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Look, I did my best to avoid spoilers.

§ September 19th, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing § 9 Comments

So there I was, reading Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 via the DC Universe streaming service app, as one does. And I gotta say, those pages look pretty good on a 50-inch hi-def TV…the colors really pop, the linework is nice and clear, it looks great even to my aging eyes.

But as previously established, there I was, reading that issue, when I noticed something a little unusual about this panel:

“Hold on,” I said to myself, out loud, like a character in a comic book,”those feet are missing the ‘color hold’ images representing the kicking of the feet as [REDACTED] Suffocates in [ALSO REDACTED]’s mossy chest,” which you can see here in the printed original:from late ’83/early ’84:

I noticed another color-held image earlier in the book made it through to the digital version fine, but just thought this was a Thing of Note™. Still, nice to see the art all blown up big ‘n’ stuff.

EDIT: As per BobH’s comment…yes, the online version of #24 does leave out the last line from the last page.

images from Saga of Swamp Thing #21 (February 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben

Geeking out.

§ August 17th, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

So I just spent a lot of my bloggin’ time going through issue after issue of Swamp Thing comics, scouring the letters pages for a specific missive. Alas, still haven’t found what I’m looking for, but I did come across this letter in Swamp Thing #72 (May 1988) inquiring after infamous DC character Brother Power the Geek and his possible connection to ol’ Swampy:

And that was the definitive answer until Swamp Thing Annual #5 (by Neil Gaiman, Richard Piers Rayner, et al.) in, um, 1989, guest-starring you-know-who:

…where said The Geek was runnin’ around and wreaking accidental havok and basically evidencing abilities similar to Swamp Thing’s. In fact, one of Earth’s previous plant elementals shows up to explain:

So there you have it, Mr. Letter Writer from 1988. That annual from the far-flung future of 1989 tells you that yes indeed, the process was in motion to create a Hippie Elemental but was interrupted. Ah well, these things happen.

Also, while looking through all these Swamp Thing comics, this particular idea came to mind, so of course I put it on Twitter:

I think we can all agree this is something that should happen.

I’ve typed an awful lot over the last couple of weeks…

§ July 25th, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

…so today I’ll just remind you to head to your local comics emporium and pick up this week’s new release of Scooby-Doo Team-Up #40, guest-starring Swamp Thing:

That is indeed Swamp Thing, cute little pug nose an’ all. (Why, that makes my Twitter avatar almost canon!) Anyway, this issue will make you long-time Swampy fans very happy, I think.

Also look for Swamp Thing in this week’s debut of Justice League Dark as well! Two covers to choose from, both prominently featuring that muck-encrusted mockery of a man. (Or be like me…don’t choose, just get ’em both!)

You don’t know how many times I typed “Sting” as “String.”

§ June 20th, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing § 9 Comments

So this kind of blew my mind: Sting to write introduction to John Constantine anniversary hardcover.

The surprising element is that Constantine’s creation in Swamp Thing was inspired by artists Steve Bissette and John Totleben’s desire to drawn a character based on Sting. Now, for whatever reason, based on nothing in particular, I’d always half-believed that DC downplayed that particular connection to avoid any…legal shenanigans, perhaps. I don’t know. That’s probably part of the reason why this came as such a surprise to me. (The other reason was thinking Sting’s response would be “They based a WHAT on me? They want me to do WHAT? Get outta here.”)

But nope, there it is, officially announced by DC Comics. And if you click on that first link, you’ll see an actual honest-to-goodness video of Mr. Sting speaking about the occasion, dressed like Constantine. I mean, if only that could have been our movie version of John, right?

Anyway, the most shocking element of said video is his pronunciation of “Constantine” — as the dreaded “Constan-TEEN.” You maybe remember my longstanding losing battle against this, starting way back when with this here Swamp Thing panel:

…but, man, that’s it. I admit defeat. If Sting says it that way, then, you know, that’s just how it’s going to be. MY WAR IS OVER.

A Progressive Ruin Breaking News Alert!

§ May 3rd, 2018 § Filed under swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

A live-action Swamp Thing TV show is coming to the DC Universe digital steaming app-thingie-whatever:

This article gives a pretty good overview on what’s going on, though the paragraph regarding the character’s comics history in the ’70s and ’80s appears to be garbled a bit. Also, the article notes that the show going to series depends on the how good the initial script is, so it’s not 100% a for-sure thing, I guess? Anyway, from the brief description given there, it sounds like they’re conflating Abby Arcane with Alec’s wife Linda Holland to, I don’t know, simplify the set-up of the series? Get to the romantic tension right away without contending with the whole “dead wife” thing? To save costs by reducing the number of actors in that pilot episode? I say “pilot,” assuming they don’t go all Netflix on us and take an entire season to approximate the original property. (“SEASON ONE ENDING CLIFFHANGER: Will Alec survive the lab’s explosion?”)

