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1. Yes, it says “ret” in the first panel. Was that typo fixed in the recent Demon hardcover?
2. This little monkey-fella makes a reappearance in Saga of the Swamp Thing #25, #26 and #27 (1984):
I remember finding out at the time that Kamara (that monkey creature) had appeared in The Demon a decade before, and thinking “boy, there’s no way it can be as creepy as it was in Swamp Thing,” but I was wrong. So very wrong.
images from The Demon #4 (December 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer; Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 (June 1984) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben
…well, I found them:
Well, actually, employee Timmy found them, and after he Instagrammed a pic of them to his Pinterest via Myspace, I bade him to bring those to me or suffer the horrible consequences. And thus, here they are, with a swamp-ish creature on the tag and the hope these marbles aren’t symbolically representing the creature’s eggs or anything. So anyway, if you happen to see me and have your marbles on you, I’ll happily knuckle down and play for keepsies with my boulder and my cats-eyes, though I suppose that would mean opening the baggie and, you know, God forbid.
In other news: Bully, the Stuffed Bull Who Is Too Little to Know about Such Things, has taken this post of mine and made it into something terrible and beautiful.
So the first two caption boxes of this comic are “Anton Arcane” and “He is in hell.” If you’re a longtime Swamp Thing reader and fan, and of course you are, you probably can’t help but think of all those older Swamp Thing
comics by Moore and Veitch and those other guys ‘n’ gals where, well, Arcane is in captial-H Hell with demons and all that. And that the title of the story is “The Patchwork History,” evoking memories of early Swamp Thing adversary (and Arcane’s brother/early victim) the Patchwork Man
(a gender-switched form of whom plays into this newer tale), the reminders of older Swampy-continuity flow freely.
I have been enjoying this New 52 series as a whole (even though the Rotworld storyline ran a decade or two too long), but the reminders of what has been feed into the constant struggle — well, “struggle” is too strong a word, it’s more like an itch at which I keep scratching — to reconcile my deeply-ingrained-by-multiple-rereadings memories of his old comics of how Swamp Thing’s world should be, with the new events and histories being presented to me. There’s the little fanboy voice in the back of my head that calls out “hey, that’s not right” whenever I read some new revelation about Arcane’s backstory, even though I understand it’s all part of the retooling of the Swamp Thing franchise, moving Arcane away from his mad scientist origins and positioning him more explicitly as an antithesis to our hero.
In a way, “rebooting” Swamp Thing’s character the way they did, replacing the Swamp Thing with Alec Holland’s memories with the actual Alec Holland, while not ignoring that the previous Swamp Thing in fact existed, was pretty clever, I thought. It gives a fresh start to the character, unburdened by the decades of history, while still being true to the character’s basics. But the occasional reference to the newly-defined pasts of Holland and Abby and Arcane still jar a bit. I mean, it’s my particular problem. They’re not trying to write to me, the guy who’s read Swamp Thing comics forever and will continue to do so. It’s new people they’re trying to get, and not trying to scare off with a character with loads of backstory and continuity by presenting something a little more manageable. Sort of a Reader’s Digest condensed version of Swampy, maybe.
However, if I’m reading between the lines of the solicitations of upcoming issues correctly, we may be seeing some version of the pre-New 52 version of Swamp Thing in the book shortly, so I’m curious how that plays out, if in fact that’s happening.
Shorter version of the above: MIKE LIKE NEW SWAMPY BUT IT MAKE MIKE’S THINKER HURT
And then there’s the Swamp Thing
Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, released about a month ago and delivered by Diamond Comics to our shop last week. I finally sat down and watched the special features, fun interviews with star Adrienne Barbeau, co-star Reggie Batts (Jude, the kid who befriends Cable and Swampy) and ST cocreator Len Wein, wearing a Swamp Thing t-shirt that immediately made me think “hey, I
have that shirt!” which, man, I don’t know what that says about me. Wein does note in his interview that he likes the fact that Swamp Thing is back in the regular DC universe interacting with Batman and Superman and those other folks in tights and capes. Hey, so do I, Len!
Haven’t really watched the movie proper yet, aside from some of the clips inserted into the interviews themselves. That costume, the source of much derision, isn’t as bad as I recall, but keep in mind I’m still just seeing bits and pieces of it in clips. Sometimes it looks like a green wetsuit, sometimes it looks like poor Dick Durock is wearing a saggy diaper that leaks (or just filled with sweat, since I’m sure he was melting in that outfit), but sometimes, just sometimes, it looks just enough like Swamp Thing. That Durock is (as I recall) doing his best to act his heart out in that get-up, giving it some level of gravitas despite everything, certainly helps.
There are two commentary tracks on the disc (one from director Wes Craven, the other from make-up artist William Munns) which I’ll make time to listen to when I can. Maybe those will inspire me to record my own commentary for the film. “This scene totally contradicts established New 52 continuity!”
