with a burial and the dying bird peace as well. 

Randy Jackson said:

I personally found the story of these two issues not to be very interesting, but what I did really lije were the discussions between Abby and Alec, particularly about his evolution and how it was bothering her. Absorbing the dead bird into his body was a further illustration of just how he was changing. 

"I knew one named Velvet Bush."

Heh. Sounds like a James Bond Girl. Tracy read 24 issues today as well as the discussion up to this point and she's embarrassed that this is the point she chose to comment on. She also said she didn't want to break the flow with comments on issues we already discussed, but she's all caught up now. 

Yeah, 'cause we never break the flow of threads on this board!

Jeff of Earth-J said:

She also said she didn't want to break the flow with comments on issues we already discussed, but she's all caught up now. 

The very last scene of the last issue (#171) of this volume of Swamp Thing also involves a bird, probably in direct reference to either the scene in the Etrigan three-parter or that in #41.

Tracy is not only caught up but she's reading ahead (currently through #47) so that, should I feel the need to post about more than a single issue per day, she will be able to comment without "breaking the flow" of the discussion. :) With this being a three-day weekend, she should be able to pull even further ahead by Tuesday. Today's issue is basically a "one off."

ISSUE #43:

This issue introduces aging hippie Chester Williams, later destined to become a supporting character. In this story, chester finds one of Swamp Thing's tubers in the swamp which he cuts into thirds. He gives pieces to his friends Dave and Milo  who experience vastly different results. Dave's wife, Sandy, is dying of cancer, and her portion helps her come to terms with her impending death. Milo Flynn's experience, however, was vastly different. Chester concludes that the hallucinogenic effects of the tubers vary depending on the person him- or herself. He ultimately decides not to risk eating his third.

Incidentally, #43 is the last issue to be reprinted in Essential Vertigo: Swamp Thing (#24), but I did go back and check #23 (which reprinted the Archie Goodwin cameo in #42), and sure enough, editor Jenny Lee drew specific attention to it on the letters page. Speaking of letters pages, #40's story ("The Curse") inspired enough letters to fill two, those of #45 and #46. In fact, comic writer Mindy Newell was given a little more than two columns of text to address the problems she had with the story, and Alan Moore took a bit more than that in response. Most of the objections stemmed from a misinterpretation  Moore's message; he was not advocating suicide as being a viable option. 

Both Dave and Milo come to Chester because he used to keep drugs on hand. Since he's trying to get clean, he doesn't have anything to ease Sandy's pain or give Milo a high. Sandy's piece was freely given, and she experiences something like Abby. Milo stole his piece and experienced painful memories of earlier ST adventures. He is hit by a bus and in his mind, the driver is Arcane.

I think Chester's theory is probably a good one but I would add that the person's intent plays a part. 

ISSUE #43:

Tracy of Moon-T said:

Both Dave and Milo come to Chester because he used to keep drugs on hand. Since he's trying to get clean, he doesn't have anything to ease Sandy's pain or give Milo a high. Sandy's piece was freely given, and she experiences something like Abby. Milo stole his piece and experienced painful memories of earlier ST adventures. He is hit by a bus and in his mind, the driver is Arcane.

I think Chester's theory is probably a good one but I would add that the person's intent plays a part. 

On page 17 Milo is remembering:

“In Jersey, I sold junk cut with rat poison. In Arkansas, I pushed Juliette downstairs so she miscarried”

He took the tuber slice when he knew he couldn’t (or lied that he couldn’t) pay for it. He did that because he was a truly bad person, as his recollections confirm. Chester’s theory was on the nose.

ISSUE #44:

The issue opens with a two-page comic scene of Swamp Thing entering Abby's apartment, unannounced and unexpected, via the bathroom basin, and Abby greeting him with a plunger. The sound effects are very "Don Martin", right down to the very last "wein!" Constantine has backed off from Swamp Thing for the time being, but only because his recent activities have brought him to Constantine's enemies' attention, anyway. Instead, Constantine recruits Steve (Mento) Dayton to his cause, and they both encounter Batman. In a nice call-back to the Silver Age, Constantine reminds Batman that he attended Mento's wedding.* 

This issue could be classified as a "red skies" crossover (because there is one panel of red skies), but there's no "Crisis Crossover" banner label, so I'll let it pass.

The main story centers on the "Bogeyman" serial killer, who remembers the eyes of all of his 165 victims by number. He would not have been out of place in Neil Gaiman's "Cereal Convention" had he survived his encounter with Swamp Thing.

At the end of the issue, Constantine gives Swamp Thing his latest "assignment" via Abby.

*Karen Berger did not provide a footnote so, for Tracy's sake, I will point out that Mento's wedding to Elasti-Girl was in Doom Patrol #104 (and there's Batman, right on the cover). 

There are a few lighthearted panels where Abby tries to keep ST on the newspapers she's put down to protect the carpet. 

The bogeyman reminded me of a James Ellroy novel, Killer On The Road in the way he talked about his victims. Given it came out in '86, I wonder if there was any influence. 

I found the exchange between Batman and Constantine to be pretty funny:

"You citizens should clear the area." 

"No worries Chief, this is Mento." 

"Oh, I don't remember you, but carry on."

Steve Dayton aka Mento was also appearing in New Teen Titans as he was Gar Logan/Beast Boy/Changeling's adopted father. There were some problems tying all his appearances together. This would happen again very soon with other characters guesting in Swamp Thing.

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