Well, not that I need another streaming TV service or anything, but DC played dirty pool and now actually have me considering dropping the dough on this. Not that they’ve said how much dough will be required…hopefully more towards about $6 or $7 a month, and not something stupid like $25 a month, $275 for a year – that’s one free month! We’ll see.

In other Swamp Thing media news: what’s that Dave Sim character up to nowadays?

And to be honest, I’m not 100% sure of “1,006.”

§ April 18th, 2018 § Filed under dc comics, nancy, retailing, superman, swamp thing § 9 Comments

Yes, it’s Action Comics #1000 week, marking the 1,006th issue of that series, including issues #0 and #1,000,000 from the pre-New 52 series, the second New 52 #0, those four lenticular issues #23.1-23.4, and am I forgetting something else? Yeah, probably, but here we are, a Superman comic with #1,000 on the cover, which ain’t nothin’ to sneeze at. I’ve taken a copy home (as promised, the version with Mike Allred’s 1960s tribute cover) and I’ve read it…it’s a nice anthology book, with little space wasted. And yes, the red trunks are back, in every tale in this issue, though their return is never really explained. It is commented upon in the Bendis story, using a variation of a joke I made here and I’m sure was made by everyone else on the planet as well. I hope they never explain it, any more than “eh, I just felt like puttin’ ’em back on. LEMME HAVE MY SPACE PANTS.”

Now, beyond the content, I’m just worried about how it’s going to sell. I won’t go into it all again (that first link above has more detail, if you’re interested) but I ordered what I think should be plenty. I filled the large number of preorders I had, and now, assuming the normal level of extra interest this would attract amongst my regular customer base, I should have enough, unless everyone decides that they have to have the same specific variant cover and shun the other nine covers…then I might have a problem. Or if there’s a news story extolling readers/viewers “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO OUT AND BUY THIS COMIC,” in which case I’m totally not prepared. Well, we’ll see. Hopefully reorders will be available if necessary, because a $7.99 price point is a bit too high a price point to be taking a lot of ordering risks.

• • •

Oh, hey, I guess Steven Spielberg is finally going to be making a Blackhawk movie. Pretty sure he first made some noise about this in…the early 1980s, I think? And while I said on the Twitters that I’m hoping for some War Wheel action, I think you’ll all agree with me that what we really want from a Blackhawk film is WEIRD MUMMY INSECTS:

I mean, do you want Just Another World War II movie, or do you want that? Or this? You’re reading this site, I think I can guess your answer. Or your other answer.

• • •

So a while back I was told a new creator took over the Nancy comic strip, and when I looked then it didn’t do anything for me…but it’s starting to grow on me. I think it’s improving, actually, and this nicely Bushmiller-esque strip from the other day has been making the rounds. Granted, there’s something unnatural about Nancy and Sluggo referencing the internet, but then most of Nancy and Sluggo’s world is nightmarishly unnatural, so, you know, what else is new?

• • •

Oh, almost forgot to mention…Swamp Thing will be appeared in Scooby-Doo Team-Up #40 this July:

My Swamp Thing love is so strong, the actual editor of the comic made sure I heard the news back in January. I am genuinely excited about this.

Remember when my Swamp Thing posts were all like “HEY, SWAMP THING’S HAND IS IN AN ISSUE OF INFINITE CRISIS.”

§ March 26th, 2018 § Filed under justice league, pal plugging, swamp thing, television § 4 Comments

An Addendumdedumdum to My Most Recent Post: it is now The Future, so I may now reveal the truth behind that No-Prize. It is, in fact, a No-No-Prize, a simulacrum, a deliberate reconstruction of what how a No-Prize may have appeared, constructed by a friend (not Rob, as previously theorized) who shall go nameless here lest Stan the Man himself call down the Merry Marvel Marching Society upon him for such perilous perfidy. Anyway, said friend assembled the pics, slapped ’em on envelopes, and sent them to me and at least one other person just for laffs. YOU GOT ME, FRIEND I AM PROTECTING FROM THE MARVEL ZOMBIE HORDE.

• • •

So the only comic news this week is the revelation that Swamp Thing is returning to the funnybook pages (like, again…he’s always up to something, somewhere, since he’s come back to the regular DC Universe). He’s going to be a member of the revived Justice League Dark title, along with Zatanna and Detective Chimp, as God intended:

…yeah, that’s a new look for him. Saw someone on Twitter (can’t remember who, now) commenting that he’s basically been made to look like Alan Moore, which, okay, that’s kind of funny. Anyway, I’m looking forward to this and the other dozen or so new Justice League titles DC is releasing in the wake of that movie’s success.

