Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

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SWAMP THING #22-24: Now that Alan Moore has dispensed with tying up loose ends and completely redefining the title character, his run gets well and properly under way. “Swamped” begins with the Swamp Thing withdrawn into a vegetative state (no pun intended) due to the revelation of “The Anatomy Lesson.” The story begins with a striking splash page of Swamp Thing rooted to the ground with rainwater filling his eye sockets. I have this story both in color as well as reproduced in black & white on glossy paper. Seeing the detail of the artwork in b&w makes it hard to imagine color doing it justice, yet seeing it expertly colored makes it hard to picture it without.

Issue #22 includes a dream sequence that is more like a real dream than any dream sequence I’ve ever seen in comics before. Like #22, #23 has a memorable full-page panel, this one of Swamp Thing uprooting himself from the ground. The three-parter concludes with another full-page panel of the Swamp Thing standing with arms akimbo in the sunshine, having come to terms with his new state. From here on out, Swamp Thing will be drawn less like a glop of mud and more like a mass of broccoli.

The story concerns Jason Woodrue, a.k.a. obscure Silver age villain the Floronic Man, hired by the Sunderland Corporation to study the Swamp Thing, but now out of control. The Justice League is aware of the situation, but stay in the background mainly, allowing the Swamp Thing to handle it. Moore’s description of the JLA, the “Overpeople” as he calls them, is quite distinctive. For example: “There is a man who moves so fast that his life is an endless gallery of statues.”

I will also mention at this point that Tracy and I continue to watch the TV show on DVD. I was curious to see the two movies for the first time, but Tracy decided to order the TV show as well… and has regretted it ever since. It’s not bad, but it’s not particularly good, either. The episodes are a half hour long, and quite similar in style to the half hour live action Superboy TV show. Having the entirety of Alan Moore’s run to draw upon at the time it was made, the Swamp Thing TV show could have been a whole lot better. The best part about it is the suit.

Still working my way through old Spider-Man stories. Pete just went to London and fought terrorists.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

The story concerns Jason Woodrue, a.k.a. obscure Silver age villain the Floronic Man, hired by the Sunderland Corporation to study the Swamp Thing, but now out of control.

I don't know he was obscure at the time. He didn't become a plant man until his Bronze Age return in the GL back-up story in The Flash #245-#246, but after that he was used as a member of the SSoSV from Secret Society of Super-Villains #11 and appeared in both of their Justice League of America stories.

“I don't know he was obscure at the time.”

Well, obscure to me.

“Pete just went to London and fought terrorists.”

REJECTED RETCON: Gwen Stacy had already had an affair with Norman Osborne by this point and flew to London to have her twins while staying at her uncle’s. Is that still even in continuity? (Marvel’s, I mean; it’s definitely not in mine.)

REJECTED RETCON: Gwen Stacy had already had an affair with Norman Osborne by this point and flew to London to have her twins while staying at her uncle’s. Is that still even in continuity? (Marvel’s, I mean; it’s definitely not in mine.)

Dunno if it's still in continuity, but it doesn't make a lick of sense in terms of the original stories.

Bowery Boys: Our Fathers by Cory Levine, Ian Bertram, and Brent McKee. It was interesting (and only geographically connected to the later comedy spin-off of the Dead End Kids), but it doesn't make me want to read future stories, particularly. Interesting artwork.

Jason Woodrue was the bad guy (pre-Floronic) in The Atom's first issue of his own magazine. Note the absence of the number "1" on the cover, the opposite of today's thinking.

“Dunno if it's still in continuity, but it doesn't make a lick of sense in terms of the original stories.”

Don’t I know it. When the story about Gwen’s infidelity came pout a couple of years ago and was placed at this point in continuity, I re-read those issues. I can just imagine the story conference.

“Note the absence of the number "1" on the cover, the opposite of today's thinking.”

Apropos that, a couple of years ago I was trying to track down a discussion of this practice… by somebody, somewhere… in which the perceived consumer was described as “the smart kid,” as in, “The smart kid is going to spend his 12 cents on a proven quantity with a track record.” I may have read it in a book (or introduction to a book), or an article (say, in CBG) or essay or something like that. I wanna say it was something Mark Evanier wrote, but I couldn’t swear to it. I never did find the source. Sound familiar to anyone?

