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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.
Guys, just arrived in the mail today, from the hands of Robert Wilson IV, along with a signed copy of Bitch Planet #3, a signed copy of Like A Virus (now available on Comixology!), and a signed print, is this piece of original artwork:
…based on a long-running gag of mine that I’ve mentioned once or twice in recent years, though the earliest reference I can find is pal Dorian referring to it in 2004.
It was longtime reader Mike Z. who was the fella what first put together Mr. Wilson IV with my particular
obsession humorous one-off gag that in no way reflects any unhealthy fetishes, and, I just learned, is directly responsible for commissioning this illustration and having it sent to me. So thank you, Mike, for your kindness, and thank you, Robert, for probably not wondering out loud “you want me to draw what?”
So here’s a thing I finally got for myself this week…issue #6 from May 1975 of DC Comics’s official company ‘zine The Amazing World of DC Comics:
…featuring this centerspread image of an unused Nestor Redondo cover for Swamp Thing
#15 (March-April 1975):
Here is the final printed cover for that issue, with a slightly less demon-obscured shot of Swampy:
There are one or two other tidbits of Swamp Thing info throughout the mag, most notably in the interview with Joe Orlando, where he briefly discusses the transition on the series from creators Len Wein and Berni(e) Wrightson to other hands. (A possible replacement mentioned in the interview was Art Suydam
of “Cholly and Flytrap” and Marvel Zombies
fame. I don’t think I knew he was ever considered!)
Anyway, that’s one more piece of Swamp Thing stuff in the ol’ collection. Once I get everything, that officially means I won, right?
Speaking of Swamp Thing stuff, as I usually am, this Kenner Toys Twitter feed has been featuring some of the Swampy toys from that now-decades old cartoon…scroll down a bit to see what your pal Mike has sitting around his house.
So reader Rodney asked, in response to my post from Friday:
“I started my copy of the latest Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 5 today and in the reprint of Superboy #198 Clark and Lana are about to enter a ‘Horror Haven’ tent and on either side of the entrance is Man-Thing and Swamp Thing.
And then my next thought was ‘Does Mike know about this?'”
Ah, a question in the grand old Progressive Ruin tradition of insinuating myself into your minds to the extent that you think of me whenever you encounter Swamp Thing. Or All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. Or Frank Miller’s The Spirit.
Rodney, thank you for asking. I’ve probably been aware of it, though I don’t have that actual comic in my collection. I do have the Legion of Super-Heroes Archive Edition hardcover volume #10, which reprints said story, recolored and on better paper:
…so at least I have a version of it, if not, as I’m suspecting, with the exact same colors as in the originals. Now, if I were still at my old job, I’d just check in one of the fourteen Superboy
back issue boxes on the shelves and pull out that #198 to see if our Man-Thing stand-in was colored in more copyright-stretching yet more character-accurate greenish hues. Alas, my new store is still in the process of backstock-building, so I don’t believe I have a local copy to check at the moment. Anyone out there able to confirm Man-Thing’s coloring in the original?
Anyway, as I said, I was sure I must have been aware of these particular cameos at one time even if just from reading these reprints. However, I probably haven’t looked inside this Archives hardcover since I originally read through it the first time (back in…hold on, lemme check the copyright date…eek, the far-flung future year of 2000) so it had slipped my mind. Thanks for the reminder, Rodney!
A couple of other questions from that comments section: Michael Grabowski asks
“…Exactly how vast is/was the vast Mikester Comic Archives? Anywhere close to WorldRecord-Man (the fellow in Mission Viejo Guinness recently named), or closer to ‘just vast enough to supply the better part of a newly-opened shop?'”
Well, it was pretty goodly sized…a couple dozen long boxes, a few dozen short, several magazine boxes. Approximately half of what I owned went in for sale at the shop. I’m still needing to sort through the rest of the boxes to decide what I want to take to the store and what I want to still keep. No rush at the moment, however, given that I’ve recently acquired several long boxes’ worth of collections and that should keep me swimmin’ in funnybooks for the immediate future.
And Bill D. asks about that Go-Go comic:
“Does this issue have a Blooperman story in it? I’ve heard those are kind of fun.”
Sadly, no Blooperman. I’m presuming that a Superman parody, or at least a more general parody of superheroes. It would have been interesting to see how this comic would’ve handled it, given the stories in the issue I have mostly emphasized more general-audience non-superhero shenanigans.
• • •
So long to Swamp Thing
and The Return of Swamp Thing
star Louis Jourdan, who passed away this weekend
. …Maybe he did more popular and more highly-regarded films, but those are the two most important to me.
Besides, few are the films that are better than Swamp Thing and The Return of Swamp Thing.
So Spider-Woman now has a new costume, discarding most of her yogawear in favor of a jacketed look, leading into some spirited superheroes-in-jackets discussion on the Twitterers. Of course, in my usual “not helping in the slightest” method of participating in the conversation, I decided to post this:
Proving that no annoying deed goes unrewarded, longtime blogging compatriot Chris Karath
responded with this Twitter post:
…accompanied by this illustration created specifically for the occasion:
Well, well, I do believe we have the next iteration of the New 52 Swamp Thing right before us. Ball’s in your court for the relaunch, DC, even if you feel the need to add the collar
Well, these things happen. Sorry, gang.
Let me remind you that I’m doing question time again, so toss your questions into that comments section (not the comments for this post, but that previous one I linked) and I’ll give you answers. Some of them possibly truthful! I’ll probably start taking a crack at them this coming Monday, so for God’s sake, clear your calendars.
In other news, this week saw the release of the greatest Wonder Woman comic of all time, in that it guest-starred Swamp Thing:
…or at least something that vaguely looked like Swamp Thing while still being called “Swamp Thing,” and I’ve bought worse things for worse reasons so, you know, don’t think you can shame me on this. Also, making thing worse, pictured there is the variant cover for the issue, with Swampy and Wondy posin’ pretty for the camera, and silly me, I thought that was the 1 in 25 variant. Nope, that’s the 1/100 variant, so only those elite retailers who bought 100 copies of the regular cover got a copy of this darned thing. Well, don’t look at me, since I just started a brand new shop, I ain’t ordering a hundred copies of anything yet.
And because it’s brand new, it’s currently going for stupid prices on the eBay, so I’ll have to wait a few weeks where, like most of its variant cover brethren and sisteren, the hotness eventually cools off and prices will be lowered to the “please for the love of all that’s holy take these off our hands” levels. Of course, with my luck, this will be the exception and will hold its collectible value, at which point I’ll have no choice but to sell my blood and the blood of a few “volunteers” in order to afford it.
Look, I own Swamp Thing slippers. I’ll stop at nothing to maintain the Swamp Thing collection.
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