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Swamp Thing

Old 04-05-22, 05:54 PM
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Swamp Thing

OK, all the Alan Moore talk has brought up a lot of Swamp Thing discussion, but not much about the early Len Wein/Bernie Wrightson run, so let's discuss the entire history of the character and his different eras.

The character was created by Len Wein and given visual form by Bernie Wrightson. Their original run together, while highly acclaimed, only lasted 10 issues (11, if you count the House of Secrets introduction to Swamp Thing). Wein stayed with the title for another 3 issues before David Michelinie Gerry Conway took over the writing duties. (That's quite a bit of writing talent there!)




The original Swamp Thing title only ran for 24 issues, and even hit a point near the end where Swamp Thing was changed back to Alec Holland for a brief time. That run featured this issue, which was the first one I bought. (Who could resist a comic with this cover?)




The title was supposed to be revived in 1978, but the DC Implosion killed those plans, and the title wasn't resurrected until the 1982 Swamp Thing movie came out. This time it was under the Saga of the Swamp Thing title, written by Martin Pasko.



After about a year and a half, the title was lagging in sales, and threatened with cancellation. Writer Alan Moore was tapped to write the title as of issue 20, and was given free rein to write whatever he wanted to. Moore would completely reimagine both the character and the title, and would go on to a successful, acclaimed run.

There have been several other artists and writers who have worked on Swamp Thing since then (feel free to comment on any or all of them).


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Old 04-06-22, 02:33 PM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Anyone read any Swamp Thing past series 2? I haven't ... although I haven't been reading much of any comics since the 90s. Looks like the 3 attempts at a dedicated Swamp Thing series didn't stick around for very long. Maybe that's just how the industry is now though (if you're not one of the "superstar" characters).
Old 04-07-22, 02:19 AM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing guest appeared in CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #81-87.



Old 04-07-22, 08:47 AM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Originally Posted by will travel
Swamp Thing guest appeared in CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN #81-87.
Huh, I didn't know that. I don't think I've read, or even seen, any of the Challengers 70s issues. A quick check of the collection indicates that the last issue I have is #57 (from 1967) and I'm pretty sure I never read an issue after that. I think I'll track down those final issues (the series ended with #87) - they were drawn by Keith Giffen and written by Gerry Conway. Deadman is also featured on a few of the covers. Seems like a weird combination.
Old 04-07-22, 09:10 AM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Originally Posted by brainee
Anyone read any Swamp Thing past series 2? I haven't ... although I haven't been reading much of any comics since the 90s. Looks like the 3 attempts at a dedicated Swamp Thing series didn't stick around for very long. Maybe that's just how the industry is now though (if you're not one of the "superstar" characters).
Swamp Thing has had almost 400 issues over the decades, by some of the greatest creators in comics. The two current series are helmed by two of the top current writers.
I doubt many long-running titles have a stable of writers as good as Swamp Thing over the decades.

Len Wein
Alan Moore
Rick Veitch
Nancy Collins
Grant Morrison
Brian K Vaughan
Scott Snyder
Charles Soule
Len Wein again
Ram V
Jeff Lemire
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Old 04-07-22, 09:33 AM
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Re: Swamp Thing

I really enjoyed the Rick Veitch issues of Swamp Thing which I was buying/reading in real-time. I expected to be disappointed by anyone who attempted to pick up the series after Moore but was very pleasantly surprised by the ideas and plots that Veitch brought. It may be my favorite work of his.

I think Dough Wheeler picked up after Veitch left and I quit the book shortly after that. Outside of the 100 Page Giant issues that have come out in the past couple of years, I haven't read any Swamp Thing since. I was vaguely aware of who was writing the books over the years but I've never been interested enough to pick them up. Any particular standouts in that bunch?
Old 04-07-22, 10:25 AM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Originally Posted by ytrez
I really enjoyed the Rick Veitch issues of Swamp Thing which I was buying/reading in real-time. I expected to be disappointed by anyone who attempted to pick up the series after Moore but was very pleasantly surprised by the ideas and plots that Veitch brought. It may be my favorite work of his.
When new writers join a series, sometimes there can be a big "reset" and change in style (especially if the sales were struggling). That wasn't the case with Veitch, I think certainly helped by the fact that he worked on the book with Alan Moore. Moore had a nice wrap-up at the end, but if not for that it might be hard to tell that the series changed writers.

