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Swamp Mark noted
“i don’t think you’ve said a word about the new Swampy series. which is a shame because Wein and Jones are knocking it out of the park!”
I thought I mentioned it at some point…probably it was on the Twitterers, where I said, after reading the first issue, that it didn’t really do anything for me until the antagonist shows up in the back half of the issue. The series as a whole so far, now that we’re at the half-way point, is…well, it’s okay, I think.
I have no beef with the art. If we can’t have Bernie Wrightson back, Kelley Jones is just dandy, giving us weird, goopy, and creepy illustrations as is befitting a Swamp Thing title. Jones, of course, has drawn Swamp Thing many times over the years, and he’s always welcome.
Swampy’s other creator, Len Wein, is back on writing chores, however, and…well, I don’t know. It’s fine, but…okay, this is mostly on me, I suppose, in that the original ’70s Swamp Thing comics still have a strong appeal, so expecting this new series to compete with my own nostalgic feelings for the older work is very unfair. You Can’t Go Home Again, is what I believe I’d said on Twitter, and that’s probably more aimed at me than it is at Wein. The tone of the scripting just doesn’t feel the same…and why should it, I guess. There is this thing with Swampy’s dialogue that seems out of character, with his talking about kicking something’s ass here, and this bit of business there:
…which doesn’t sound right to me.
I just paged through the most recent issue, #3, again since it happened to be sitting here, and like that first issue, the story didn’t really grab my attention until the latter part of the comic, which leaves on a cliffhanger that genuinely left me looking forward to its resolution.
But even that brought up an issue with me, which is one that’s probably out of Wein’s hands, and that’s the New 52 continuity. Again, this is an issue that bugs me, The Guy Who’s Read Swamp Thing Comics for Nearly Four Decades, and may not be a problem for someone coming to the character fresh, but there’s the big disconnect between what has come before, and the New 52 version of events. Given that we were reintroduced to the “plant that thought it was Alec Holland” version of Swamp Thing post-New 52, I was able to imagine that the adventures we read of that version of Swampy still existed, more or less, even with the changes to Arcane. But, with the return of a certain old supporting character in this issue, unless there’s a lot of weird backstory to be revealed, one of the classic Alan Moore stories from early in his run now appears to Never Have Happened. (It also futzes up a small bit of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, for that matter.)
I can sort of understand the decision…why remain committed to a piece of continuity from decades ago when you’re trying to do new comics for hopefully new readers who may, at best, only know the most basic information about the character’s concept? Not to mention the fact that, referring to those old events involving said supporting character, none of them were experienced by this version of Swamp Thing anyway, if you follow me. It’s not like the Alec Holland-version of Swamp Thing is suddenly going to shout “B-b-but you’re DEAD!” when as far as he knew, that character was just fine and dandy when he last saw him.
Ignore all that if there’s a big reveal in the next issue that this was all a trick and it isn’t really that supporting character but some old enemy in disguise or something.
Anyway, wrapping up…I like the series. The art’s great, and the writing’s tone is taking me a while to warm up to but it’s fine. The continuity issues are a thing, which undermines the proceedings a bit, but that’s because I’m old and read all that stuff so it’s still in my mind when I read this new stuff. But to paraphrase those brilliant philosophers, “it’s just a comic book, I should really just relax.”
EVEN SHORTER CONCLUSION: Mike, you got a new and reasonably good Swamp Thing comic written by its creator and drawn by a great artist — shut up, already.
So Twitter pal BobH pointed this out to me just the other day…a listing for the forthcoming second Roots of the Swamp Thing hardcover (also on Amazon).
Now this hasn’t turned up in Diamond’s system yet, so I don’t have specific details, but from the description it sounds like it’ll be reprinting the balance of the original 1970s Swamp Thing series past the first thirteen issues presented in volume one. My dream reprint project (as noted here) a reality at last! Finally the rest of those great Nestor Redondo-illustrated issues (plus the oddball Ernie Chan/Fred Carrillo story at the end) presented with (hopefully) decent paper and printing.