• • •

What’s that? You want more Swamp Thing news, you say? Well, you’ve come to probably the right place, as there are a couple of new toys, or at least new to me, that just came to my awareness thanks to being pointed out by pals on the Twitter (and images for which I “borrowed” from this good person’s Twitter feed. First up is one based on the Justice League Action animated series appearing on a Cartoon Network near you.

And then this second one is from the “DC Super Friends” line:

Interesting that both feature Swamp Thing with his traditional weapon of choice, the Huge-Ass Club. Anyway, I suppose I’ll have to track these down, too, even though I’m trying to buy less doodads and tchotchkes but there’s always the Swamp Thing Exception Clause in my life contract as I pass through the other end of middle age.

• • •

Here’s a thing I somehow missed back in the toy stores of yore, but now reproduced in the new popular digital format all you kids are into: the handheld Swamp Thing game from Tiger Electronics, in all its emulated glory.

Anyway, while all you nerds are playing your funnybook game, I’ll be over here playing this manly sportsman-like Electronic Quarterback from Coleco (which, all kidding aside, I actually did play back in the late ’70s, as a friend owned it — I had a basketball version, for some reason, though that specific game appears not to be amongst the emulated here).

• • •

So I did watch SyFy’s new Krypton show (as discussed previously) and…yeah, it seemed interesting enough. At first, it seemed like it was going to go the Smallville route of making the Superman story unnecessarily complicated for the sake of getting any kind of compellingly-watchable TV show out of all this nonsense. But of course this pushes everything far enough back that Superman himself, as we know him, while offstage (for now) and the target of some kind of time-traveling threat, is relatively untouched by the proceedings. In Smallville, despite knowing that yes, this was just a different interpretation of the character, it was difficult to draw a line from what we were seeing in that show to what we knew about Superman. Just…too many weird continuity shenanigans. That’s more the problem with my fanboy brain than anything the producers were doing, admittedly. In Krypton, though, actual events on Krypton are enough of an open book that I could theoretically avoid any such issues.

And I say “theoretically” only because I’m way behind on the few shows I do watch, and adding one more to the pile isn’t going to help matters any. I watched this first one more out of curiosity, but I expect I won’t end up watching any more ’til it’s on a streaming service or discs I can rent from Netflix. I will reiterate that directly connecting the events of the show to the “present” of Superman’s time was the gimmick needed to get me at least somewhat interested, more than just giving us A Game of Space-Thrones That Is Sorta Connected to Superman, Eventually.

• • •

Hey, my old pal Brandon is doing a little research for a collector’s guide project he’s working on, regarding “all your favorite giant rubber animals, dinos and monsters […] Toys by Imperial Toy, Chitech, Dor Mei & more!” If you’re on the Twitterers, you can follow that link and direct-message him there. Or if you’re not on the Tweetings, you can email me and I can pass along your contact information. If you can help him out, please do! Thanks!

Some neat stuff I found.

§ November 21st, 2017 § Filed under advertising, pal plugging, self-promotion, swamp thing § 1 Comment

Here’s yet another installment of “what did Mike find in the boxes of old promo stuff from his previous job this time,” featuring this poster advertising the Marvel graphic novel Death of Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin:

Unlike a lot of the posters I’ve been seeing, this one was totally displayed, with pieces of tape still affixed to the back, and even a couple of tape tears noticeable on the front from where another poster with tape on its back was placed on top of it. Even still, it’s a nice piece of retail history from the very early 1980s.

From a couple of years later is, not a promo poster, but an odd piece of photocopier humor that was passed around in the wake of the release of Frank Miller’s mini-series Ronin:

You see, the joke is the comic is called Ronin, so the picture on the original cover has been replaced with an image of Marvel’s Red Ronin fighting Godzilla, and…well, look, this is what we had before Photoshop and image sharing on your Tumblrs and whathaveyou. Just eighth-generation Xerox copies of Xerox copies of gags being passed around by hand for everyone to enjoy. From the few examples of these I remember seeing way back when, at least this one wasn’t, like, purposefully offensive, which was a rarity in itself.

• • •

Hey, my friend Cathy, who does lots of medically-themed comics (some of which you can sample right here) has started up a Patreon of her very own. I know everyone’s got a Patreon right now and times are tough all over, but if you’ve got a dollar to spare, I bet she’d appreciate it.