Courtesy PTOR, friend of this site and maintainer of the famed Sanctum Sanctorum weblog: a page from Crazy Super Special #88 (July 1982) by Larry Hama and Bob Camp, featuring…well, you’ll see:
I don’t recall Mad
or any of the Mad
-a-likes ever doing a full-length parody of the Swamp Thing
film at the time, since I’m sure the film wasn’t prominent enough to warrant the attempt. So, this may be as close as we ever got, unless someone out there can tell me something different.
Bob Camp’s Swamp Thing caricature is pretty great, but man, just imagine an actual Mad parody of the Swamp Thing movie drawn by Mort Drucker. Almost brings a tear to one’s eye.
Or a parody drawn by Don Martin! “A bomb! Got to defuse it before….” “BAAAROOOSHOOOMOOOMOOOM” “AGGG! AAAAAH! GARGH!” “KERSPLOOOOSH”
Some of you may remember my previous mentions of an early show on the Nickelodeon cable channel entitled Video Comics, in which various DC Comics stories starring the Flash, Green Lantern, Sugar and Spike, etc. would be presented panel by panel with narration. You may also remember my noting this show as one of the methods by which I was introduced to Swamp Thing, another character featured on the program.
Thanks to reader Patrick, who emailed me yesterday to let me know that an episode of Video Comics finally popped up on YouTube, starring guess who:
This episode lacks the intro Video Comics
usually had (I think, probably, just for the more superhero-y installments) of the kids riding their bikes to the local market to ransack the comic racks, while Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” played. Though, I suppose if you have
to have at least the music:
Anyway, thanks again to Patrick for letting me know that Video Comics
finally showed up on the Internet somewhere. This hit the ol’ nostalgia button!
Sorry for the extended outage…I’ve been ill, and have been trying to stay away from Internetting for a few days while I recovered. I even skipped out of most of a Saturday at the shop, which I never do, and apparently that was good planning on my part as a Cardfight Vanguard event we were apparently expecting a couple dozen people for ended up attracting, like, a hundred people, and as I was at home in bed that ended up having to be Someone Else’s Problem, for which I apologize.
A portion of the crown outside our shop – photo by long-suffering Employee Timmy
Anyway, since we last spoke, while flopped on my bed like a big ol’ lump of nothin’, I watched, via Netflix streaming, the entirety of the BBC sitcom Hyperdrive, a very funny spoof on Star Trek-ian type programming.
I also read all about the new Swamp Thing action figure due at the end of the year, or rather watched all about it since I’ve only really looked at the video at that link. I think everyone I know sent me some link or another about this figure…a figure which, by the way, is going to cost about fifty bones. Good gravy, thank goodness for buying things at wholesale. I remember saying something a while back that, on one hand, not having Swamp Thing around meant less tie-in merchandise I’d have to track down and buy (yes, “have to”), while on the other hand, having Swamp Thing comics around means more merchandise, which is great but, you know, I still have to pay for it. There’s been in the last couple of years, what, three t-shirts, a statue, a Squinkie, I don’t even remember what else. Oh, yeah, and a comic book series. Man, comics, did you know they still make those?
In addition, I read more about DC Comics’ latest plan to kill me. My guess is that throwing a Justice League logo onto a Shadow Thief comic isn’t going to increase sales that much, but I have, oh, another month and half to think about that before I send in my orders. I am totally down with a Mongul comic written by Jim Starlin, however.
Oh, and this week, Superman Unchained #1 is out, so I’ll be unboxing loads of those Tuesday afternoon at the shop and sorting out the dozen or so different variant covers. I’ll probably have something to say about that comic later in the week.
So…um…how are you?
I talked before about how I’m not really looking for any more old comics for my collection, outside of an issue of Dog Boy or two, or ’60s and ’70s fanzines. I mean, sure, if something cool comes along I might snap it up for myself, but by and large there’s not a whole lot of specific back issues I’m actively looking for. This comic I acquired a few months back, for example, was the big one, a comic I’d spent years trying to find.
But there is this one comic that I’d been half-interested in buying, one featuring the debut of a character that’s appeared on and off over the decades, that I’d never seen in the shop in all the time I’ve worked here. I’ve always liked its quite striking cover, however, since I first saw it in a long-ago issue of Amazing Heroes, and decided then I’d buy a copy should I ever get the opportunity.
And then, this weekend, there it was in a collection (the same collection where I found the comic with this page, in fact):
#79, December 1968, featuring the debut of Dolphin as written and illustrated by her creator, J. Scott Pike
Now I suppose I could have gone online and bought a copy from someone, but it’s not something I was absolutely going crazy from not owning…I just figured that sooner or later, a copy would come by the shop, and hopefully it would be in halfway decent shape (i.e. Dolphin didn’t have a mustache drawn on her). As it turns out, it was far more “later” than “sooner,” but, hey, good enough. And now I own a copy of this comic, and the cover looks just as great in real life as it did in that magazine article and on comic cover gallery websites.
