Oh, sure, I’ll talk more about Swamp Thing.

§ May 18th, 2011 § Filed under statues, swamp thing § 11 Comments

So in the comments section of yesterday’s post, both readers Matthew and academia’s foremost booty-ologist “Professor Booty” asked about the origins of my Swamp Thing fandom.

Not a whole lot to tell, really. I didn’t discover Swamp Thing until a few years after the original run of the series wrapped up in ’76, but a bit before the relaunch in ’82. And I didn’t encounter Swamp Thing through comic books, but rather by television! I’ve mentioned it before, but my initial encounter with my favorite swamp monster came via a television show called Video Comics, which aired on the Nickelodeon cable channel during the very early years of its existence (late 1970s/early 1980s).

The show would open with video of kids riding bicycles through the city streets, while Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” played over the scenes, ending with…well, I don’t specifically remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s something like the kids ending up at a store and excitedly pulling comics off a rack. And then the actual show would begin, presenting various comic book stories one static panel at a time onscreen, with the dialogue and narration being read by actors. Among the comics featured on the show were Green Lantern, the Flash, Adam Strange, and, yes, Swamp Thing. (Also featured were Sugar & Spike, another favorite series of mine introduced to me by this show.)

I couldn’t tell you for sure which issues of Swamp Thing I specifically saw on Video Comics, but I think it was issue #9 (the one with the alien), and almost certainly the first issue, with the origin.

As for the actual comic books themselves…at about the time I was discovering Swamp Thing on TV, my dad and I were in the habit of frequenting local used book stores, and one of these stores had boxes of old comics. It was there that I bought my first two issues of Swamp Thing: issue #16 (the zombie issue), and issue #23, the issue where they started to make Swampy into a superhero.

I’ve been asked before here on the site “why Swamp Thing?” and…I don’t know that I ever really articulated a reasonable answer. Part of it is the quality of the art and writing…especially the art, since Berni(e) Wrightson’s work really was something else. So detailed you could lose yourself in it. And I think part of it was the tragic tone to the Swamp Thing character, giving him a little more dramatic weight than his cape-clad associates in the superhero books. And part of it was that I’ve always enjoyed the horror and sci-fi genres, probably due to having a childhood that took place during the 1970s, where horror and sci-fi pretty much permeated the entertainment menu.

Hopefully that clarifies my Swamp Thing fandom a bit.

There’s another question in yesterday’s comments, from reader Alex, who is curious about my reference to two Swamp Thing statues. Yes, there is that full-sized 12-inch Swamp Thing statue based on the Michael Zulli painting, with flowers in his hands (or as his hands, rather)…which was also the basis for the first DC Direct Swamp Thing action figure. But there was indeed a second statue, a 6-inch version of the 12-inch statue, released when DC started doing “mini” versions of some of their out-of-print statues. Yes, I do have both statues, the big ol’ Swamp Thing and his pal Mini-Me.

I also have the DC Direct figure. And its glow-in-the-dark variant. And all the Swamp Thing figures from the 1990 cartoon line. Including the glow-in-the-dark figure from that series.

I have two different glow-in-the-dark Swamp Thing action figures. This is what happens when you live your life properly.

11 Responses to “Oh, sure, I’ll talk more about Swamp Thing.”

  • Anonymous says:

    Will next week’s Green Arrow #12 feature Swamp Thing’s third Brightest Day appearance, after B.D. #23-24?

  • You aren’t the only one who was turned onto Swamp Ting and Sugar and Spike by that show.

    I think at least half of the first 14 issues of Swamp Thing were adapted for Video Comics. In addition to what you mentioned, I recall the issue #1, Batman issue, the Ravenwind Witches story, and the oh-so-creepy #15 with the radioactive albino kids.

    And how can you talk about Video Comics and not bring up Space Cabbie, Ultra, Space Ranger and Cryll, and the Three Mouseketeers?

    Seriously, that show was the best possible overview of the highlights of Silver Age DC. I was always frustrated that, during the credits, they showed a close up of Firestorm, but never featured it on the show.

  • I first got into Swamp Thing just after the start of his 2nd series, and bought ’em all – and then being floored by Alan Moore’s eventual retooling.

    I lost interest some years later, because it seemed they kept trying to retool and buld upon Moore’s retool.
    It just seemed convoluted and redundant (and/or self-negating).

    Still like Swampy, but not as much as Man-Thing.

    Anyway, I am always interested in hearing about what impetus started readers/collectors on their individual roads to comics.
    Especially as it pertains to their liking and reading/collecting of their own favorite character(s).

    See? That Video Comics show sounds awesome!
    Sadly, I’ve never heard of it, but will now search the interwebs for a sampling.

    I had posted my own “origin tale” of my comic’s reading a while back on my own blog (detailing my primary love of MAN-THING, Dr. Strange and ROM: Spaceknight).

    For anyone who is interested in reading and sharing
    (because there’s an “interactive component”) in the mutual mania we call “funnybooks on the brain”, feel free to pop over.


    “Sorcerers, Spacemen & Swamp Beasts; “Oh, My!”
    – or –
    Dorkwin; The Origin of the Geeksies.”

    Here’s the linkee:

    A companion piece would be this foray into my collector’s habit of buying many tangentially related comics and swag that pertain to my faves.


    “The method to the madness
    the 6-Dimensions of Doctor Strange”

    That link can be found here:

    And lastly, an insight as to how the morality plays in comics helped shape me to being who I am today, I posted this one recently;


    “Has a Lifetime of Reading Comics Made Me a Hero…
    Or Merely a Decent Human Being?
    Fredric Wertham was a “glass half-empty” kind of guy”




  • Rich says:

    First I’ve heard of Video Comics and I can’t find a sample on YouTube. Had no idea such a think existed.

  • buzz says:

    re your current avatar in the upper right corner: When did Thor fight a giant Zippy the Pinhead?

  • Mikester says:

    Rich – I did a brief check for online videos of this show, too, and nada.

    Buzz – Apparently sometime during the 1970s, in a foreign land! http://www.comics.org/issue/410580/cover/4/

  • Professor Booty says:

    Thank you, Sir. This is the origin story I’ve been waiting for. A true “Because you demanded it!” type of moment.

  • Alex says:

    Mike –

    Thanks for the info on the statues (and your Swamp Thing fandom, of course).

    Naturally, the guy who asked you about the Swamp Thing statues also had that 1990 glow-in-the-dark Swamp Thing action figure. It somehow lost one of it’s legs, and went on to live for years in our freezer in the garage with the Mr. Freeze action figure that turned purple-ish when it got cold.

  • In Toronto we never got to see Video Comics, but we did get Red Green and Prisoners of Gravity! Terrific interviews and a more adult look at the medium of Comics.

  • T.F. says:

    Do you have the awesome 90s cartoon swamp playset? I frequently “tubbed” with it as a lad.

  • Casie says:

    I love this story of you and Swampy, always been curious. Do you have a Swamp Thing shrine area, or is it just sprinkled around your whole house? I’d like to imagine both.