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How much sin must a man commit in a single lifetime to end up with two Return of Swamp Thing enamel pins?

§ January 31st, 2024 § Filed under pal plugging, podcast, swamp thing § 2 Comments

So a while back, I was a Kickstarter backer for the Rifftrax-ed version of the 1989 cinematic classic The Return of Swamp Thing, now currently available here. As part of my Kickstartering package, I received the following enamel pin:

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Brook (the same one who turned me on to this piece of Nancy art I bought, as well as this “Nobody Loves the Hulk” record) came back from a trip to Georgia, where he visited the Graveface Museum. While there, he picked up for me…a Return of Swamp Thing enamel pin:

Both clearly inspired by the film’s classy and sedate movie posters:

…of which that’s one, and you can see others here (where you can see which posters provided inspiration for which pin). Do I have a Return of Swamp Thing poster? You bet! Do I have the one that has the words “Sheer Nightgowns!” in a balloon burst? I’m afraid so.

And is that all the new Swamp Thing stuff your pal Mike has in his hands? Why no, of course not, thanks to my little envelope-stuffing bull pal, Bully, who mailed me this sticker designed by comics superstar Kyle Starks:

The real mystery here, of course, is how did Bully hold the pen with his little hooves when addressing the letter? Anyway, a big thanks to Bully for this surprise gift!

AND WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Longtime pals Matt and Chris have reached episode #666 of their longrunning podcast War Rocket Ajax! To celebrate this most diabolically evil of achievements, the Bits Boys called for contributions to their regular “Thursday Night Raw” segment revolving around Hell, demons, and all sorts of other deviltry. For those unfamiliar, this segment seeks to find and rank the “rawest” moments in comics.

I had an entry ready to submit for a while now, but never got around to it…but this seemed like the opportune time given the theme. My entry, of course, being from Swamp Thing Annual #2 (1985) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben, in which Swamp Thing, having journeyed to Hell to rescue Abby, encounters his old nemesis Arcane:

Perhaps…too raw? What do Matt & Chris think of my submission? Other than probably being glad I didn’t make another Frank Miller’s The Spirit joke? You’ll have to listen to find out!

(Also, for the benefit of the boys who appear to have forgotten…I have been a sponsor of the show! Granted, it’s been five years…probably about time to do so again!)

House of Secrets #92? Only ten bucks.

§ November 13th, 2023 § Filed under retailing, swamp thing § 5 Comments

Thanks to reader John for sending along another addition to my “homages to House of Secrets #92″ collection:

(Art by Don Cardenas and Steve Bryant.)

This comes this Kickstarter campaign, which makes me wish I had more money and more time to peruse Kickstarter for swell projects like this. I am unsure how to purchases copies of this outside of Kickstarter, so maybe keep an eye out for a campaign for issue #3? Or I’ll ask John and see if he can point me in the right direction.

Speaking of purchasing, John also sent me this 1977 Supersnipe comics ‘n’ art catalog:

Imagine getting an Amazing Spider-Man #1 (either version here) for this cheap:

I recently had both of these and they sold for a little bit more than these listed prices.

And check this out — three Peanuts originals for under $600 for the lot:

Yes, I know this is all in 1970s dollars, back when you could buy a car for a nickel and houses were basically free, but it’s still — amusing? Is “amusing” the right word here? How ’bout “depresing” — to see these dollar amounts attached to these items. And I just barely scratched the surface here…there are just pages and pages of price listings that I’m pretty sure will keep me shaking my head in mild disbelief for hours on end.

Giving you the kind of book you want.

§ June 16th, 2023 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing § 5 Comments

At long last…Official Pal of the Site Rich Handley (of “In The Special Features on Planet of the Apes DVDs” fame) has finished his comprehensive overview of pre-Flashpoint Swamp Thing and will be coming to us in book form.

Born on the Bayou: A Pre-Flashpoint Chronology of Swamp Thing and Hellblazer (or BOTBAPFCOSTAH for short) will be shambling its way out of the marsh this September. Rich sent me an advance copy of the manuscript, and I can guarantee, if it’s not in this book, it’s not Swamp Thing or John Constantine-related. It has a foreword by famed Swamp Thing artist (and my Close Personal Friend) Steve Bissette! And I hear tell that I personally may be referenced more than a few times in the book itself! Just look in the index for “Swamp Thing, Best Friend of…” and there I’ll be.

