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Don’t get me wrong, the fact that I could regularly read stories where Swamp Thing pals around with Detective Chimp is awesome.

§ June 4th, 2021 § Filed under collecting, swamp thing § 23 Comments

So I realize I’m probably expected to do a little something about the Swamp Thing anniversary this year (having debuted in House of Secrets #92 50 years ago as of about April). It’s also Man-Thing’s 50th, debuting in 1971’s Savage Tales #1, so overall it’s a good year for swamp monsters.

I expect I’ll get around to something eventually…or maybe this will the only acknowledgement. I honestly don’t know. I can’t say with all honesty “it’s been a great 50 years, here’s to 50 more!” because frankly things have kinda sorta fallen apart in regards to the Swamp Thing comics over the last ten years. Lemme ‘splain.

Well, actually, there’s not much ‘splaining to do. The New 52 relaunch sort of “broke the chain” of continuity between the Swamp Thing we had before and the later Swamp Thing. Part of the character’s appeal to me was its history, the sense that all of the events that happened to the character in its past have remained so, and continue to inform its future. Okay, granted, one or two things have been sorta kicked under the bed and not brought up again, but by and large I could (to use a phrase I’ve probably overused on this site) draw a line from the character’s 1970s comics all the way through to the end of Brightest Day. It was with the Brighest Day follow-up The Search for Swamp Thing and the New 52 relaunch that stuff went astray.

I won’t go into excruciating detail (again) but character elements were changed, Alec and Abby’s backstory changed, Arcane was an almost entirely different kind of creep, etc. Then with the advent of both creator Len Wein’s 2016 mini-series (which seemingly nullifies a significant part of the Alan Moore arc), and the digital-first stories where full-on Plant Elemental Swamp Thing is going up against…General Sunderland!? Well, that undoes another fairly significant part of Moore’s run. It literally plays havoc with the circumstances surrounding Swamp Thing’s evolution into the kind of character he is now.

Look, all the New 52 and later era work is fine on its own. Well, okay, not all, but most of it is perfectly serviceable. But for someone who’s followed the character for as long I have…not since the very beginning, but close…there’s a level of detachment. What I know of the character is not fitting with what they’re telling me about the character now, and it’s distracting. There are a number of stories that don’t require dependence on past continuity, of course, but once you remind me “Matt Cable is alive and he was never possessed by Arcane,” that throws me just a little. I feel…detached from what’s happening to the character.

Some of it is on me…given the vision troubles I’ve had over the last few years, I’m way behind on my comic reading. And some of the comics I haven’t read yet are Swamp Thing-related, such as the Walmart Giant issues (collected in a book that I have in place of said Giants, which I never found in the wild). My enthusiasm for the character having waned, I never made it a priority to catch up on those particular stories. I’m sure they’re perfectly good, but with everything else happening to Swamp Thing, I was in no rush to read more stories set in the same post-New 52 milieu.

Plus, on top of all that, there was my decision to not acquire every single appearance of the character, spurred on by this nonsense. I also stopped pulling both covers of Justice League Dark for myself if each had Swamp Thing on it. Being as behind as I am, the last thing I needed was more comic books floatin’ around the house. And besides, who am I trying to impress with A Complete Swamp Thing Comic Book Collection? It’s not like God won’t let me through the Pearly Gates when I die if I don’t have one. (Unless of course Wein and Wrightson are at his side, waiting for me, their arms crossed and shaking their heads in disappointment.)

Like I said in this post, I, The Guy What’s Read Swamp Thing Comics for the Last Several Decades, was not the target audience for these rejiggered relaunches. This rethinking of ol’ Swampy was designed to get newer readers ensnared, who likely hadn’t read all that early stuff.

Not to say everything is terrible, of course: Swamp Thing’s appearances in Justice League Dark gave me the month-to-month adventures that didn’t dwell a whole lot on his new backstory and almost felt “normal,” you know, more or less, guest-starring with Detective Chimp and everything. And the new mini, bringing in a new person as Swamp Thing with the Alec Holland Swampy primarily there to pass the torch…this may be the solution to finally getting past the character’s shattered history, and it helps that the comic is really good, too.