Assuming the book just reprints the remaining 11 issues in that original Swamp Thing run, this will be a bit shorter than the previous volume. I don’t have an actual page count yet, but it would be nice if they could include whatever pages exist of the unpublished #25.
Less likely would be the inclusion of the interim Swampy stories between the end of the original series and the 1980s relaunch (which were only six years apart, which seems really weird to me). There weren’t really that many Swamp Thing stories in that period…a couple of Brave and the Bold appearances, the DC Comics Presents, those Challengers of the Unknown guest-starring Swampy and Deadman…. Actually, a third volume reprinting all these together wouldn’t be too bad, though the Challengers stories, while wrapping up a plotline or two from the end of the ’70s Swamp Thing comic, don’t quite have the legendary funnybook cachet of the Wein/Wrightson/Redondo era and are probably way low on the reprint priority list.
As I said at that Trouble with Comics link, maybe this will someday lead to a collection of the Marty Pasko/Tom Yeates collaboration in the early issues of the releaunch. That could also stand being on nice paper under one cover, not to mention the possibility of being discovered by a new audience after populating dollar boxes and whatnot for so long.
I was Twittered at and emailed about a thousand times this weekend about this particular product, so I thought I’d better point it out on this here site of mine. Yes, we are finally getting the Funko Pop Vinyl figure we deserve — well, that I deserve, I don’t know about the rest of you jokers — Swamp Thing!
And yes, because I demanded it, there is a glow-in-the-dark variant as well:
…which will make a total of three
glow-in-the-dark Swamp Thing figures in my possession once I get my mitts on it.
I do like that the gave the figure the solid red eyes, instead of the usual button-black eyes most of the rest of the figures receive. Now all we need to do is get Arcane, Abby, and, dare I dream, Cranius Pops and all will be right with the world. And in case you’re wondering…yes, I’ll be ordering a boatload of these for the store. I shall fill the windows and line the walls with them. I am confident that this will be a wise business decision.
So with the arrival of the new Swamp Thing action figure this week (the “DC Essential” or, apparently, the “Justice League Dark” figure), I decided to finally open my New 52 Deluxe Swamp Thing action figure box and do a little comparison:
…since they’re essentially the same sculpt. Well, you know, aside from one having wings embedded in its back:
…and different head sculpts:
The coloring is different, too…Winged Swamp Thing has a lot more dark browns than his wingless counterpart. Both have the pretty flower on their right calves, however:
The big ol’ feet are jointed as well, allowing for a little extra finessing when you’re trying to get the darned things to stand:
Annoyingly, one of the branches came off the arm of Winged Swampy:
…and I thought it had snapped off, but thankfully it looks like that bright green bit at the end snaps into a slot on Swampy’s forearm. Maybe whatever glue (if any) gave out, or if it just snaps in, perhaps it just came loose during shipping. Either way, an easy fix.
Anyway, these are nice looking figures, for the most part…the ball joints on the legs are a little distracting, and Swamp Thing’s “armored” look still seems a little odd to these Wrightson-trained eyes, but otherwise not bad. The extra branches sticking out of the arms are a good touch, assuming they don’t accidentally fall off. The figures stand about 9 to 9 1/2 inches tall, depending on whether or not there are horns, which puts ’em in scale with other DC action figures…Swamp Thing should tower over them, after all.
Deluxe Swamp Thing comes with a shield and a sword. Regular Swamp Thing comics with nothing but love in his heart. Neither come with a Cranius, so points off for that. And with a new Swampy series coming from cocreator Len Wein and artist Kelley Jones, maybe we’ll get a figure of that version, too. Because boy, I sure could use more Swamp Thing toys.
