At the very least, I’d like to see an animated version of House of Secrets #92.

§ February 14th, 2017 § Filed under cartoons, movie reviews, swamp thing § 5 Comments

So pretty much in every media adaptation of Swamp Thing, be it cartoon or live action TV show or two fantastic movies or video game, hearing him refer to himself out loud as “Swamp Thing” always sounds just a little goofy. Some kind of weird combination of self-importance and “…seriously, that’s the name you’re going by?” And look, I’m saying this as the guy that, some of you may know, kinda likes this Swamp Thing character. But sometimes, something that reads okay on paper just doesn’t seem to translate to actual spoken out-loud dialogue, and, well, what can you do. And maybe they hit the “I AM THE PROTECTOR OF THE GREEN” thing a little too hard. Still, though, it was nice to see an animated Swamp Thing that had purpose beyond selling toys. Would love to see a standalone Swamp Thing animated movie at some point, but it would have to probably have to shoehorn Batman or Superman into it like they do with pretty much all the direct-to-home-video DC cartoons, like they did with this one, so I’m not holding my breath.

Oh, and by the way, “this one” is Justice League Dark, as some of you probably surmised, teaming up DC’s spooky characters, like Deadman, the Demon, Zatanna, and John Constantine, mispronouncing his name as they have in, I think, every TV and movie version of him:

…but What Can You Do? Despite that particular issue only I care about, I enjoyed the film well enough. It’s still weird seeing Constantine just straight-up casting magical spells like Dr. Fate in an overcoat, which is not something you saw him really do too much in the early comics but is perhaps a bit more frequent in modern funnybooks. But beyond that, it was a good showcase for all the characters, all of whom got something to do, with a variety of action sequences and creepy locations, but that one scene with the cast being chased by a hurricane with a face felt more like something out of Scooby-Doo There was just enough left unexplained in characters’ backgrounds to maybe urge the more inquisitive viewers to Read More About It. Hopefully in the comics, that is, and not just on Wikipedia.

As mentioned above, Batman does appear in the film to help sell it to people for whom the “Justice League” in the title isn’t enough to entice them, but other JLA members appear as well. Alas, though we’ve all moved on to the “Rebirth” era in the comics, the movies are still in their “New 52” phase, so that’s the Superman we get, whose New 52 costume is somehow even worse in animation than it is on the page. Fortunately he’s not in there that much, since that costume more than anything dates the film (to, like, the early ’90s, frankly). Wonder Woman’s New 52-era costume makes an appearance, too, though that’s slightly more tolerable.

I haven’t really gone through the extra features (available on the Blu-ray version) just yet, beyond the “Story of Swamp Thing” short, in which Len Wein and Kelley Jones discuss the character’s origins and history. There are other short pieces titled “Did You Know? CONSTANTINE ORIGIN” and “Casting Deadman” and the like, plus a preview of the New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract cartoon, originally announced years ago, which is finally coming out. (Not that it was made years ago and has been sitting on a shelf, but…well, you know what I mean.) There are also the usual “From the DC Vault” cartoons, this time a couple of episodes of The Brave and the Bold featuring the Demon.

…And speaking of Deadman, Nick Turturro does the perfect voice for him. I don’t know that I ever imagined what Deadman would sound like as I was reading the comics, but now this is the voice. So great.

Overall, an enjoyable film, I thought. Not really expecting a sequel, despite the fact it would be nice to see some…resolution to the seemingly final fates for some of the characters. But, despite what I said above about the possibility, I’m still holding on to that faint hope that maybe, just maybe, now that we’ve cracked the seal, we might see some kind of solo Swamp Thing animated effort. Well, even if it does have to guest-star Batman…whatever it takes, I guess.

5 Responses to “At the very least, I’d like to see an animated version of House of Secrets #92.”

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    In case you have missed it, I note that there is a Man-Thing movie entitled WHERE MONSTERS DWELL currently streaming on Netflix. Well, actually it is a Hulk/Doctor Strange movie, but Man-Thing is in it. It’s…okay, as long as you can make allowance for the facts that a) it is aimed squarely at kids, and b) the animation budget seems to have slightly less than that of the average “Clutch Cargo” episode.

    Of course, I am not suggesting that all swamp monsters are alike, and one will do just as well as another. I just thought this might tide you over while waiting for that solo Swamp Thing movie.

    By the way: Am I correct in guessing that your Atlas collection began with Bog Beast’s appearances?

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    By the way, has everyone seen the news that the CW is now developing a Katy Keene show, and is even thinking about the Mighty Crusaders?

    I presume this means that RIVERDALE is doing well. I am glad of this, for I want the series to last at least until December, so that it can have an appearance by Jingles the Elf.

  • Not necessarily, Turan, he might well have begun with Morlock 2001.

    And here’s where I thank you, Mike, for that post about the Ditko-Wrightson issue of Morlock 2001. What a fine comic!

  • Erik Nelson says:

    Another recent swamp monster film is STORMY TEMPEST: CARESS OF THE MOSS MONSTER, part of “The Bill Black Collection”. It’s filmed in SpectraColorVision and up for sale on ebay by “Red Mask”, along with other (seemingly) crazed films featuring superheroines, jungle adventuresses and giantesses. I’m tempted to watch at least one of these films, but I’m also afraid.

  • Harvey Jerkwater says:

    “Swamp Thing” is a bit rude, yeah. It would be great if Swampy were ever asked what he preferred to be called.