But anyway, in short, Swamp Thing is still my favorite comic character despite everything. I get that expecting editorial consistency on a comic book character in a shared universe in stories created by Many Diverse Hands is a bit of an ask. I mean, the Superman we got with the John Byrne reboot in 1986 is technically the same Superman we have now, though many of the details have changed over the decades. But I kind of expect that from superhero comics. I felt like Swamp Thing was different, like maybe folks were putting a little more effort into internal consistency over the years. That’s why just changing things for the sake of change (an endemic problem to the New 52 as a whole) was so disappointing.

• • •

On a related note, just recently we had a spate of “give me your controversial take on [comic character]” tweets on the Twitters (here’s my favorite iteration and my response). So of course I jumped in with “give me your controversial takes on Swamp Thing”. Got some good response, and some jokey ones, too, but c’mon, we’re all comedians on Twitter. But I plan on responding to some of those “takes” here in the near future.

Thanks for reading, pals, and keep in mind, despite all that stuff I said…I ain’t giving up my Swamp Thing slippers.

“Art is any Swamp Thing you can get away with.” – Andy Warhol (paraphrased)

§ April 14th, 2021 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing § 2 Comments

Look at these cool drawings customer Sarah gave me a little while back! The first is of that mossy gentleman Swamp Thing:

And the second is of a critter from the “Rotworld” storyline from the New 52 era…sorry if I don’t recall his/her/its name, as I haven’t committed that particular run to memory:

Pretty cool, right? Thanks to Sarah for gifting me with these fine pieces, and you can see more of her work at her Instagram thingie.

Did they ever explain how Matt Cable could be alive and one of Dream’s ravens at the same time? I can’t even remember.

§ December 9th, 2020 § Filed under swamp thing § 1 Comment

So we’ve got some new Swampy comics heading our way…first off is the Future State: Swamp Thing title, part of that two-month event starting off the new year, featuring the work of Ram V and Mike Perkins:

I see in an interview the book’s editor said one of the hooks for the story is “what is Swamp Thing, when it’s freed from Alec Holland” and I’m pretty sure the answer was “Alan Moore’s run ’til the end of Brightest Day but let’s see what goes on here, particularly in the context of the post-New 52 revamping of the character. The continuity hoohar involved in getting Alec Holland back into the Swamp Thing mix was…something else (a couple of posts of mine trying to make sense of it all here and here).

And, as far as I could figure, the business with Swamp Thing thinking he was Alec Holland, discovering he wasn’t Alec Holland, then that Swamp Thing being replaced with a Swampified ALec Holland, is all in New 52 (and Rebirth) continuity. Thus, this Future State special apparently gives us an unHollanded Swamp Thing yet again. Well, I’ll read it and see what they’re all up to, anyway. Maybe these comic and the follow-up series can hammer out some of the pre-New 52/post-New 52 inconsistencies. I mean, even creator Len Wein’s mini muddied those waters a bit.

Oh, did I say “follow-up series?” Because here it comes, a 10-parter from the same creative team, debuting after Future State wraps up:

I’m looking forward to these…I feel sort of like I lost the thread on Swamp Thing at some point, after he was relegated to team player in Justice League Dark and miscellaneous one-shot stories and appearances in those 100-page giants DC pushed for a while. I mean, not that any of it was bad, I just wanted a regular ol’ ongoing series where he was the headliner. Well, okay, this new book is a mini-series, but it’s a start, I suppose.

• • •

In other Swamp Thing news, Adrienne Barbeau talks about being in the Swamp Thing movie and the recent Swamp Thing TV show. Can never have too much Barbeau.

No, I never owned that weird “Spock” helmet (but I remember seeing it in stores).