Sucks that Veitch left so abruptly and under such bad circumstances: For those that didn't know (here's the story from Wikipedia):

Veitch's term ended in a widely publicized creative dispute, when DC refused to publish issue #88 because of the use of Jesus as a character despite having previously approved the script, in which the Swamp Thing is revealed to be the cupbearer who offers Jesus water when he calls for it from the cross. The move was said to be made due to controversies then arising from the Martin Scorsese film The Last Temptation of Christ. Artist Michael Zulli had already partially completed the art. The move disgusted Veitch and he immediately resigned from writing. Neil Gaiman and Jamie Delano, who were originally slated to be the next writers, sympathetically declined to take up the helm.
Even though it meant losing out on Gaiman writing the book, I don't know if Sandman would've happened if he was regularly working on Swamp Thing (and I wouldn't want Sandman to not happen for a Gaiman run on Swamp Thing).

Originally Posted by ytrez
I think Dough Wheeler picked up after Veitch left and I quit the book shortly after that. Outside of the 100 Page Giant issues that have come out in the past couple of years, I haven't read any Swamp Thing since. I was vaguely aware of who was writing the books over the years but I've never been interested enough to pick them up. Any particular standouts in that bunch?
I think a lot of people left during Doug Wheeler's run It started out good (and he did a good job wrapping up Veitch's time travel story under difficult circumstances). But for me, it got too bogged down in a big mystical "green vs grey" story (that turned off a lot of people).

Nancy Collins brought a very different style, with more character development and smaller horror-themed stories. It was a big improvement over Wheeler's run, even if no where near what Moore and Veitch did.

I really liked the hard turn that Grant Morrison did (and continued with Mark Millar, going from 140 to the end). As I wrote in the Alan Moore thread, I thought it an interesting idea to gradually turn Swamp Thing into the villain of his own book (and taking you along the path how a character can go from superhero to supervillain that threatens to kill all humanity).
Old 04-07-22, 10:50 AM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Originally Posted by Trevor
Swamp Thing has had almost 400 issues over the decades, by some of the greatest creators in comics. The two current series are helmed by two of the top current writers.
I doubt many long-running titles have a stable of writers as good as Swamp Thing over the decades.

Len Wein
Alan Moore
Rick Veitch
Nancy Collins
Grant Morrison
Brian K Vaughan
Scott Snyder
Charles Soule
Len Wein again
Ram V
Jeff Lemire
You forgot Gerry Conway and David Michelinie. Two great writers.
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Old 04-07-22, 07:13 PM
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Re: Swamp Thing

Originally Posted by brainee
Even though it meant losing out on Gaiman writing the book, I don't know if Sandman would've happened if he was regularly working on Swamp Thing (and I wouldn't want Sandman to not happen for a Gaiman run on Swamp Thing).
Sandman was already being published at the time Veitch bailed on Swamp Thing.

In fact, the Sandman makes a brief appearance in Swamp Thing #84, when Matt Cable becomes Dream's Raven Matthew.



I suspect that Gaiman would have written both titles concurrently. Though that early in the run, Sandman wasn't yet a runaway hit, so it's possible that things could have shaken out differently and Gaiman might have left Sandman or the title might have been cancelledright before that Rolling Stone article came out that launched it into the mainstream.

I'd still really like to see DC publish that lost Swamp Thing issue, and maybe even allow Rick to finish his run up in a miniseries or something, but at this point, I doubt that will happen. Veitch is almost 71 now, and still hasn't finished his magnum opus The King Hell Heroica that he started in the 1980s.

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Old 04-12-22, 05:59 PM
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Re: Swamp Thing

I just got the Swamp Thing Bronze Age Collection Vol 1 today. I thought I'd give the green guy a shot. And I love Len Wein's writing, so it seemed like something worth checking out.
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