In response to my post mentioning a theoretical Swamp Thing’s Kung-Fu Force book come these entries from Twitter pal MrJM:
…who apologizes for conflating kung-fu with karate, and from longtime ProgRuin supporter Paul Di Filippo, who created a sequel of sorts to this issue of Master of Kung-Fu:
“A++++ WOULD READ AGAIN”
So a couple more thoughts to wrap up “Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing Week” here on Progressive Dot Ruin Comma Com Interrobang:
I never saw the Swamp Thing movie in the theater. I’m not sure why. It’s not as if I didn’t know it was out. I think I even watched a review of it on Siskel and Ebert’s TV show. I suppose I just never thought about it. I was twelve or thirteen at the time, and my parents probably would have taken me to see it if I’d asked. Plus, at that point I was beginning to ride my bicycle to local theaters once in a while to see movies…I know I made a bike trip to go see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s possible that Swamp Thing may not have made it anywhere close enough to me to go see…there were plenty of theaters around, but in 1982 they were still mostly one or two screens, and I’m guessing it was pretty unlikely they were going to throw away a screen on some dumb low-budget rubber monster movie. It’s possible it made it to one of the several drive-ins in our area, but I doubt they would have let me ride my bike into the lot.
Ah, well, just one of those mysteries, I guess. At least I have both the original “naughty” DVD and the new Blu-ray to experience the film as God intended…on a big ol’ flatscreen in the privacy of your own home without having to deal with fellow filmgoers, who are usually the worst.
Anyway, speaking of the film, as I have been this week so I don’t know why I really needed the segue, Reader Jonathan from Australia emailed me about this recent article, 23 Things We Learned from Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing Commentary. Just what it says on the tin, it’s a list of interesting bits from the Blu-ray commentary that I still haven’t found time to listen to, but I really need to, now. And by the way, if you get a chance to listen to Jim Wynorski’s director commentary on the Return of Swamp Thing DVD, that’s a hoot as well.
• • •
I forgot to mention I once again participated in this week’s Question
over at Trouble with Comics, where the query posed to us this time was “name a comic where a later creative team exceeded the work done by the comic’s original creators, but without
‘damaging’ the initial work.” That’s a hard question to paraphrase, by the way. But answer the question I did
, and one guess as to which comic character I may have discussed.
Oh, and you should be reading the rest of the site, too. A new feature started up this week, Mick Martin’s “It Takes A Villain,” which promises to be a fun read. TWC is turning into the kind of comics ‘zine I’ve missed reading, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. With any luck, maybe I can find the time to do more than just answer a question every week! …Ah, who needs sleep, anyway?
So I just picked up a big ol’ stack of Famous Monsters of Filmland, and put it right back down again because it was so heavy. I’m still in the process of stripping off the awful, awful bags and their gooey taped flaps (don’t use tape on comic bags, c’mon people) and throwing them on the eBays, but to the surprise of surely nobody who has read this comics blog for any period of time, I’m hanging onto this issue:
Haven’t had much time to do more than just flip through the issue, but I did want to note that while the tagline right there at the beginning of the Swamp Thing article is okay:
…the header they used as a section break within the article is a thing of sublime beauty:
Well played, writer for the May 1982 edition of Famous Monsters of Filmland
…well played, indeed.
I know there’s no shortage
of more impressive and better remembered films the man was responsible for, but, by God, Wes Craven brought Swamp Thing to the screen
. Sure, the film may have its issues, and may have taken the occasional liberty with the source material, but it works anyway and I still am quite fond of it. And Roger Ebert liked it too
, so there.
So long, Wes.
Just announced: a few other minis or whatever, plus Swamp Thing, a mini-series written by Swampy’s cocreator Len Wein and illustrated by Kelley Jones. It’s the same creative team as the Convergence: Swamp Thing mini-series from a couple of months ago, which…uh, well, didn’t really do much for me, but that’s more the result, I think, of Wein writing to editorial edict, having to tie othe story into a half-baked crossover event. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Wein and Jones on a standalone series.
Okay, I’m looking forward to Gerry Conway on Firestorm, too, and, as a longtime fan of Sugar & Spike, and also as a longtime fan of outright evil, this update of Sugar & Spike as grown-up detectives just seems downright amazing. Especially given that Keith Giffen is at the helm. Good thing this is a mini-series because as an ongoing it would have the stink of death all over it, but I honestly can’t wait to see what’s going on here.