§ December 7th, 2020 § Filed under swamp thing § 5 Comments

So I was no stranger to the Mego series of action figures, those 8-inch tall poseable dolls with fabric clothing and (usually) molded plastic accessories. As a Young Mikester I had the first two series of the Star Trek figures (as well as the amazing Enterprise playset and these “communicators.” And a whole bunch of other Trekkian products until Star Wars came out in ’77 and suddenly there was a whole new obsession into which my poor parents had to sink more of their household income. (I also had at least one Planet of the Apes figure, pretty sure just Generic Ape.)

Alas, the landfill was the ultimate fate of all these goodies, as we cleaned house years later and I, the smooth and cool teenager that I was*, decided to put away childish things.. Or at least dump them, like I did the tricoder out the truck window which I realized was still in the cab as we were leaving.

There had been reissues of some of the older Mego lines over the years, or at least lookalikes, and even new figures that never originally had Mego-esque releases, with the plastic bodies and the clothes and all that. I’ve admired the work on many of those, as they passed through either my previous place of employment or my own store, but I’ve never felt tempted at picking up any of these for my own collection.

Well, guess what happened. Yup, the Figure Toy Company (which specializes in Mego-likes) produced an officially licensed Swamp Thing figure in the classic style. Yes, with fabric clothing (which I poked a little fun at when first announced):

And that would indeed be the very figure I received in the mail just a few days after placing my order. No, I haven’t opened it yet, so I don’t know if under his leafy garments Swamp Thing is wearing little blue underwears like his Mego Star Trek cousins. …What? Anyway, it’s a good looking figure, definitely evokes the original Mego style. Good face sculpt, definitely not a repaint of Spider-Man villain the Lizard.

I’m not quite the Swamp Thing completist I used to be, and I really don’t need to be spending money of ridiculous stuff like this. But it brings a nostalgic smile to my face when I look at it, and after the year we’ve all had, who can blame me for wanting this?


* Please read with the intended sarcasm.

Yes, technically this is answering two questions from the same person.

§ October 5th, 2020 § Filed under question time, swamp thing, Swamp Thing-a-Thon § 3 Comments

Okay, boys and ghoooouls, let’s take a crack at the most recent batch of questions you fine folks decided to leave for me.

First off, Michael Grabowski reaches out with the following:

“Which are your favorite creative-combo takes on the Swamp Thing character in the comics?

“Actually, what I would really like to read would be a few blog posts with your deeper analysis of the more significant creative runs on the character & comic series, if I could make that request.”

Well, I’ve actually been asked this before! Probably not a surprise given how often I’ve been all “rah rah Swamp Thing-boom-bah” on this site, I suppose. About three years ago old friend of the site Rich had asked me to rank the creative teams, and I gave it the ol’ two-part college try here and here.

Now it’s not entirely comprehensive, but I hit most of the major teams of the first two series and touch a bit on the later ones (though I link to, and will link again here, extended discussions of that weird pre-New 52 mini and that Len Wein/Kelley Jones mini).

In that post I note I’ll need to do more of a re-read of the assorted Swamp Thing comic book series in order to have that material fresher in my mind for any sort of meaningful deep commentary. The plan was maybe to start rereading the comics that I hadn’t committed to memory, like, or, say everything published from the early 1970s until the early 1990s. The later runs were read and mostly enjoyed, but I’m not sure I can lay any details on you.

Anyway, my plan was derailed a bit as this was about the time I was beginning to have some vision issues (though I wouldn’t be properly diagnosed for another year). My reading was slowing down, and then stopped almost completely the following year. I couldn’t keep up with new stuff, much less re-read anything old.

Another thing my eyeball issues derailed was the plan for tempoarily-exclusive content on my Patreon, where I intended to do in-depth discussions of each issue of Swamp Thing in order. I talk about the Patreon at the end of that second Rank-the-ST-Teams post (and you can read the first installment for free here). But trying to read these comics in any real detail was becoming increasingly difficult, mostly because I thought I needed glasses (which yes, I did) but not realizing that I was having other severe physical issues with eyes beyond just poor sight.