Here’s something else I meant to say about Swamp Thing #22 yesterday.

Whenever I read one of these things it makes me think of the other.

“Sunset over Houma.the rains have stopped. Clouds like plugs of bloodied cotton wool dab ineffectually at the slashed wrists of the sky.”

—Alan Moore, Swamp Thing #22

“I've also grown weary of reading about clouds in a book. Doesn't this p*ss you off? You're reading a nice story, and suddenly the writer has to stop and describe the clouds. Who cares? I'll bet you anything I can write a decent novel, with a good, entertaining story, and never once mention the clouds. Really! Every book you read, if there's an outdoor scene, an open window, or even a door slightly ajar, the writer has to say, ‘As Bo and Velma walked along the shore, the clouds hung ponderously on the horizon like steel-gray, loosely formed gorilla t*rds.’ I'm not interested. Skip the clouds and get to the f**king. The only story I know of where clouds were important was Noah's Ark.”

—George Carlin, Braindroppings

I associate that remark with Julius Schwartz in reference to picking up the numbering of the original Flash series when the Silver Age Flash received his solo title in 1958. Julie and associates thought the higher numbering, implying a long running title, would appeal more to kids.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“Note the absence of the number "1" on the cover, the opposite of today's thinking.”

Apropos that, a couple of years ago I was trying to track down a discussion of this practice… by somebody, somewhere… in which the perceived consumer was described as “the smart kid,” as in, “The smart kid is going to spend his 12 cents on a proven quantity with a track record.” I may have read it in a book (or introduction to a book), or an article (say, in CBG) or essay or something like that. I wanna say it was something Mark Evanier wrote, but I couldn’t swear to it. I never did find the source. Sound familiar to anyone?

Yes, Julius Schwartz is a distinct possibility (it may have been Evanier paraphrasing Schwartz), but what's the source of the quote?

WONDER WOMAN (of EARTH-N): The movie William Marsdon and the Wonder Women put me in the mood to read some Marsdon/Peters Wonder Woman comics, but I’m not ready to undertake such a large project as reading the DC Archives at this time. I settled on reading a collection of the short-lived newspaper strip, collected by IDW complete in one volume. It was quite entertaining, but the themes of bandage and submission were not quite so heavy-handed as they were in the comic books.

It begins with a bit of somewhat awkward storytelling with Wonder Woman already on the scene in Washington, D.C., saving people from a burning apartment building. A newspaper editor is hot for the story. He ends up hospitalized with Diana Prince as his nurse. At one point, Diana gives him a parchment supposedly given to her by Wonder Woman, which relates her origin. When the origin gets to the point at which Diana leaves Paradise Island for “man’s world” we are told that that’s the end of the parchment. The story then continues from where the parchment leaves off, but the it never returns to the newspaper editor in the hospital.

We also get the “secret origin” of Etta Candy, which I don’t recall from the comic books. She is a skinny girl, in the hospital for malnutrition. Wonder Woman, a medical doctor in this version, diagnoses a sugar deficiency. Rather than giving her an IV drip of sucrose or something, she buys her a ten pound box of chocolates, which causes her to balloon up into the chubby figure we all know.

The art changes about the third of the way in, then changes back. I at first attributed the change in art to a possible change in assistants, but I know think H.G. Peter was using a 1940s version of “zipatone” or some other similar technique. This collection is a pretty good random sample of Golden Age Wonder Woman storytelling, complete with origin.

I found a reference for the Flash numbering question and the unnumbered Atom number one. On page 88 of the book Man of Two Worlds, by Julius Schwartz and Brian M. Thomsen,

Irwin Donenfeld is quoted as saying:

"If you go to a newsstand, you see hundreds of titles on display. If you are looking at two of them side-by-side and one said number one, and one said number one hundred and four, which is a kid going to spend his hard-earned dime on? If the kid is smart, it will obviously be number one hundred and four and not an unknown number one because any comic that has gone that long must be worth reading." (punctuation as in the book)

I think that's it!

I don't know where I saw it, though, because I have never read Man of Two Worlds.

Thanks a lot, Richard!

(Now if I could only remember why I wanted it in the first place.)

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