Hold on, I’m pretty sure the horse isn’t quite dead yet.

§ May 19th, 2011 § Filed under swamp thing § 6 Comments

So you had more questions in response to my answers to your previous questions, and I’ll get to that in a moment, but first…

…hey, there are preview pages for the first issue of Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing in the back of this week’s DC Comics! It’s only three pages, and Swamp Thing himself doesn’t appear (or directly appear) in them. Mostly it’s John Constantine, wondering what the deal was with Swamp Thing killing all those industrialists at the end of Brightest Day #24 and clearly something isn’t right with that (you see, I told you). Also, there’s a specific reference to a Vertigo-era storyline, so the DCU Swamp Thing and the Vertigo Swamp Thing seem to be sharing the same continuity, at least to some extent (as opposed to the Marvel Universe and Max Punishers, which are mostly distinct). I was wondering how DC was going to address that.

Anyway, what little I’ve seen of this comic looks okay…though, admittedly, I’m not the most unbiased person when it comes to Swamp Thing comics, since that is my specific fanboy trigger. Tim O’Neil once asked me on the Twitter “which is better – no new Swamp Thing comics or new and mediocre Swamp Thing comics?” and I honestly don’t know the answer. I mean, I’m not a complete chowderhead…I know the difference between a good Swamp Thing comic and a bad Swamp Thing comic, and the difference between a good Swamp Thing movie and a…okay, there’s no such thing as a bad Swamp Thing movie, but you get the idea. But I can apparently wring enjoyment even out of the lesser Swamp Thing comics while still appreciating the heights of the really good Swamp Thing comics, simply because I am such a fan of the character. I endure the lows, enjoy the highs, just to follow the ongoing saga.

Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever read a really, really bad Swamp Thing comic, one where I couldn’t enjoy it in the slightest…even the comic I linked above as a “bad” example was still interesting, if disappointing. Again, however, that’s probably my own bias talking. Even the last two issues of the original series, the generally reviled “superhero” issues, hold a fascination for me, a combination of interest in the publishing decisions made to keep a faltering property going, along with a simple nostalgic pleasure of reading this strange new twist in the Swamp Thing storyline.

That doesn’t really answer O’Neil’s question, aside from demonstrating the pattern that I will happily read any Swamp Thing comic, regardless of quality. On the other hand, I think the brief publishing break for the character was a good idea, as the multiple Vertigo series attempted to out-Vertigo each other and it seemed like that particular “mature audiences” version of Swamp Thing had pretty much played itself out. Bringing Swamp Thing back to the DC Universe may very well result in mediocre stories, but the simple novelty of having the character interacting with superheroes again is enough to keep my attention, even if only to see what publishing decisions are made to keep a faltering property going.

[FANBOY MODE ON] Plus I totally get to see Swamp Thing do stuff and fight guys! [FANBOY MODE OFF]

• • •

At long last…to your questions!

Anonymous asks

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

I haven’t the foggiest. I’m guessing “no,” if only because it looks like there’s a straight line from the storyline hints dropped in Brightest Day #24 to the Search for Swamp Thing #1, and a detour for Swampy into Green Arrow would likely require addressing certain plot points that belong in the Search series. But who knows?

Patrick asks

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

I almost mentioned the Three Mouseketeers, but couldn’t entirely remember if they had been on there. And now that you mention it, I do remember most of the rest…particular Ultra the Multi-Alien, as that was where I was introduced to that character, too!

~P~ doesn’t have a question so much as some links to his own discussions of entries into various fandoms, so if you liked what I was writing about yesterday, find ~P~’s links right here.

T.F. wonders

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

Sadly, I did not get the ’90s Swamp Thing cartoon playsets, which is totally stupid because I remember seeing them on the shelves at closeout prices and thinking “should I buy those…? Nah, I don’t really have the room, and I’m sure all those blog readers I’ll have twenty years from now will understand.”

I want them now, though. Stupid 20-years-ago me! I hate that guy!

Pal Casie, the swell gal who gifted me with this awesome Swampy ornament, asks

“Do you have a Swamp Thing shrine area, or is it just sprinkled around your whole house? I’d like to imagine both.”

No, not really a shrine as such. We have a toy room, of sorts, which…okay, frankly, we’re still kind of working on it, but the girlfriend has her ten thousand Spider-Man toys to eventually be put on display, and I have some of my Swamp Thing figures up in there too, plus miscellaneous other toys and action figures that will someday be unpacked from the moving boxes shoved into the closet way back when and we never seem to get around to reopening.

And we have a big ol’ wood ‘n’ glass cabinet in the dining room area, which is where my two Swamp Thing statues and my Uncle Scrooge McDuck statue live.

Somewhere, hopefully, either in my parents’ garage, or perhaps in some cranny somewhere in my own home, there is a large cardboard “SWAMP THING TOY HEADQUARTERS” sign given to me by a customer who once worked for a retail toy chain, and was produced by the manufacturer of the ’90s Swamp Thing toy line for display in one of those freestanding metal frame poster-sign thingies. No idea what happened to it, and I’m half-afraid it got lost in a move, but I still hold out hope it’ll turn up someday. Because if it does, it’s totally getting nailed to the front door.

6 Responses to “Hold on, I’m pretty sure the horse isn’t quite dead yet.”

  • Tim O'Neil says:

    Did you ever read (of course I’m sure you did, somewhere along the line) Gail Simone’s description of her aborted pitch for a Swamp Thing relaunch a a few years’ back? Her description sounded like it could well have been the weirdest Swamp Thing comic ever published, for better or for worse.

    She was also good at sneaking old Swamp Thing villains back into the DCU in her ATOM series, too, now that I recall.

  • Rich Handley says:

    By the way, Mike, your essay is one I wish I’d written. You pretty much nailed how I feel about the character–and the issues you specified as being the weakest (the two superhero issues and Quest for the Elementals) are the ones I’d consider the weakest as well. The latter is almost unreadable. Almost. There’s ALWAYS something to enjoy from a Swamp Thing comic.

  • Bill Reed says:

    I have the transducer *and* the swamp-y playset lying around in the basement somewhere. Do I own Swamp Thing merchandise Sterling doesn’t? Have I won the internet?

    Then again, I’m not sure if I still have them or not. I totally did own them at one point, though.

  • Pal Cully says:

    Beautiful Swampy cover tribute.

  • Casie says:

    Thank you kind sir for answering my question, sounds like a swell set up. I’m in full support of toy rooms, especially when they have things like Swamp Thing and Spider-Man in them :)