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 #78:

While Abby naps, Swamp Thing contemplates his mortality. While she is sleeping, he enters into her dream and they "swap bodies" in that unique way they do. Abby's consciousness seeks out Alec Holland, and they witness the birth of Linda's reincarnated soul (into the body of a boy this time). Meanwhile, microscopically, Swamp Thing travels inside Abby's body to her uterus, where he "communes" with their child in her womb. 

They both return to their own bodies at the same time, but Swamp Thing has manifested in a distinctly female body... and not only that, but an apparently pregnant female body. He is undergoing a form of "sympathetic pregnancy" triggered by empathic emulation of Abby's body. This is the way is body has unconsciously chosen to manifest this time: by giving birth to himself. Taken together (or even separatly), both of the stories virtually define "gender fluidity."

A new interview with Stephen Bissette about his career and new work:

INTERVIEW: Stephen Bissette talks long career, new work, and more (...

Thanks for the link!

I forgot to mention that #78 was guest-written by Bissette (and guest-"arted" by Mandrake and Alcala). 

ISSUE #79:

Rick Veitch has returned and, as you can tell by the cover, so has Superman.

Here's the set-up: the DDI's involvement in the Iran/Contra affair has come to light, forcing the shadow agency to close its doors and purge its files. Swamp Thing taps into the files as they are being deleted, however, and learns that Lex Luthor was the inventor of the weapon which banished him to space. Meanwhile, Superman is overdue at a press conference atop the roof of the Daily Planet. this story Gives Veitch the opportunity to show what a variety of characters think about Superman, while he's trying to stave off an attack on Luthor by the Swamp Thing and to maintain his secret identity at the same time. The depiction of Lex  Luthor as a sexual predator who victimizes his own employees is a bit out of character, I think. In the end, Superman basically convinces Swamp Thing to leave Luthor to him. Swamp thing agrees.

Early post-Crisis Luthor was often depicted as such. Superman Vol. 2 #2, published almost two years earlier, was a particularly clear example of that rotten side of Luthor.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #79:(...) The depiction of Lex  Luthor as a sexual predator who victimizes his own employees is a bit out of character, I think. 

Oh, yeah. I remember that now.

ISSUE #80:

The story begins with Swamp Thing and Abby arranging furniture in the baby's nursery, but he does so in his own unique fashion. He forms himself into the desired piece (a rocking chair, a crib) then vacates it leaving his husk behind as a piece of furniture. Abby is apprehensive that, now that everything is going fine, something will go wrong. He says he really should visit the Parliament of Trees to inform them that the "crisis of succession" has been resolved. He does and they accept the resolution, but warn him of an impending invasion in which he will be destroyed. He returns home to find Abby away in Houma. He decides to fashion two wedding rings and leave one behind while he investigates the Parliament's warning. Just then he is attacked by the aliens' "matrix disruptor" while in his astral form. Abby returns to find their tree home destroyed. 

ISSUE #81:

Swamp Thing and Abby engage in some weird foreplay, but then she wakes up and realizes it was a dream. The widow of the alien from v1 #9 arrives on a mission to kidnap Abby, but she wasn't told the exact nature of the mission. (The Dominators want to neutralize the threat of the baby Abby is carrying.) When she finds out that Abby is pregnant, the alien reveals that is is a mother, too, and shown Abby her unhatched egg. Although the alien, Widowsweed, tells Abby that Swamp Thing is dead, Abby refuses to believe. Widowsweed recovers her husbands body and departs in peace. Elsewhere, Roy Raymond recovers from extensive cosmetic surgery, apparently none the worse for wear after his horrific experience. Just then, news of the alien invasion breaks from Australia. Back in the swamp. Green Lantern (but not the one from #61) arrives looking for the Swamp Thing to enlist his aid in fighting off the invasion. When he sees the alien ship depart, he blasts it from the sky killing all aboard. Abby finds the ring her husband left her and puts her faith in that, believing he is alive and will return despite what she has been told. 

That would be Guy Gardner IIRC.

Kee-rect! (Just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention.) 

ISSUE #82:

The Swamp thing had nowhere to turn, but not nowhen. He awakens in the body of a recently killed WWII soldier, Alex Holland. Sgt. Rock of Easy Co. nicknames him "Lazarus." We find Anton Arcane an officer on the side of the Nazis. Swamp Thing thwarts his plans and Arcane is gored by a bull but his body disappears. the medic who had been working alongside Rock and "Lazarus" all along turns out to be the Unknown Soldier (the first "Unknown Soldier" story I have ever read, I think). In the epilogue, the Floronic Man (now called "Floro") had been searching for Swamp Thing in the Green but could find no trace of him. As a courtesy, he visits Abby in the swamp to tell her the news but she refuses to accept that he is dead.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #82:

The Swamp thing had nowhere to turn, but not nowhen. He awakens in the body of a recently killed WWII soldier, Alex Holland. Sgt. Rock of Easy Co. nicknames him "Lazarus." We find Anton Arcane an officer on the side of the Nazis. Swamp Thing thwarts his plans and Arcane is gored by a bull but his body disappears. the medic who had been working alongside Rock and "Lazarus" all along turns out to be the Unknown Soldier (the first "Unknown Soldier" story I have ever read, I think). In the epilogue, the Floronic Man (now called "Floro") had been searching for Swamp Thing in the Green but could find no trace of him. As a courtesy, he visits Abby in the swamp to tell her the news but she refuses to accept that he is dead.

Of course, the Sgt. Rock fan in me loved the heck out of this story. I especially liked his slightly different take on the Combat-Happy Joes of Easy Company, in that they were war-weary* and on the edge of mutiny or desertion, and Rock kept them going through sheer force of will. 

* Back then, the 12-month "tour of duty" hadn't been established; you got to go home only if you got killed, got too maimed or wounded to continue, or won the war ... whichever came first.

Combat-Happy is an oxymoron.

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