And speaking of Patreons, I know I fell behind on mine and its exclusive content a bit, but I have started on the next Swamp Thing-a-Thon installment (covering original series #8, The Lovecraftian One). That should be up soon. I apologize, but sometimes real life gets in the way of doing fun stuff. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Oh, and on the topic of Swamp Thing, I did get a copy of the Bernie Wrightson Artifact Edition from IDW, featuring tons of original art for Swamp Thing another other DC horror comics. I’ll probably post a more extensive review of it soon, but in the meantime, let me assure you that it is sufficiently fantastic. I told myself a long time ago the only Artifact Edition book I’d personally get would be one that featured Wrightson’s Swamp Thing work, and I chose wisely. Not to say the other volumes don’t look great (and they do!) but Wrightson’s originals are the ones I felt I’d appreciate the most, and I wasn’t wrong. This book is printed in almost literally tear-inducing detail…I was comparing the original art in the IDW volume to the original printed comics from the ’70s and…sheesh, wotta revelation. And yes, the werewolf splash and these two covers are in there, too. …So go buy one already! Or order one from me! I won’t stop you!

Suddenly nostalgic for the Miraweb format.

§ November 13th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, swamp thing § 4 Comments

As the ongoing deep dive into the ancient trove of promo material continues, I found this Swamp Thing flyer from 1987:

…featuring small reproductions of pages from Swamp Thing #60 (May 1987) by Alan Moore and John Totleben. Here’s a better look at the retailer-specific info here:

As you can see in the scan, the top edge of the flyer is pretty crunched, but I suppose it’s too late at this point to try to get another copy. And, just so you know, the $1.00 price tag that starts with issue #61 goes up to $1.25 with issue #67, so start saving your pennies now. Actually, I kinda miss that “New Format” era…a little more upscale than the standard 75-cent comics of the time, not quite as dear as the $1.50 “Baxter” books like New Teen Titans. It was a nice middle-of-the-road format with reasonably good print quality.

Feeling a little bemused at how quickly I can still separate out the varying printing formats and price points from back then. Of course, there’s a bit more homogeneity to price points now from the Big Two or Four or Whatever, and not so much hairsplitting over the types of paper used, or cover stock. At least, it seems we don’t talk about it as much.

So of course the first thing I talk about when I get back is Swamp Thing.

§ October 23rd, 2017 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

And here it is, at last:

…the Swamp Thing Bronze Age Omnibus, containing approximately ONE MILLION PAGES of Swamp Thing goodness, starting with the initial story in House of Secrets #92 (making this my, I don’t know, 87th copy of that story) and running through the second series up ’til just before that weird British guy with the beard takes over.

I haven’t read through the whole thing yet, but my general perusal reveals good reproduction of the art, recoloring that reflects the original presentation, and also it weighs about as much as a Ford Festiva, so don’t let this sucker rest on your legs for too long. However, like my issue with the Don Newton Batman book, it all just looks weird being on nice white glossy paper and not on decaying newsprint. Well, maybe not so much the first few issues, which have been reprinted (and repurchased by me) in multiple upscale formats. But, like, seeing Thrudvang clearly printed in bright colors is an experience that’ll take some time to get used to.

And to address some questions I had a while back, based on the conflicting information I was seeing about this volume here and there:

  • As I half-suspected, the extant pages of the unpublished Swamp Thing #25 from the 1970s were not included. I was sort of hoping maybe they would print these, much in the same way the unreleased Firestorm issue was included in that trade paperback. But they might not have had all the pages, or even had suitable copies of the available pages for printing, so there you go. Maybe someday.
  • Also left out are any tie-in books, like Brave and the Bold and Challengers of the Unknown, that came out during the time the other comics in this book were released. I can understand, since we’re already pushing 1,000 pages here, but still, the Challengers issues did follow up on events from the last couple of issues from the original Swamp Thing series. It would have been nice to have them in there just so there’s some transition from the status quo at the end of #24 and where things are at in Saga of the Swamp Thing #1.
  • Issue #19 of Saga of the Swamp Thing is included, so its omission from at least one online listing was definitely a typo. And the reprint of #18 includes all the new art that appeared in that issue, while directing the reader to previous pages in the omnibus for the story from original series #10 that was originally reprinted therein.

It would be nice if they had a second volume covering all that ’70s/early ’80s swamp stuff they skipped, but that seems unlikely at this point. Any theoretical second volume is going to pick up with the Alan Moore material, probably including the one DC Comics Presents…and when that book comes out, come back here to see me wondering if they’ll include Rick Veitch’s “Swamp Thing Meets Jesus” story in Omnibus #3.

In other Swamp Thing news, here’s a DC Comics ad slick for Moore’s run, starring casual Swamp Thing:

…and keep a lookout for the Swamp Thing Winter Special in early 2018, featuring what would have been the debut story for a new series written by cocreator Len Wein, and illustrated by Kelley Jones. Wein only finished the one issue before he passed away, which is a shame, but it’s nice that we’ll get to see it. A new 40-page story by Tom King and Jason Fabok will accompany Wein’s final Swamp Thing. Sounds like an all-around pretty good comic book to me.

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