Now that my vision issues have been stabilized and at least somewhat corrected, I would like to at least attempt at getting back to doing that issue-by-issue examination. Perhaps on a sporadic basis at first, just to allow for time issues, the fact that I am reading more slowly than I used to, and that I’m stupidly behind on new comics due to not having read anything for months. Except Doomsday Clock, I didn’t miss an installment of that.

At the very least I should publicly post the Patreon-only installments (still up at my Patreon!) like I said I’d do after sufficient time had passed. Maybe once I’m closer to starting that project up again. But my sincere thanks to everyone who kept contributing there.

So, Michael…no, I haven’t forgotten you in the middle of all this rambling nonsense…I did do something like you’d asked already, but more complete commentary on the other regular Swamp Thing creatives is still owed someday, pending my review of those documents.

Also, to answer your question from three years ago since I forgot to then:

“Was the Pasko/Yeates run published bimonthly? I seem to remember it that way but could be wrong. I do remember thinking that the big story took a long time to resolve, at least as 12-yr-old me processed time and waiting in those days.”

No, the Marty Pasko/Tom Yeates run of Saga of the Swamp Thing never went bimonthly. I was told at a comic book store around the time those comics were coming out, back when I was but a lowly and not the high-powered comic shop owner drunk with power I am today, that the series was about to go bimonthly, which worried me because that meant sales were lousy and the next step would have been cancellation. But then the Alam Moore era began and those bimonthly worries went away in short order.

As for the story feeling like it dragged on…that seemed to be a common sentiment at the time, as some fans weren’t thrilled with longish stories that demanded more patience and attention. (See also “The Trial of the Flash.”) But nowadays multi-part stories are more common than not, usually in six issue installments that entirely coincidentally make for a good trade paperback.

• • •

There we go, one question down that I think was answered somewhere in the midst of all that typing. If you want to throw a question in the hopper then hie yourself hither to this post to submit!

“Three things cannot long be hidden: the Joker, the Joker, and the Joker.”

§ August 26th, 2020 § Filed under batman, swamp thing § 14 Comments

[SPOILERS for Batman: Three Jokers ahead]

So Monday afternoon, I did something I almost never do at the shop…I read a comic book.

I’ve heard plenty of times over the years “wow, it must be great to work in a comic book store and just read comics all day,” and I think in the 32-years-next-month I’ve been doing this, I’ve maybe read…a half-dozen comics while on the clock? I mean, my lunch breaks don’t count, I would assume, but even then I wasn’t reading comics…I’d maybe poke through Wizard or screw around on the internet.

But this time, after I’d broken down the DC Comics shipment, and did all the comic saver pulls, instead of doing anything useful like pricing that stack of Deadpools I obtained from that defunct store stock, I decided to just straight up read that Batman: Three Jokers comic that’s all the rage at the moment.

And you know…I thought it was fine. Geoff Johns in his particular wheelhouse here, just doing a plain ol’ Batman story despite the weight it’s carrying from the hype and the marketing. Like a good percentage of Johns’s work, it is directly building on a foundation laid by Alan Moore decades prior. However, unlike Doomsday Clock, where the reach for Watchmen exceeded the grasp, here he’s fiddling around with The Killing Joke, a comic that critical history, and Moore himself, have decided is one of the writer’s lesser works. As such Johns here feels a little less out of his depth, addressing not only the consequences of The Killing Joke but the decidedly dumb-but-impactful “Death in the Family.”

In fact, I think that’s one of the clever bits of Three Jokers, in how it entwines both of these events together, and forces the two characters directly affected by these events (Batgirl and the second Robin Jason Todd, now “The Red Hood”) to confront their respective histories with the title character(s) of this story. In fact, Johns somehow managed to make Todd’s past experience even more excruciating and terrifying…and I should clarify, I mean this as a compliment, as I found this probably the most effective scene in the issue.