But seriously, it’s a great book, a teeming repository of Swamp Thing knowledge you’ll lose yourself in. Check it out this fall, and tell them…well, don’t tell them Mike sent you, that’d be weird. Just tell ’em “gimme that swamp book, I gots to start readin’!”

Also, the cover of the book feels strange.

§ January 4th, 2023 § Filed under swamp thing § 7 Comments

So the other oversized omnibus-type book I picked up this year is one containing stories that I already have in multiple formats, but had to have ’em in this one! It’s Absolute Swamp Thing, reprinting the first thirteen issues of the original 1970s series, which comprises all of cocreator Len Wein’s scripts. Other cocreator Bernie Wrightson draws the first ten, with Nestor Redondo on the other three.

I had a hard time finding good pics of what the actual item looks like from the distributor sites, so here I am with my nigh-expert photography skills.

The slipcase edition reuses the wraparound cover from the Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint mini-series:

Here’s the back, with a close-up of the hype sticker there:

The cover of the book itself is quite impressive…just look at this front cover:

And here’s the back, with a close-up:

The inner covers/endpapers are quite nice as well…here they are, with guest-appearances of my fingers:

And to the stories themselves, there was color restoration (by Jose Villabrubia), which I haven’t compared to the other reprints of this work yet, but boy it looks great:

I’ve said about similar reprints of older books that it always looks weird when comics I’ve seen for years on yellowing paper are reproduced on shiny white slick pages. But the colors are produced appropriately, not bright and garish. It still looks a little weird to my eyes, but it’s all still great.

I forgot to mention that the book does include the first Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets #92 is included, so this is, like, the 20th reprint of that story I have? Something like that.

There’s a lot more in this volume, like photos of Wein/Wrightson, their widows providing new introductions, lots of reproductions of original art, that sort of thing. Also featured is some original art from that aborted Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing reunion comic.

Like I said, I have all these comics, in multiple formats, but it is nice to have it all in a larger format that’s easier on my ol’ eyes.

The original Twilight Zone, not the other one. Or the other other one. Or the other other other one. Or the movie.

§ October 5th, 2022 § Filed under swamp thing § 14 Comments

So I’d been using the DC Comics digital comics app to revisit the 1980s Saga of the Swamp Thing series…not like I haven’t read them a million times before, but it’s been a while. Plus, it’s nice being able to blow up panels good ‘n’ big on the iPad in order to enjoy a clear view of the linework and the details.

Like, for example, this panel from #19, taken from a flashback being related by Matt Cable and his abduction at the hands of a government agency. I suppose Shemp could’ve made a good fourth figure, but ol’ Julius is perfectly fine:

And from issue #16, a whole slew of Twilight Zone references throughout the issue (appropriate for the very TZ-ish tone of this story), including these two panels crammed full of them:

And a good cameo of Mr. Rod Serling himself in that second illo.

Speaking of the DC app and Swamp Thing, the problems noted in this post of mine from just over four years ago (the missing last line from #24, the dropped “color hold” from #21) are still there. Regardless, I enjoyed re-perusing those nearly 40-year-old friends of mine.

• • •

Been short on evening blogging time, so posts are a little light in content, so sorry about that. Should be back to normal Friday. Thanks for reading, pals.

images from Saga of the Swamp Thing #16 (August 1983) and #19 (December 1983) by Marty Pasko, Steve Bissette and John Totleben

“Horror we? How’s….”

§ September 21st, 2022 § Filed under swamp thing § 3 Comments

So if you remember this post about the Swamp Thing “Battle for the Bayou” board game (and why wouldn’t you, surely you’ve been reading this blog for 18 years), some of these drawings may appear familiar to you.

Occasionally I’ll troll through the eBay listings for Swamp Thing stuff, seeing if there’s anything new to catch my eye (despite the fact that after Swamp Thing Chalk it’s all downhill). But I did spot these pieces of production art, apparently by Mario Menjavar and Alfredo Alcala (according to the listings) for the board game and other merch being offered for sale. I was tempted, but I think I blew my original art-purchasing budget for the decade, so alas I shall have to be satisfied with these saved scans. All pics of bad guys from the cartoon and toy line, so enjoy, starting with Arcane pre- and post-monstrous transformation:

And here are a bunch of Arcane’s Un-Men (alas, no Cranius to be had):

Neat, right? What I wouldn’t give for that last guy to turn up in the comics.

