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 #139: Swamp thing has apparently withdrawn into himself again after the loss of Abby and Tefé and Lady Jane, and it is up to Black Orchid to draw him out. This issue is written by Dick Foreman and crosses over from Black Orchid #5 (which I do not have). 

This is a good spot to pause while Tracy catches up.

While we're waiting for Tracy to catch up, why not read today's Superheroes Every Day blog about the Martin Pasko issues of Saga of the Swamp Thing?

through ISSUE #132 - Abby had no right to ask him to never leave again. The entire reason she has a daughter is because ST is still the Green's protector and elemental. 

Honestly, I'm not sure if I even like Abby right now. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #132: No, the duplicate didn't actually dispute what Swamp Thing said, he simply maintains that the "true" Swamp Thing abdicated his rights to be with his family by accepting a mission from the P. of T.s. The being I have been referring to as the "duplicate" is actually a different aspect of the Swamp Thing's self, the part which values family, much like Captain Kirk's "Enemy Within." Their fight is somewhat reminiscent of v1 #20.

Meanwhile, Barron (whose first name has finally been revealed to be Ben) and Mrs. Stanley from CPS contact Officer Rawls of the Houma police department to serve papers to Abby to have Tefé removed from her custody pending a hearing in family court. Rawls is very much against this action, but he has no choice but to accompany them while they serve the papers.

Elsewhere, the effects of the Swamp Things' battle are being felt around the world: Poison Ivy in Gotham City; Black Orchid and the Floronic Man in New York; Constantine in London. Closer to home, Tefé's creations are being affected and the lettuce on Chester's former neighbor Lester Boudreaux grows in this throat and chokes him to death. In the swamp, the flora attacks the trio serving the papers and Mrs. Stanley is killed. 

Swamp Thing defeats and reabsorbs his doppleganger. Lady Jane says I told you so. Abby slaps her husband and runs back to the ouse in anger, where Mr. Barron and Officer Rawls are waiting to take Tefé away. Just then they are attacked by one of Tefé's flower creatures grown to giant size.

Lady Jane continues to be a voice of reason for ST, helping instruct him with Tefé's training. 

Abby is mad, hurt, and scared. She runs off out of the swamp, back to Chester, to leave. She does not spare a single thought of Tefé. Not one. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Old expression, actually. ;)

ISSUE #133Tefé's cration "thinks" of itself as "Thunder Petal, King of the Daisies." By page three it has killed Ben Barron (just after he was given a first name, too!). (With both the social worker and the politician dead, I wonder if that's the end of the CPS sub-plot?) Swamp Thing and Lady Jane are at first unaware of "Thunder Petal's" rampage. (I wonder, also, where the relationship between Swamp thing and Lady Jane is headed?) Back at the Sunderland corporate HQ, Dr. Polygon provides a phonetic transcript of the spell Connie Sunderland must recite to bring her dead father back to "life" (or reanimate his corpse, anyway). The procedure is "successful" (IOW, it works). 

Swamp thing is unable to defeat Thunder Petal. Lady Jane suggests letting Tefé take care of it, which she does. ("Bad flower!") Back in Houma, Chester is moving out of his place. Jo-Jo, Carl and Troy are helping him. He will be staying with Carl and Troy in New Orleans. He had hoped to see Abby one last time before he left. Then she arrives, finally fed up with her husband, and asks, "Do you have room for one more?" 

Pin-up by Paul Chadwick.

ISSUE #135 Abby rebukes Chester, then starts spending time with "Don." She still hasn't mentioned her baby. 

Lady Jane knows that Swamp Thing is grieving but reminds him of Tefé. She comforts him in the Green...leaving Tefé completely alone.

Three people who should be caring for this baby and no one is. 

Yes, Arcane is back in the living and up to his old experiments. Gross! 

Abby now looks like a version of Two-Face or Jonah Hex. The side of her face that is altered is gray, as is her hand. We did not see the gray in the earlier panels. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ISSUE #137: Picking right up where #136 left off, Arcane threatens Abby. Connie interrupts. she cannot understand what "her father" wants wit this woman. Connie is a real "daddy's girl" and we are shown flashbacks to her unhappy childhood. Also, details of Dr. Polygon's past are revealed. Polygon, now a hideously deformed un-man, has the hots for Abby. Connie threatens Abby with a scalpel, but "Daddy"/Arcane smacks her around.

Meanwhile, back in the swamp... Arcane (as Sunderland) mystically appears before Swamp Thing, Lady Jane, Tefé, Constantine and Reynard. Swamp Thing immediately recognizes Arcane for who he is. Arcane demands that Tefé be delivered to him for Abby's life, otherwise Abby will become "bride of the un-men."  Swamp thing can travel through The Green, but Tefé's ability to do so is iffy. Reynard offers his private jet. Without even having been introduced to him, Swamp Thing accepts. 