As to the overall plot…I won’t delve too deeply into spoilers, if at all, but I’m glad this seems to be more of a Batman-milieu rather than a “DC Multiverse” thing. Given the origins of this whole “three Jokers” business to begin with, involving the Justice League and the New Gods and Batman using Metron’s Mobius Chair to find out “wait, how many Jokers?” — well, in the, what, four years since that info dropped I’d been expecting some kind of parallel universe explanation. But that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I mean, who knows, there are two more issues to go, maybe Pariah will show up.

Well, one thing about the conceit of Three Jokers is that it provides an alternate explanation for the many versions of Joker we’ve seen over the years to the one Grant Morrison has been trying to sell us since his Arkham Asylum graphic novel in 1989 (as occasional partner-in-crime Ken Lowery reminded me). The specific example I’d mentioned was the more recent Batman #663 from 2007. In essence, the Joker reinvents himself, undergoes a shift in personality, which is something we witness directly in that Batman comic. It seemed like a perfectly good way to explain the multitudes of Joker’s personalities we’ve had over the decades, and fit very well with the character.

Johns’s premise is not so elegant, presenting instead the idea that there are literally three people running around as the Joker, each with their own style and tone. As I saw someone point out on the Twitters, you’d think this would make Batman look bad, being unable to tell that was what was going on. I don’t want to use the term “idiot plot,” but maybe we can just suppose that Batman had some kind of brainfart and overlooked the fact that the Joker maybe had a slightly different jawline than he remembered, or that his eyes were spaced differently. Or maybe Batman attributed the differences to the affects had by the beatings he’d give him. Who knows.

I should note that the art is great…Jason Fabok really puts in a good show here, especially with the various portraits of the Joker he’s prepared for the many variant covers (as well as a few of the Batfamily). Given the content of the story, the deliberate biting of the panel layouts of The Killing Joke is actually quite fitting. If a Killing Joke sequel has to be made (SPOILER: it probably doesnt) then you can do worse than tying the new work to it visually. Anyway, it’s definitely a gorgeous looking package.

A couple of continuity points, or lack thereof as the case may be:

A line of dialogue notes the Joker’s first appearance “decades ago,” which means at minimum two, if we’re being literal. I presume this is Johns’s way of saying that the five-year-timeline of the New 52 is good ‘n’ gone after the events of Doomsday Clock.

However, when I mentioned that on the Twitters, it was pointed out to me that Three Jokers isn’t mainline DC continuity, so maybe that “decades” comment doesn’t apply to any other DC Universe title outside the series. Given that nobody really has any clue what constitutes continuity or not at DC anymore, I don’t suppose it matters that much. If I recall correctly, even The Killing Joke wasn’t necessarily intended to be in the regular DC continuity…which of course changed once Batgirl debuted as the wheelchair-wielding Oracle in Suicide Squad.

It does seem weird, though, that a mystery set up in that most in-continuity of DC Comics, Justice League, would get answered in an out-of-continuity series. Would that mean the mystery remains unsolved in-universe? Well, I think DC’s “Rebirth” was since then, anyway, so maybe they made that event Never Not Was. Or we could just not worry about continuity and enjoy the story as is…like some kind of crazy person.

Oh, and is there a Swamp Thing connection? Your bet your tubers there is! Say so long and farewell to the late Dr. Roger Huntoon, who first appeared during Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing run, killed off panel in Three Jokers #1. Here he is in Swamp Thing #79 (1988), bothering Lois Lane:

Alas, we hardly knew ye, Dr. Huntoon. We’ll see you again, in the next reboot.

Ultimately, will anything going on in this series stick to the character? Joker seems awfully resistant to any long-term alterations to him or his premise. I think the whole “Red Hood” thing that was retroactively added to his history back in the ’40s, and the shooting of Barbara Gordon and the crowbarring of Jason Todd have both stuck (hence this series). Everything else just seems to slough off…any attempts at giving him a Real Name don’t last (“Jack Napier” seems to have lasted the longest, having returned after a long hiatus in the out-of-continuity “White Knight” series). Three Jokers seems to be foreshadowing a revelation regarding the Joker’s name, but I’m sure that’ll eventually go the same way. (Maybe some Jokers will be named, and others won’t…we’ve got plenty of them to work with here.)