You know, if feels like as if a couple of my ideas from this post from a while back are coming to fruition, or at least close enough for horseshoes. …C’MON SOLO ALFRED COMIC.
• • •
In other weird-ass news, Dynamite’s made a deal with Atari
to not only create new works based on its properties, but to reprint old Atari-related comics as well. While I’m sure most of you are looking forward to the deluxe hardcover treatment of the Yar’s Revenge cartridge pack-in comic
that is surely coming, I’m more intrigued by the possibility of a fancypants edition of the old Atari Force
series. Yes, at long last, Tempest and his power-mullet
on high grade paper with computer coloring. Oh, and also one of most fun and beautifully-illustrated newsstand comics of the ’80s, featuring the work of Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Mike Baron and Eduardo Barreto, although good luck convincing anyone of that because it was
named Atari Force
, after all.
Part of me wants Conway and Garcia-Lopez to return and continue the story, but, well, “you can’t go home again, probably,” says the guy who was looking forward to the Swamp Thing comic just a few paragraphs ago. But boy, I sure did look forward to a new issue of Atari Force every month. That was one of my all-time favorites. …Ah, heck, I do want to see them back on the book. I can’t help it. We’re all fanboys about something.
Oh, and if you’re doing new graphic novels based on Atari properties, I volunteer to write this one.
• • •
So, hoo boy, how ’bout that Airboy
thing, huh? I discussed the new Image series briefly on my site
a little while back, and it seemed like most folks were into it, and then #2 came out and boy, did people turn on a dime. Twitter pal Charlotte
took on the task of explaining just what went wrong
and it’s definitely worth a read. And it’s good to see that the writer, James Robinson, released a heartfelt and thoughtful apology
. A few folks have commented on Charlotte’s article not getting what the big deal is, not understanding that here, in what would ordinarily be the very future-sounding year of 2015, there are still human beings begging other human beings for the right to be treated as human beings, and maybe portrayals like in Airboy
#2 aren’t helping the cause. A couple of the more egregious comments have been deleted since I last looked, thankfully.
Anyway, it’s certainly an unfortunate incident, but at least it’s resulted in good discussion such as Charlotte’s article. Hopefully some folks who need to will learn a little something from it.
• • •
Grant Morrison is the new editor of Heavy Metal
, and blogging brother Tim O’Neil has just a few words
So this week, I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made in regards to my comic collecting hobby.
…I decided not to buy some comics that featured Swamp Thing cameos.
Yes, yes, I know, I was shocked, too. Somehow or another, my Swamp Thing Sense™ began tingling as I was unboxing the week’s comics shipment, causing me to glance through this week’s batch of DC’s “Convergence” event. And, sure enough, the majority of Convergence installments this week did feature a tiny spot drawing of Swampy and a lady friend (more on that in a moment). The gimmick was that as the Bad Guy of the event was explaining the crossover’s premise to the the folks involves, you saw little portals into the various multiversal cities drawn into the event. And in each issue that pictured this array of windows, one of the portals contained an image that looked a little something like this:
That was from the Supergirl: Matrix
issue, where it’s very clearly Abby standing there next to Swampy.
As opposed to this pic from the Aquaman installment:
…where that definitely isn’t
Abby, or this one from Superman: Man of Steel
…where that could
be Abby, maybe, in poor lighting.
Now, given the premise of the series, it could be that the portals are presenting various versions of Swampy and a lady-pal from multiple universes, but…well, the only issue from this week’s Convergence tie-ins I was planning on getting for myself was the Green Lantern: Parallax one, and I think that’s going to have to be the representative illustration of this particular sequence for me. I was tempted to grab one of each of the tie-ins that had Swampy in it, but realized that I was going to need those copies for the shelf for my customers, rather than just hoarding them all in my own collection. So, there we go, an actual grown-up decision made for the benefit of the business rather than my own fanboyish need for completeness.
That’s not to say I won’t be getting both covers of each issue of the forthcoming Convergence: Swamp Thing mini-series. I mean, c’mon, let’s be serious here.
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