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 forgot to mention the guest appearance of a blue beetle, just not the Blue Beetle.

ISSUE #57:

The cover is an homage to that of original series #9, acknowledging the series "roots" (pun very much intended) while simultaneously indicating things would never be the same again. 

(It's not an exact copy of the pose, but "After B.W." follows the signature which informs my assessment.)

I can't believe I thought I could lead (co-lead) this discussion as well as one on Adam Strange simultaneously. My original plan had been to get to this point in both discussions at the same time. The Swamp Thing collides with the Zeta-beam, which somehow throws the language translation aspect of the beam temporarily out of whack. The use of language this issue is interesting, although "Rannian" is still very much based on the structure of English. Knowing English sentence structure (where nouns and verbs and adjectives tend to fall within sentences) and being able to pick out a few proper names here and there make it possible to translate what the characters are saying. ("Adam, are you hurt?" "He's awake. You may see him now.") Of course, Alan Moore uses words in this invented language consistently, and you can bet he's worked out an entire syntax. 

I am currently reading Fredric Wetham's Seduction of the Innocent and I cannot help but think of the chapter "Retooling for Illiteracy" in which he maintains that many-if-not-most of his patients don't read the words, anyway, but rather follow the pictures, maybe picking out a familiar word here or there, which hinders the process of learning to read. To my mind, however, this is a mark of good comic book storytelling on the part of the artist. 

It's rare we get to see Thanagarians that aren't the Hols (of course, every Rannian not named Satdath or Alannah tends to be nameless as well).

I felt like this was a well executed Adam Strange story that included a cameo by Swamp Thing. I kind of wish Moore had been able to continue it elsewhere(I'm not aware of any references to it outside of Robinson's Starman). I also think he does a great job of conveying that Rann and Thanagar are alien places. 

Conveying alien places as well as making the reader understand the these Thanagarians are not benevolent. A lot can be illustrated with a grimace or threatening posture.

Protective Water Cat Form for the win! 

I wouldn't want them to feel captive but I'd love to know a pair of intelligent water beasts. 

The only issue would be finding Thanagarians to feed them. 

Tracy of Moon-T said:

I wouldn't want them to feel captive but I'd love to know a pair of intelligent water beasts. 

There was a three-issue Adam Strange series published in 1990 (by Richard Bruning and Andy Kubert), roughly at the same time as issues #93-95 of this Swamp Thing series.

I don't think that it was ever in continuity, but it follows from the status quo established in these Swamp Thing issues and takes it to situations that we would not expect from usual Adam Strange stories.

Randy Jackson said:

It's rare we get to see Thanagarians that aren't the Hols (of course, every Rannian not named Satdath or Alannah tends to be nameless as well).

I felt like this was a well executed Adam Strange story that included a cameo by Swamp Thing. I kind of wish Moore had been able to continue it elsewhere(I'm not aware of any references to it outside of Robinson's Starman). I also think he does a great job of conveying that Rann and Thanagar are alien places. 

Randy Jackson said:

It's rare we get to see Thanagarians that aren't the Hols (of course, every Rannian not named Satdath or Alannah tends to be nameless as well).

Yet another great chapter.

The uniforms of the two hawkwomen in this reminded me of a Fred Hembeck gag from an old issue of the Comic Buyer’s Guide. I couldn’t find a pre-digitized image, so I photographed the page in the Hembeck Omnibus. It should be “magnifiable.

The Thanagarians' decline into corruption began with the Equalizer Plague (Justice League of America #117 "For I Have No Wings Yet I Must Fly!"), Hyanthis taking over, the war with Rann and the Hols' exile (Showcase #101-103) and Hawkmann battling his own people starting in World's Finest Comics #256 through these issues of Swamp Thing and then right into Shadow War of Hawkman!

Danny Horn reminds me of another potential member of the Parliament of Trees, the Bog Beast, mentioned offhandedly in his latest installment of his Superheroes Every Day blog, "The Other It" (about Theodore Sturgeon's "It").

ISSUE #58:

The original printing of "Smalsh-Yegger" #58 contained an eight-page preview of the new Spectre series by Doug Moench and Gene Colan mentioned a few pages back. The Thanagarians continue to negotiate for Zeta Beam technology. It is Swamp Thing who suggests they may intent to use it to attack Earth. Speaking of Alan Moore and his presentation of alien worlds, why wouldn't a planet in a binary system have a "second noon"? Rann is slowly dying from a nuclear war centuries ago, but it is Swamp thing, not that Thanagarians, who ultimately ends up saving it. Adam Strange agrees to deliver a message to Abby and points Swamp Thing in a direction to resolve the issue keeping him from returning to Earth. An EYKIW regarding Adam Strange's purpose on Rann is introduced as Alanna announces she is "massient."

I'm not sure how Adam's presence alone could resolve Rann's fertility issues. Unless the Ranniabs and Adam have very different ideas about relationships, his "effect" would be pretty much limited to Alannah alone. 

Not to mention, Adam is hardly treated like the "Champion of Rann" and more like a joke!

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