Skipping ahead a bit, Constantine, Reynard and Tefé arrive at Sunderland using the front entrance. Swamp Thing and Lady Jane enter via The Green. Arcane is guarded by Polygon and his un-men: standoff. Arcane has a cloned fetus which he wants Tefé to artificially grow to adulthood so that he may inhabit it. If she does so, the Arcane will give Abby back. Swamp Thing agrees, but only if he can see Abby first. Abby is ushered in wearing a wedding dress and veil. Swamp thing whispers in Tefé's ear and she grows the fetus to manhood. Arcane transfers his consciousness to it, and Sunderland's body collapses. He then explains to Connie that he was never her dad, that Sunderland is still in Hell. Swamp Thing draws back Abby's veil to reveal that the left side of her body has been mutated into "un-man" form.

ISSUE #138 It is no great stretch to understand why Tefé leaves with Lady Jane without a fuss. Her mother ran off and ultimately rejected her. Swamp Thing is often gone. Lady Jane has been the one raising her for months. 

Arcane has been dragged back to the demon realm with vows to return. Yippee. 

We are now up to the point at which Grant Morrison takes over as writer. Actually, #140-143 are co-written by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, after which Millar takes over solo. I've been looking forward to these issues ever since we started this project (ever since Tracy read them for the first time, actually). I was surprised to discover Morrison was on the title four only four issues. I have a memory of Tracy repeatedly shaking her fist in the air and shouting, "MORRISON!" (but that may never have happened except in my memory). In any case, I'm looking forward to reading #140 for the first time tomorrow.

(I asked Tracy if that memory was true and she replied: "Just a few minutes ago I said 'stupid f***in' Morrison' so probably.)

"I'm looking forward to reading #140 for the first time tomorrow."

Uh, better make that "Tuesday." I like these responses to be fresh off the top of my head (so I don't have to take notes), but my internet was down for 24 hours so I took a day off.


ISSUE #140: According to editor Stuart Moore, "'Bad Gumbo' is a four-part story intended to redefine Swamp Thing for the '90s." It is a faux EYKIW in which Alec Holland awakens from a three-week-long fever dream in Peru where he had been researching native plant hallucinogens. His colleagues and his own journal fill him in on what he's been up to for the last four months. The years he spent as Swamp Thing were all part of his hallucinogenic fever dream. He gets right back to work and undergoes a DMT ritual with a native shaman. 

Back in Louisiana, Abby is sleeping with someone (presumably Reynard) when she seems to hear the voice of her first husband, Matt. She awakens to find a raven at the window.

A couple named John and Lucy are crashing at Chester's place. They are sitting around naked watching television when Lucy gets violently ill. John is attacked by something that looks like the Swamp Thing, and Lucy is attacks by a swarm of flying insects.

On the letters page, Mark Millar relates the story of finding his elder neighbor's dead body, partially eaten by her dog. Then he says this: "Grant and I have messed up Alec Holland's life pretty bad, and I'm going to spend the rest of the year just making things worse. We're ditching the Louisiana Bayous for the next twelve issues, at least, and sending Holland on a terrifying odyssey halfway around the world where he confronts one of DC's oldest characters at the Heart of The Black Forest in Germany. It's really sick. I think you'll like it."

ISSUE #141: In the swamp, Gene LaBostrie is attacked by the creature that looks like Swamp Thing. It then attacks his little settlement and kills a dog, then begins to slaughter the people. Labo arrives to defend his family but is apparently beaten to death by the creature. 

In New Orleans, Abby receives a phone call, apparently from Tefé (?), who warns her that Swamp Thing is now "two daddies" and one is on its way to kill her (Abby). Reynard just thinks Abby is off her meds. On the news, they see reports of "a young new-age couple" who have been brutally murdered. Abby flees in the car to keep Don safe.

Back in Peru, Holland visits the shaman, Don Roberto, again. Roberto tells him he dreamed of a white-haired woman who was running for her life and screaming for Alec. Back at the lab, Holland takes leave of his colleagues (Michael, Ann and Lawrence, for the record), and sets out for America on foot. He arrives in a bar. the only one there who will talk to him introduces himself as "El Señor Blake," who speaks cryptically of a "soul train." A plant/insect grows out of Holland's palm and flies away. A dream-like train pulls into a dream-like station and Holland boards. 

I should also mention that the series' new regular penciler is Phil Hester. 

"Making things worse" is exactly what they did. No, I didn't like it. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:


On the letters page, Mark Millar relates the story of finding his elder neighbor's dead body, partially eaten by her dog. Then he says this: "Grant and I have messed up Alec Holland's life pretty bad, and I'm going to spend the rest of the year just making things worse. We're ditching the Louisiana Bayous for the next twelve issues, at least, and sending Holland on a terrifying odyssey halfway around the world where he confronts one of DC's oldest characters at the Heart of The Black Forest in Germany. It's really sick. I think you'll like it."

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