To wrap up this already overly-long post, I think Batman: Three Jokers is fine. Beautiful art, a serviceable script, and a weird game-changing premise that may or may not survive the end of the series. But boy, those covers are nice.

Oh hey, Tony “Leave It to Beaver” Dow directed some of these.

§ May 18th, 2020 § Filed under swamp thing, television § 11 Comments

So in response to my brief description of the original 1990s Swamp Thing TV show, Brian wondered:

“‘Off-putting’ how? I have never seen this show, but have always been curious about it. Thanks!”

You’re welcome!

I thought about this question a lot over the weekend, actually. Mostly along the lines of “why did I say it was off-putting?” And to be completely frank, I couldn’t really put my finger on it. It had been years since I’ve seen episodes of the series, after all (even with the DVD sets…more on that in a moment), so I couldn’t remember any specific examples. Maybe I was conflating Swamp Thing with other late ’80s/early ’90s direct-to-syndication series that, to my mind, haven’t really aged well in my memory (and perhaps in reality)?

Well, there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there? BUST OUT THE SWAMP THING TV SHOW DVD SETS.

A couple of confessions here…last time I noted that I had the full run of the series on DVD. I was mistaken. I have “Volume 1″ (containing seasons 1 and 2” and “Volume 2” (containing the first 26 episodies of Season 3). Yes, there were some broadcast shenanigans apparently, resulting in what amounted to a very long third season. I don’t know, don’t ask me. But the end result was that, I dutifully bought those first two sets and never did get around to getting that last set. I seem to remember thinking “ugh I haven’t even watched these first two sets, I’ll get that third one eventually, I’m sure it’ll always be available for cheap.”

And yup, soon as I realized, like, this weekend, “oh yeah that third set, I need to get it” and tried to look it up, of course it’s out of print and not available. Not even on eBay, where out-of-print items go to get listed at stupid prices. Thus have I fallen down on my job as Swamp Thing Fan, but I imagine I’ll get a copy of this Volume 3 someday. On the other hand, when searching for that third set, I did see the DVD collection of the cartoon was being offered by multiple sellers for about $60 a pop. Take it from me, kids…don’t pay $60 for this. It was barely worth the…what, ten bucks I paid?

Okay, second confession…I think I’ve barely watched these discs. I did watch the special features (interviews with Swampy’s cocreator Len Wein and Swamp Thing himself, Dick Durock), and a handful of episodes, but I don’t think I ever made the commitment to watch them all straight through. I did watch some, and I certainly watched episodes of it when it was on actual broadcast TV, with commericals and everything, like some kind of savage, so I have experienced the show. But it’s been so long since the show was originally on the air, and probably a good decade or so since sampling these discs…I honest don’t remember a whole lot about them.

I did recall a couple bits…the opening title sequence and narration (“DO NOT BRING YOUR EVIL HERE” and Swamp Thing’s obviously animted eyes at the end), and, what I think may have been the element (heh) of the show that gave me the impression of its off-puttedness: Swamp Thing’s voice. It was modulated or altered somehow, giving it this odd almost metallic sound which seemed out of place given the nature-oriented being Swampy was supposed to be. Kinda like autotuning, only without the pretense of attempting to be musical. Points I guess for trying to do something different, given that in the Return of Swamp Thing film it seemed like they did literally nothing to the character’s voice, but the sound grates just a little.

My other memory of those show is that they did their level best to avoid showing the actor, the previously noted Mr. Durock, in the full Swamp Thing get-up. I had a specific recollection of someone talking to Swampy while all you could see is his head poking up over some shrubbery or whatever. And to be fair, in the two episodes I sampled on Sunday (season two’s “Birth Mark” and season three’s “Night of the Dying”) Swamp Thing did indeed show up in full regalia when necessary. Now it could be I’ll see some time/cost saving measures of our hero standing behind walls and stuff and only showing his head in other episodes, but we’ll see, assuming I keep watching these.