This is a terrible Fourth of July post.

§ July 4th, 2022 § Filed under collecting, swamp thing § 3 Comments

So I was looking at one of those “here are the hot comics!” apps that some collectors are using in place of t heir own want lists, because I’m trying to keep on top of when some comic is dubbed by the investment gods as The New Thing and I can gird myself for the onslaught of phone calls and emails from folks all asking for the same item.

At any rate, on a whim, I looked at the various Swamp Thing entries, as I seemed to recall some discrepancy or ‘nother the last time I looked. And yup, here it is, in the listing for Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 (1984):

The “new origin” bit is correct, but the first appearance notation is way off. (And gotta be honest, totally forgot about the New 52 “Seeder” incarnation of the character, which is fine because I bet he won’t be called that the next we see him, if ever.)

Anyhoo, Jason Woodrue, the Plant Master, first popped up as an Atom villain in the first issue of the diminutive hero’s own series in 1962. There he is on the cover in the selfsame hot comics app that listed Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 as his debut:

And then I thought “oh, well, maybe they mean the first time he was referred to as the Floronic Man, or the first time he looked all planty.” And nope, I knew neither of those were the case. I mean, it says right there in the Atom #1 listing…he transformed from the normal human appearance into his plant form in Flash #245 (1976). Here’s the app’s entry for that comic:

…which is the form in which I first encountered the character, in Justice League of America #195 (1981):

And then there was the Steve Bissette/John Totleben redesign of the character, first appearing in that Saga of the Swamp Thing #21, and as pictured here from #24:

Unless that’s what they meant by “first appearance,” the first time this particular design of the character appeared, I’m gonna say that app’s entry for Saga of That There Swamp Thang #21 is “human error” and needs to be corrected. Though I wonder if someone out there heavily dependent on the app has their copy of #21 marked with a big “FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE FLORONIC MAN!” tag.

Actually, don’t need to wonder…hello “Top Rated Plus” eBay seller with this listing:

The desperate quest to establish “first appearances” for maximum collectability can be a weird and wild one, leading to contradictory and erroneous information getting out there. Thus, the moral of the story is…TRUST NO ONE. Except me, your pal Mike.

Oh, and I saw this, too, in the entry for Saga of the Swamp Thing #25:

Augh, don’t get me started (because I already did start back in 2004 in this link-rotted post). And even the app in the entry for #37 says

Hoo boy.

Not really Eisner-winning.

§ May 23rd, 2022 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the “international” (i.e. uncut) edition of the classic Swamp Thing movie was released on Blu-ray in the UK.

Lemme ‘splain. When it came time for the initial release of the first Swamp Thing movie to DVD, instead of using the U.S. theatrical release (which contained a minor amount of Topless Adrienne Barbeau), they used a somewhat longer cut (by a couple of minutes) featuring Slightly More Topless Adrienne Barbeau, along with a scene featuring (for some reason) a gaggle of topless dancers. I of course go into detail about the situation in this Eisner award-winning post from 2006.

Well anyway, that edition of the DVD was pulled from the market, and later replaced by actual U.S. theatrical cut without the extra nekkidness. The one improvement of the newer DVD was that it was anamorphic, so the picture filled up your widescreen TV. Alas, that uncut edition was not, so all that extra, um, stuff was relegated to a rectangular box in the middle of your screen.

Eventually, that first Swamp Thing movie did get rereleased in a Blu-ray edition, and while there was some hope it would be the 93-minute uncut version, it ended up being the regular 91 minute flick. I talked a tiny bit about the Blu-ray when it came out back in 2013, and it’s a bit alarming to realize that was almost 9 years ago. (Still haven’t listened to those commentary tracks by the way.)

Anyway, I found out somewhere (I don’t even remember where, the act of finding out must have caused traumatic amnesia) that the uncut version was released on Blu-ray in the UK by 88 Films. You know, like I said at the top there. And did I order it right away? Oh yes I did. And here it is:

I bought it from an eBay seller, who asked me after I made the purchase if I was aware it was a UK disc that would only work on players that could accept Region 2 discs. As I had recently acquired a multi-region player, I let him know it was all good.