Also in the comic is a reprint of the first appearance of Aqualad, and a one-page text piece explaining the idea of fanzines as well as promoting a couple…which is certainly an added bonus for me, given my appreciation for ‘zines.
In conclusion: just what I needed, another comic…but it is always nice to finally find that one elusive item you’ve been searching for, the long itch that finally gets scratched.
• • •
In other news:
- So some of the “WTF Certified” covers are getting put out there in advance of release, revealing the full fold-out “shocking” image (though the “WTF” logo itself won’t appear on the comics, cooler heads having prevailed). Well, at least one cover has made it out, anyway, since it’s the only one that’s popped up in my Google search alerts, for what should be obvious reasons.
It looks like the big shocking surprise is a big-name guest star making his second appearance in this series, revealing that his terrible costume hasn’t become less terrible in the year and a half since the last time he visited. Despite that, the issue looks like it could be fun…at the very least, it’s not yet another chapter in the Rotworld storyline, so there’s that.
- If you can bear going to Facebook for this, there’s an announcement that the first Swamp Thing movie is going to be released on Blu-Ray by Scream Factory (a division of Shout! Factory), so you can finally see the zippers on the costumes with all the clarity they deserve. You’ll see a lot of complaining in the comments about the fact this will be the 91-minute theatrical release, and not the 93-minute “international” version with the extra nekkidness from Adrienne Barbeau and others.
Some folks in the comments seem to believe that there is NO Topless Barbeau in the 91-minute version, which as far as I know (based on previous careful examination of the original VHS release) is not the case. It is possible that the second DVD release (replacing the initial DVD release, which did have all the “extras,” as it were) had all the salacious material removed, including the slightly briefer scenes of Ms. Barbeau’s bathing that had existed in previous home video and theatrical releases. I only own the first version of the DVD, not the replacement version, so perhaps some kind reader could verify if such surgery was in fact performed in the second release. Or I’ll just have to rent the stupid thing from Netflix myself. You know, for the public good.
I suspect I have spent a lot of time on this site discussing nudity in Swamp Thing movies. …I’m not proud.
Anyway, it’ll be nice to have any version of the movie on Blu-ray, since my original DVD is not anamorphic. But it is very, very naughty.
So Paul wrote in and asked if I had any comment on this week’s delayed arrival of Scarlet #6 from Marvel’s Icon imprint. And I said, “oh, was it late?” and I checked our cycle sheets at the store, and BEHOLD:
#1 – 7/8/10
#2 – 9/1/10
#3 – 11/4/10
#4 – 1/19/10
#5 – 3/28/11
#6 – 2/6/13
Wow, nearly two years between the last two issues. Not quite Ultimate Hulk Vs. Wolverine level, but pretty close. I probably just didn’t notice it because, unlike that Hulk/Wolverine thing, I didn’t have people asking me every day when it was coming out. Or any day, for that matter. Is anything really late if nobody’s waiting for it? …Ooh, okay, that’s a bit harsh. I’m sorry. But not too sorry, because I have to sell these things, and a two-year gap between issues is kind of bullshit, and certainly no way to keep a readership.
And of course there’s the other end of the spectrum, in which we got three issues of The Avengers over the last three weeks, which is also ridiculous. Or two issues of Superior Spider-Man over the last two weeks. Or seven issues of All-New X-Men since mid-November. I’d like to see comics released on a rational, responsible schedule, one where retailers and customers can plan out their spending, and one where the market isn’t flooded so quickly with consecutive issues of a series to the point of discouraging readership, but I suspect I’ll see “Steve Ditko Sings The Hits – Live On-Stage Revue” before that ever happens.
Mmm. Okay, now I’m angry. WHY MUST YOU POKE THE BULL, PAUL?
Let us go on to happier things:
- I am getting comments and multiple emails from folks telling me that the current Nancy comic strips are retelling the origin of Sluggo. Read ‘em yourself, starting here. …To think I’d ever see the word “reboot” in a Nancy strip, that wasn’t about, say, Sluggo putting on two pairs of boots.
- Big Rich Handley, creator of the Roots of the Swamp Thing website, recently interviewed former Swampy artist Steve Bissette and former Thingy writer Nancy Collins. Good readin’ all around…go check those out.
- This is interesting…John MacLeod, one of the contributors to this issue of Ultra Klutz I discussed a while back, popped up in the comments to that post with a couple of details about his contribution to the comic. And it turns out you can read his Dishman comics online (along with his commentary)…and be sure to take a look at his more recent project, Space Kid.
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