And, you know, I might. The episodes I watched…weren’t the greatest TV shows I’ve ever seen, but they were pleasant enough. It’s kind of nice to watch a superhero-based live action adventure show that’s only a half-hour long (AKA about 20 minutes without the commercials) so we’re in and out of the story quickly enough before you start thinking things like “this is kind of dumb” or “enough of all these ordinary people gabbing, when’s Swamp Thing showin’ up?”

One of the episodes, “Birth Marks,” introduced “Abigail,” played by an as-I-recall-embarrassed-by-it-later Kari Wuhrer, and of course Swamp Thing aficionados know, characters named “Abby” are of some importance in the Swamp Thing mythos. I haven’t watched enough of, or recall enough of, the show to know if there’s any similarity to the comic character beyond the name, but she does have mysterious psychic powers, recalling those issues of the first Swamp Thing comic book series where Abby Arcane evidenced some strange abilities of her own.

Also, the first credited actor in the show is Mark Lindsay Chapman, who plays “Dr. Anton Arcane,” and as I recall, in addition to the episodes I just watched over the weekend, he’s the main bad guy in pretty much every installment. Basically, he’s the star of the show, it looks like, which is fine because he’s a fun bad guy. There’s also a passing reference to Jason Woodrue in “Birth Marks,” so I’m looking forward to see how they deal with him. I’m guessing not a weird alien plant dude?

Continuity appears to be light, but not nonexistent. As I said, “Birth Marks” refers back to Woodrue, and “Night of the Dying” flashes back to a previous episode. From what little I’ve seen, there’s a light attempt at keeping things connected but not in an overt soap-opera style parade of subplots and character development that became the going style once it became progressively easier for people to watch TV without having to sit in front of the box when the show was on (and without having to program a VCR).

So Brian…I may have jumped the gun a little calling this “off-putting.” I mean, I can get used to the voice, and the Swamp Thing’s costume is…clunky, but I can deal. I enjoyed Swamp Thing as a prime example of a kind of TV adventure program that was very much of its time. Not deep, but fun, and I’ll try to watch more and finally get my money’s worth out of these two sets. And look forward to paying too much for that third set.

The archnemesis of Rolling Stone Boss.

§ May 15th, 2020 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing § 4 Comments

Speaking of Swamp Thing showing up in places you wouldn’t expect, I was speaking to longtime ProgRuin reader Wayne (buy his books!) and he let me know that for seemingly inexplicable reasons, the retro-TV channel MeTV has a Swamp Thing shirt available for sale in their online store. I already own that particular design, natch, but it struck me as odd as well, since as Wayne and I thought, Swamp Thing‘s various video incarnations (old non-sweary TV show, cartoon, movies) don’t seem to be candidates for their usual programming. I wondered maybe it had something to do with the Svengoolie program, which specializes in presenting horror movies of, shall we say, varying quality, though I imagine I would have heard from about a million people if Swamp Thing made it on there.

But after some extensive Googling, it would appear…maybe we were wrong about Swamp Thing not sharing a channel with Columbo, Gilligan and the Skipper, and Barney Fife. (Though wotta crossover that would be, right?) Doing some searching, it seems that the older Swamp Thing live-action show was part of MeTV’s “Red Eye Sci-Fi” lineup. There are even a couple of articles I found on MetTV’s site from 2017 discussing the series, such as their “8 Muckracking Facts” or their motivational posters. Look, apart from anything else, at least those articles gave me the term “Moss Boss” for ol’ Swampy, and for that alone we all owe ’em.

No idea if Swamp Thing is still on MeTV, or even rerunning anywhere. Half surprised it hasn’t turned up on the DC Universe streaming service yet.

