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 #68:

This issue tells three concurrent stories. First, the Swamp Thing is granted an audience with the Parliament of Trees; second, the lives of Abby, Chester and Liz progress; third, a terrorist attempts to car-bomb the Galaxy Communications building. At first, Chester's story is separate from Liz and Abby's, but they converge by the end. Chester is approached by Roy Raymond to put him in touch with Swamp Thing but, like Labo last issue, he refuses to cooperate. Liz is showing definite signs of improvement, taking pride in her appearance and going outside with Abby. She later has a panic attack, but Abby is able to talk her down. Abby has started to received disability checks because of her "first husband's" condition. Abby ends up giving the checks to Chester so that he may continue his environmental work. The terrorist's attack is unsuccessful, his car explodes and he ends up, on fire, diving into a polluted river. Solomon Grundy's origin lacked fire; Alan Bolland's lacks swamp. (Will the river count?) Sprout's essence is drawn to inhabit Bolland's burned body.

ISSUE #69:

Swamp Thing's audience with the Parliament of Trees continues as he is referred to a committee. Each of the committee (indeed, each of the Parliament) represents a particular "essential truth." Swamp Thing's is "duality." They refer to Swamp Thing as the "Renegade," Sprout as the "New Seed" and its new host as the "Aberration." (Rick Veitch refers to it as the "Wild Thing.") The committee's goal is to trick Swamp thing into putting down roots, but Swamp Thing ends up expelling them to the Moon. 

Meanwhile, Chester has spent some of the money Abby gave him on camping gear (for Abby, which she ultimately rejects) and a longboat for himself. When pressed, he admits to being attracted to Liz but, due to the trauma she has been through, is giving her space. Back in Metropolis, Roy Raymond and his assistant have hooked up with the "Wild Thing." They want to take a meeting with Morgan Edge, but the Aberration still considers Edge to be the Antichrist. 

ISSUE #70:

Although Constantine now has his own solo series, his presence is still very much felt in his mother title. In #70, he pays visits to eight or nine of his contacts gathering information about a near-future airline crash. All of his contacts are new (I think) except "Piggy." He also contacts Blackbriar Thorne via a cheap medium. [NOTE to Tracy: Because the referenced scene is not footnoted, I'll point out that it's from DC Comics Presents #66.]

The practical upshot of his investigation is that he discovers the plane crash will occur in Slaughter Swamp.

This issue's story is presented in double-page tiers, alternating mainly between Constantine's story and Swamp Thing's (and Abby's), with bits of Chester and Liz's thrown in at the beginning and end. Liz has relapsed a bit after Abby's departure to live permanently in the swamp. Chester pointedly asks her if it's all right for him to leave his old typewriter in her room. He also leaves behind a stack of blank paper. 

If #60 was the "weird art" issue, I feel confident in referring to #70 as the "weird sex" issue. I'm not going to describe it, but it ends with Abby clearly "impregnating" Swamp Thing. All three story threads come together at the end, with Constantine arriving just after conception to tell them about the impending plane crash. There was no mention of the "Wild Thing" this issue, but I may have been mistaken in my interpretation that Sprout provided its lifeforce. This issue indicates that Sprout's essence is hidden in Chester's pot garden. In the background, Liz is typing away.

Reading these along with Jeff is interesting because he picks up on different hints and such. Constantine's search for information isn't as interesting as it could be.

I saw the following panel and again thought how similar these comments are to what's happening in today's world.

ISSUE #71:

This issue is told primarily from the point of view of the man destined to become the new swamp elemental. His name is Gary Holland (yes, "Holland"), but we don't find that out until three quarters of the way into the story. He is basically a businessman who is assigned to take a flight at the last minute, on the plane that has been destined to crash. His life brushes against the other main characters' throughout the story to one degree or another. For example, on the way to the airport his cab passes the limo in which "Wild Thing" is terrorizing with Roy Raymond and his assistant. All (or most) of the plot threads come together at the end of the issue.

Constantine continues his negotiations with his contacts, specifically Piggy and Dogbum. [I feel as if I'm supposed to know "Dogbum," but minutes of internet research (as Bob would say) have yielded no results.] The Swamp Thing travels to the moon, where he has stashed Sprout in a piece of lichen clinging to the undercarriage of the Apollo landing module. [I don't know why I'm having such a difficult time following this story. I thought he exiled the Parliament's "committee" to the moon; I thought Sprout became "Wild Thing"; I thought Sprout was hidden in Chester's garden. I'm enjoying Veitch's run, I'm just not following it.] The Sprout/New Seed is becoming mentally unstable after two botched regenerations (which the Swamp Thing aborted when he saw they were going wrong). 

The plane crashes as expected, but the Swamp Thing was diverted from his mission to deliver the Sprout's consciousness by ushering the dead souls on to whatever's next, so Gary Holland does not become the next elemental after all.

This issue is a lot of running around, getting nowhere. It is building to something better though. 

I forgot to mention that issues #71-76 are collected in a tpb titled "Spontaneous Regenesis."

ISSUE #72:

We learn a little bit more about the Parliament's "committee" this issue (although not, exactly, what Swamp thing did to/with them). Just as Swamp Thing's "essential truth" is Duality, those of the committee are Fertility, Industry, Alienation and Realization. for the trivia-minded among us (myself included), they were previously know (respectively) as Bog Venus, Kettle Hole Devil, Saint Columba and Ghost Hiding in the Bushes.

I'm pretty sure the use of the sound effect "flick" used suggestively throughout this issue is intentional.

Roy Raymond and his assistant have been trapped in their limo and terrorized Wild Thing for seven days.

This issue's potential candidate to receive Sprout's consciousness is Alden Hollandaise, but Constantine puts the kibosh on this one.

Sunderland's body is revealed frozen in the subbasement of his own building.

This issue uses experimental layouts (spirals, zig-zags, etc.). The reader's eye is led flawlessly in the right direction by the captions, a perfect melding of words and pictures. 

This issue was visually appealing with its literal turns and maze. 

Oh, so it is in #72 that Sunderland is revealed to be frozen?

That turned up once in John Ostrander's Firestorm.  I don't think it was followed on, but I vividly remember that bit.

Still following the discussion. I only have the Alan Moore TPBs.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #72:

I'm pretty sure the use of the sound effect "flick" used suggestively throughout this issue is intentional.

It wasn’t mentioned in the Code, but according to things I’ve read this word wasn’t allowed because the block lettering might look like a certain other word.

Roy Raymond and his assistant have been trapped in their limo and terrorized Wild Thing for seven days.

Seven days? Did they address the lack of bathroom facilities along with the starvation and thirst?

Yes, there is a fluid sludge in the bottom of the car between the back seats. Roy loses his dentures in the morass and decides not to put them back in his mouth. 

Richard Willis said:

Still following the discussion. I only have the Alan Moore TPBs.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #72:

I'm pretty sure the use of the sound effect "flick" used suggestively throughout this issue is intentional.

It wasn’t mentioned in the Code, but according to things I’ve read this word wasn’t allowed because the block lettering might look like a certain other word.

Roy Raymond and his assistant have been trapped in their limo and terrorized Wild Thing for seven days.

Seven days? Did they address the lack of bathroom facilities along with the starvation and thirst?

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