Oh, sure, let’s talk about Swamp Thing for a bit.

§ August 18th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing, swamp thing § 11 Comments

The fellow with one of the greatest handles ever, Professor Booty, asks in the comments to yesterday’s post

“I own exactly 0 Swamp Thing comics. I became quite interested in the character through your blog, but I don’t wanna read all that current stuff – I’d much rather grab some tradepaperbacks or other collected back issues. What would you recommend? I’m all for the (pretty) easily available & quintessential Swamp Thing stuff to get me going.”

The best two books to start with are these:

Roots of the Swamp Thing: this is available in hardcover right now, and in softcover in a few months (it’s only a $10 difference…get the hardcover!). This reprints the original House of Secrets short, and the first thirteen issues of the original series, which comprises all the stories written by ST cocreator Len Wein, the ten issues drawn by the other cocreator Bernie Wrightson, and three issues drawn by Nestor Redondo. The overall story arc comes to an end of sorts, with a nice send-off by Wein in the last chapter that harkens back to the House of Secrets debut. But this will show you how it all started, and what the status quo of the character is…

…so that when it’s totally blown apart in the second book I’m recommending, Saga of the Swamp Thing hardcover volume one, you feel its full impact. I’m recommending the hardcover versus the softcover edition because 1) the hardcover includes issue #20 of Saga of the Swamp Thing, which is Alan Moore’s first issue but not reprinted prior to this. It was seen more as an end to the previous storyline and not a suitable beginning to a trade paperback, which was crazy talk, frankly; and 2) there was a production issue with a caption being dropped off from the end of issue #24 (“…And meet the sun”) in prior reprintings, which is now fixed in the hardcover. (I think it wasn’t there in earlier printings of the hardcover, so you may want to check.) EDIT 8/21: I totally lied…it’s fixed in the recent edition of the paperback but the Saga of hardcover is still missing the caption. Sorry, my memory is apparently…um, something.

Ideally, if you can get your hands on issues #16 – #19 of Saga of the Swamp Thing, which have never been reprinted in trade form (as far as I know, at least in the U.S.), you probably should. These are the issues that reintroduce Swamp Thing’s arch-nemesis Arcane, and also bring aboard the art team of Steve Bissette and John Totleben, who are as responsible for Swampy’s later success and critical acclaim as Moore was. It is this Arcane story that Saga #20 was the epilog for. (You can probably skip #18, which reprinted issue #10 of the original series, but still had a new framing sequence by the new crew.)

And that’s not just for Professor Booty. I expect all of you reading this right now to rush out and buy these. I want your book reports on my desk by Monday.

In other Swamp Thing news:

  • Also pointed out in yesterday’s comments by Professor Booty is this contribution to the “DC Fifty-Too” project (where artists create their own covers for theoretically-relaunched DC #1s). …I’m trying to think if Swamp Thing and the Creeper ever met, or were even in the same panel (like in a Crisis tie-in) or on the same cover or something, at some point. Up way too late and am way too tired to think of any right now, but one of you smart people out there will remind me if such a thing exists.
  • Chris sent me a note pointing me in the direction of this swell sketch of…Man-Thing? Well, it’s not Swamp Thing, but it’ll do, it’ll do.

11 Responses to “Oh, sure, let’s talk about Swamp Thing for a bit.”

  • They were definitely on the Monitor’s satellite at the same time, which would mean that they were in one of those big Perez two-page splashes together, and Creeper appeared in the Crisis issue of ST (#46?), though I don’t recall them exchanging any pleasantries or anything.

  • I should have mentioned this before.

    Last Sunday’s episodes of THE GLADES (A&E cop show set in Florida) was titled “Swamp Thing.”

    They should reboot DC’s Swamp Thing as some folksy but brilliant police chief in the bayou. Maybe with a son who can learn valuable lessons about life from him.

  • Heapin' Helpuh says:

    Did you read The Heap by Moonstone yet???

  • philfromgermany says:

    Thanks for pointing me to that DC-FiftyTwo blog, it’s great. The cover for Unexpected was sooo awesome! :D

  • That the first Bissette/Totleben issues of Swamp Thing have never been reprinted is a shame. Maybe it’s just me, but the dynamic quality of their art really seemed to have a positive impact on Pasko’s writing.

  • Professor Booty says:

    Thanks Mike! I knew this was the best place to ask for this sort of advice. I’ll be getting those come payday.

  • Jonathan says:

    Hi Mike,

    Just wanted to make sure you’ve seen this bit of Swampy goodness.

  • MrJM says:

    “as far as I know”

    When Mike Sterling uses this qualifier with regard to matters of the Swamp Thing, isn’t it the equivalent of saying “in this or any other known universe”?

    — MrJM

  • Mr. JR says:

    Thanks for linking my sketch! Was rather presently surprised to see that while browsing about this afternoon.

  • C. Elam says:

    Mike Sterling is my go-to guy when it comes to swamp monsters. This is a fact.

  • Casie says:

    SWAMP THING: see Mike Sterling