Snuggles, the emotional development of Superman, and more scary Swamp Thing stuff.

§ November 4th, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Snuggles, the emotional development of Superman, and more scary Swamp Thing stuff.

An exchange with a customer I had a on Thursday:

Me: “I’m a seething cauldron of rage.”

Customer: “You? You’re a seething cauldron of snuggles!”

Sigh. I am imposing to no one.

Also, following my aborted attempt at rapping, new employee Pope Nathan informed newer employee Nicknameless Aaron that my rhymes were far too phat to bust.

Yeah, that’s the kind of day we were having.

During another conversation I was having with Nathan and Aaron that day, we were discussing the bizarre, seemingly inconsiderate and insensitive behavior of Superman, Batman, and other characters in stories from the ’50s and ’60s. I noted that it’s not so much that they were supposedly inconsiderate, as, since these comics were aimed at children, all the characters (heroes, villains, supporting cast) were written as children, with childlike motivations and emotional responses. Probably an obvious point, but not one I ever articulated, or considered, until yesterday.

As Nathan noted, it’s kind of frightening to think of someone with powers like Superman with the emotional development of an eight-year-old.

People seemed to like my “Ten Scary Swamp Thing Moments” post (and thanks to Johanna for saying such nice things about it) and, as I’d hoped, people chimed in with their own favorite moments.

One people mentioned is the sequence from Alan Moore’s initial Arcane story, where Arcane had possessed Matt Cable, and the “just say ‘uncle'” revelation of his true identity of Matt’s wife, Arcane’s niece Abby. I was tempted to include that, but my list was Arcane-heavy as it was, and the two page splash of “Matt,” his damned-soul pals, and the color-overlay of Arcane was too big for me to easily scan. That whole issue (#29 of the second Swamp Thing series) was darned creepy, as Abby slowly puts together what’s wrong with Matt, and just who his coworkers are. One of my favorite bits of that issue is the panel of Matt and Abby sleeping together in bed, and Matt’s reflection in the mirror is that of a corpse. And I believe the whole incest thing, of Arcane being intimate with his own niece, is one of the reasons the Comics Code passed on this issue. Well, that and the big freakin’ two-page zombie splash.

Oh, “SPOILERS,” by the way.

Craig mentions the sequence where Swamp Thing discovers the paperwork explaining his true origin (that he was never Alec Holland at all, just a plant that thought it was Holland…it makes sense in context, honest) and his reaction to General Sunderland’s frightened query of “like it?” That really is a terrifying sequence, as this is the first time that we, as readers, who are sympathetic to the Swamp Thing’s plight, actually see Swamp Thing as a monster. Man, I don’t even need to open the comic to see those jagged panels, that extreme close-up of Swamp Thing’s face as he’s screaming in rage. That probably should have been on the list.

I also almost included Polite Scott‘s mention of the Monkey King, a creature from Jack Kirby’s Demon series that makes a return appearance in Alan Moore’s ST run. The sequence of the different fears that it forms, mentioned by Scott, are indeed scary, but I remember getting bit of a chill when we first see the Monkey King in its normal form: just a small, white monkey, looking up at you. Don’t know why it bothered me like that, but it did.

There’s another bit that I probably should have mentioned, since it’s one of the first things I think of when I ponder that period of Swamp Thing…those latter Marty Pasko issues, just before Moore took over, with Steve Bissette and John Totleben on art. Those insanely horrifying monsters that are randomly attacking Swamp Thing and his pals, that we later find out are creations of Matt Cable’s mind…I’d not seen bizarre monsters like that in comics before, and they really stuck themselves in my brain. (And, on a related topic…when we see Cable in that same issue, whom we haven’t seen since the original ’70s series, drunken, unshaven, slurring his words. Very upsetting.)

Anyway, thanks for your contributions, folks…it makes me want to pull the comics out of the vast Mikester Comic Archives and read them again, for like the two-dozenth time. And if you haven’t read them yourselves…do yourself a favor and check them out! Yes, even you, Kitty!

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