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So last week, I was contacted by my new Twitter pal John who was asking where one could likely find certain bits of Swamp Thing merchandise from the early ’90s cartoon show. (“The eBay” is probably the best answer, “Mike’s house” also acceptable.) During the course of our interaction, John dropped the tidbit that while he was having trouble tracking down certain items, he did recently obtain what appears to be a crew jacket from the live-action Swamp Thing TV show:
Don’t know anything about it, couldn’t Google up any more info aside from the original auction listing this jacket apparently came from…but it certainly looks neat and of course I’ll need to find one for my own collection, possibly on “the eBay” or maybe “John’s house.”
Thanks, John, for sharing this with us!
So I’ve joked around the shop a handful of times that if I were in charge of Swamp Thing comics, it would totally be just Swamp Thing time-traveling every issue, visiting important characters and events through the DC Universe’s history. (In other words, sorta like the Veitch issues in the middle of this page, but more like this series, just with a muck-encrusted mockery of a man as the lead.)
One of the covers I suggested for this theoretical run (Swamp Thing Adventures in Time and Space, if I may) would have been a take-off on this classic Chaykin cover from 1983:
…but with our pal Swampy in the cockpit.
Well, this Christmas, in secret collusion, Employee Timmy bade Employee Aaron to create this illustration as a gift for me:
I’m telling you, DC…call me
. I’ll even buy the boy a ruler to keep his swastikas straight.
…I’m taking the rest of the week off. I’ll be back Monday, though I may have some kind of thing on Saturday. We’ll see.
In the meantime, that Swamp Thing cartoon I posted here the other day? You can totally get that as a high quality print now. Tell ‘em your pal Mike sent you! (And they’ll respond with “…Who?”)
See you Monday (or maybe Saturday).
So pal Kevin pointed this out to me on the Twitters, and being immediately enamored with it, I asked the artist’s permission to post it here on my own site:
That artist would be Brandon B., and I highly recommend visiting his Tumblr full o’art
(where you can find a higher quality image
of the above cartoon).
- So just in case you wanted to read more of me picking at the scab of DC’s Villains Month — and geez, why wouldn’t you — here’s a long-ish interview I did over at Comic Book Resources on that very topic.
- BEHOLD: Swamp Thing art! The Louis CK/Swamp Thing mash-up you requested, Cute Poison Ivy versus Cute Swamp Thing, and (people have been sending me this one a lot, and thanks to everyone…it was my work computer’s wallpaper for a while!) “If you see Swamp Thing, say Swamp Thing.” And then there’s my old pal Batfatty, much missed around these parts, who sent me a link to the Japanese VHS cover for Return of the Swamp Thing (based on the beautiful U.S. one-sheet, which I do have!).
- A couple of weeks back I posted a link to a YouTube video of Video Comics, an early Nickelodeon program that would present print comics onscreen panel-by-panel, with voice actors and sound effects. The Swamp Thing episode didn’t feature the kids-on-bikes “Ride of the Valkyries” opening that many entries in the series had, but reader tvguy1979 sent along a link to a short promotional video which contains most of that missing intro.
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!
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