At this point he mentioned that he had been selling a lot of these, to which I replied “oh, here’s why” and gave him a short version of the above. Yes, I can achieve brevity when I want to, I know it’s hard to believe. He did not know about the initial DVD release and eventual replacement, and thanked me for the info! Also, there’s no real good way to explain you’re buying the UK edition of Swamp Thing to get the restored footage that features extra nudity without sounding like a real creep. I said “LOOK, I’M A SWAMP THING COLLECTOR!” which seemed to amuse him. I did get this nice note with the item:

I haven’t had a chance to properly watch it yet, but I did pop the two versions into the player and saw that there are different special features between the two versions. The interviews with the actors and creator Len Wein that were on the U.S. disc are not on the UK version, and the UK edition has a featurette about the comic/film connection discussed by a British film critic. The makeup artist’s commentary track on the U.S. disc is not on the UK one, but the UK edition does have an interview with the production designer. Both discs have commentary tracks from Wes Craven, but the UK disc says its Craven commentary has a moderator, so I suspect these are different recordings. I’ll know for sure once I give ’em a listen. Finally, a reason to get around to them!

One other thing I noticed is that, like the U.S. edition, the UK release contains both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film. However, while the Blu-ray is the 93 minute “UNCUT AND UNCENSORED EUROPEAN CUT” (as it says in all caps on the back of the case), the DVD is “89 mins approx.” So it looks like you’re getting both versions of the movie with this package.

Anyway, nice to have the complete film on Blu-ray, which is about as nice as it’s going to get until the 4K 3-D version comes out, at which point I’ll have to buy a new TV just to be able to keep watching Swamp Thing in the best possible way. And, as a warning to anyone of you young’uns over there in Jolly Ol’ thinking about buying or watching this movie for yourselves:

…sorry, must be this high to ride this movie. Come back in a few years, kid.

Start off your week with a cute Swamp Thing.

§ March 21st, 2022 § Filed under low content mode, pal dorian, swamp thing § 2 Comments

So that’s my little Swamp Thingie, gifted to me by pal Dorian. Neat, huh? Just a few inches tall, and I took that picture after I closed Sunday night and had turned some of the lights off, but it makes it good ‘n’ moody. Thanks, Dor!

As I noted last week, I have some early morning appointments throughout the week, so my blogging will be pretty slim again for a few days. Hopefully this is the end of it for a while, unless things go horribly wrong. I’ll be back Friday with more stuff. Thanks for reading, pals, and I’ll be back soon!

Fifteen years ago I would have had my rake and torch out.

§ September 17th, 2021 § Filed under swamp thing § 5 Comments

I almost don’t even want to talk about this now, after tweeting about it the other day and then doing an audio post about it on my Patreon. But someone’s seemingly silly assertion that “men only read Swamp Thing to feel smart by getting the literary references” is…quite the reach, to be honest.

I’ve never heard that particular observation before. I’ve never encountered that sort of behavior in regards to Swamp Thing comics in the wild. And I’m pretty sure the “literary references” were not the main focus of the comics and not what the readers glommed onto. For all I know, this person (who is also a comics writer) was just deliberately trolling Twitter users.

My initial fear — given the phrasing of “why do men…” — was that some unsavory comics “fan” online collective latched onto Swamp Thing and began singing its praises, tainting the character and comics for other, somewhat more socialized, folks.

But no, it was just a tossed-off question, with a boatload of responses coming to the defense of Swamp Thing comics. I did my own small defense in my Twitter thread linked above, and…well, honestly, it’s not something I really need to get all worked up about, says the guy writing a blog post about it. And who knows…I’ve never encountered anything like this, but maybe that person who wrote the tweet encountered some folks being all hoity-toity about Swamp Thing and caused that particular reaction?

I used to get really bent out of shape when it came to “someone is wrong on the internet!” type stuff, and in more recent years I’m trying to take it a little easier in regards to that sort of thing. Even this response is more out of “well, I’m a Swamp Thing fan, better say something about it” than “LET SWING THE FLAMING SWORD OF VENGEANCE” or anything like that. I just thought it was a weird comment for someone to say. But, eh, not like I haven’t spent nearly 18 years making weird comments on my own site here.

Anyway, I’m really just glad it wasn’t because internet weirdos decided Swamp Thing was “theirs” and ruined it for everybody. Look, I’m the internet weirdo in charge of Swamp Thing around here, and I’ll brook no challengers.

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