I don’t know how much of the show any of you have sampled. It’s…well, there are lots of episodes, so if you’re into it, lucky you. I own the DVDs, and have owned them for years, but still haven’t watched them all the way through. It’s…rough going at times, and not because “oh my they changed this and that and the other thing from the comics,” but because it’s just a hard show to watch. Everybody does their best, but it’s just kinda muddled and occasionally off-putting. Now granted it’s been a while, so maybe I’m just being harsher on it based solely on my fading memories more than the actual experience, but it’s just one of those things I never find time to revisit.

Anyway, if you’ve been in need of a Swamp Thing shirt for a special occasion, here you go. It’s a nice design, recommended for all formal events and gatherings, once we start having those aqgain.

I tried to find a clip of Spicoli saying “Fuzzy Nerd” from the broadcast version of Fast Times, but this other video clip is a good second choice.

§ May 13th, 2020 § Filed under swamp thing § 3 Comments

So Twitter pal Fred dropped a bomb on me the other day, telling me that the DC Universe streaming service’s short-lived adaptation of Swamp Thing was picked up by the CW to appear on plain ol’ regular broadcast television, just like the kind Mom used to make.

I was of course stunned by the news in my typical hyper-articulate fashion. My very first impulse was “ooh maybe new episodes?” but then I thought about it for a sec. The show had been out of production for a while, everyone’s moved on to other things, I’m sure, and the cost of getting everything going again is probably more of an investment than anyone’s likely to want to make.

It occurred to me that what was more likely was that the network was shoring up its content for coming months, what with the decline in production of material due to coronavirus concerns, especially since I’d been hearing that could be a problem for the next TV season. And, taking a look at this Variety article, it would appear that this is indeed the case. And according to the article, Swamp Thing isn’t the only show jumping from streaming to comercial TV.

Now I suppose if this re-presentation of Swamp Thing is the biggest hit the CW has ever experienced, then efforts would be made to resume production on the series (after our proto-zombie apocalypse is overwith, of course) but that seems not terribly likely. But who knows…with more people staying home, and just by virtue of being shown on a platform that more people have (i.e. “free television”) it’ll acquire a larger audience. But I’m not holding my breath (at least, not any more than I already am) for a season two pickup.

It will be amusing to see how the CW edits the show to get around the naughty language for which the DC Universe shows are fairly notorious. Well, as I recall, Swmap Thing wasn’t too bad in this regard, so I guess it won’t be as big an issue. Not like what would have to happen, if, say, Titans or Doom Patrol got picked up to appear after Supergirl or whatever.

And by “files” I mean multiple stacks of CD-Rs.

§ May 11th, 2020 § Filed under swamp thing § 2 Comments

Let me present you the two oldest digital images of Swamp Thing I have in my “files.” The date stamp on both of these put them as being downloaded July 14, 1994, almost certainly from America Online. Yup, I was tying up the phoneline pulling these pics off AOL at however-many-cents-per-minute they were charging me.

Given the date (and, um, the drawings themselves) these are during the Mark Millar run, illustgated by Phil Hester. I think these came from the official DC Comics “room” (or whatever it was called…it had some kind of specialized name) on AOL, promoting upcoming comics. If my eyes worked better I’d dig through and find the actual issues these came from, but it’s around #147, I think.

One thing I do recall from this period of online promotion, at least where this particular DC outlet was concerned, was that quite a few of the images offered were limited color/”color hold” pics, like one of the ones I’m about to show you. And inf act, let me show them to you now:

Interestingly, when I tried to upload the original files to the site, I received the message “this kind of file is not permitted due to security reasons” or words to that effect. They were GIFs, but these are new jpegs I just created from that source. Did the GIF format somehow change so significantly over the last, eep, 26 years that old GIF files are a problem?

Anyway, enjoy those pics of Internet Yesteryear. And no, I’m not still on AOL, though I miss the anticipation of hearing the “YOU’VE GOT MAIL” message when I would sign in. I always thought that was pretty cool.

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