Tell me about Swamp Thing

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adam... (nordicskilla), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:01 (nineteen years ago) link

It's this Thing.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:05 (nineteen years ago) link

It's in the Swamp.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:06 (nineteen years ago) link

Sorry adam I do love you, you know.

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:07 (nineteen years ago) link

Old horror comic revamped into mystical adventure with no particular philosophy to wank over (still a rarity in comics), nigh-omnipotence of protagonist keeps conflicts primarily psychological, moral, or supernatural.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:09 (nineteen years ago) link

Or there's that.

You looking for recommendations on where to start?

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:12 (nineteen years ago) link

I will recommend the early early issues of Saga of the Swamp Thing, just because you can probably find them for super cheap in the TEN FOR $1.00 box, and because they're entertaining in an Ed Wood type of way. Also, if you get around to reading Alan Moore's stuff (directly following the first 20 issues of supernatural sub-Hulkian shenanigans), you'll be pleasantly amazed at how the previous story and characters are utilized (and, in some ways, dispatched).

What's the take on the original Swamp Thing series?

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:16 (nineteen years ago) link

The monster era stuff? It's better than most of the other monster comics of the time, but I mean ... I don't know how much that says.

It's very weird reading an issue of Swamp Thing from the triple digits and then flipping back to the monster era when you've got Matt Cable, federal agent, trying to take down Swampy so he doesn't get his grubby mitts on Abby.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:20 (nineteen years ago) link

nigh-omnipotence of protagonist keeps conflicts primarily psychological, moral, or supernatural.

Or olfactory ('cause he smells a swamp, right).

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:22 (nineteen years ago) link

And pharmaceutical! Cause you trip your ass off if you eat his magic yams.

It's not just something he told me. It's TRUE.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:25 (nineteen years ago) link

"Cause you trip your ass off if you eat his magic yams."

See, you phrase it like that, it sounds dopey. But when they actually first DID trip, it was GREAT!

One minus about Alan Moore's run: his tendency to go on & on in caption boxes like an Ivy League Stan Lee.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:33 (nineteen years ago) link

I liked the cartoon.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:40 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh, it's totally great, but it's still funny to say magic yams. The whole Moore run is like that -- great in execution, brow-raising in summation.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:41 (nineteen years ago) link

Are you calling the Wes Craven flick a "cartoon", Jordan? If so, you are wise beyond yr years.

"Magic yams" are almost as funny as "lounging Gorilla Grodd".

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Also the first successful "comics can be literature" comic. The first American comic written by Alan Moore. His second issue, The Anatomy Lesson, is one of the comics regularly referred to as the definition of retoactive continuity (retconning) - a story that keeps the stated facts of previous stories intact, while changing the context completely. Also an inspiration for the crop of British writers that eventually became Vertigo.

Time passed

Mark Millar started writing it as a horror comics, but one with an underlying plot of sizeable proportions. Swamp Thing became an elemental not just of wood, but of stone wind and water as well, before becoming ridiculously powerful in the final issues. THe last story line was shortened due to poor sales, so Millar may have intended to de-power him afterwards, but it didn't happen and the book was cancelled, leaving the main character too powerful to be used.

There have been two series since then, neither of which has been much to write home about.

Andrew Farrell (afarrell), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:49 (nineteen years ago) link

Are you calling the Wes Craven flick a "cartoon", Jordan?

If only

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:53 (nineteen years ago) link

SWAMP THING! (Da-da da-da)
YOU ARE AMAZING! (Da-da da-da)

Wooden (Wooden), Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:57 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh wow.

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 19:59 (nineteen years ago) link


David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:01 (nineteen years ago) link

That reminds me, I have to go back to the party supply store I went to on Halloween. They had kid's music cds put out by Marvel comics featuring such hits as:

3. Clap Your Hands, It's Wolverine!

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:03 (nineteen years ago) link

Was the Swamp Thing cartoon around the same time as Captain Planet?

a story that keeps the stated facts of previous stories intact, while changing the context completely.

The brilliance here can't be overstated. You don't catch it if you don't read the pre-Moore stuff, which isn't worth reading just for the sake of that, so take our word for it. It's like he shifted the camera but let everyone stay where they were.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:03 (nineteen years ago) link

I must have this!

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:03 (nineteen years ago) link

Spidey and Friends
If You('ve) Got Power
Come and Meet the Hulk
Spidey Dance
Captain America
Nobody Likes a Bully
Where Is Spider-Man
Storm Can Change the Weather
Creeping, Crawling
If You Like Wolverine Clap Your Hands
Spidey and Friends Gonna Like You
It's Spider-Man
Hangin' With Spidey

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:05 (nineteen years ago) link


Guitar (Acoustic): Allen Soberman
Vocals: Vanessa Faria
Vocals: Julie Evans
Vocals: Bethany Mercer
Vocals: Hallory Dworet
Keyboards: John Sheard
Vocals: Sanja Mladjenovic
Vocals: Avril Lavigne
Vocals: Sophie Mercer
Programming|Engineer|Mixing: Gary Honess
Guitar (Acoustic)|Vocals: Bob Schneider
Vocals: Harrison Freeman
Vocals: Chris Chopping

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:07 (nineteen years ago) link

First ten issues of original series, by Len Wein and Berni(e) Wrightson, are very good and very well drawn--basically a cleverly twisted guided tour of every monster archetype. Series went badly downhill after that.

Second series starts out indifferently written, if nicely drawn (Marty Pasko and Tom Yeates, I believe). Then Alan Moore takes over, spends #20 cleaning out some of the deadwood, and promptly a) establishes himself as THEE ALAN MOORE and b) overturns everything we know about the character, in a way that's still entirely consistent with all but a few of the earlier stories. Genius. He basically treats Swamp Thing as his experimental title for the next roughly 40 issues; some experiments don't work at all ("The Nukeface Papers"), some work beautifully (making Etrigan the Demon's dialogue entirely in Elizabethan sonnet form).

Subsequently, every incarnation of Swamp Thing-the-comic has been an exercise in "slaying the father," as Harold Bloom might say: you're either trying to recapture what Moore did with him, or you're writing against it. Newest incarnation is totally awful so far.

Douglas (Douglas), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:07 (nineteen years ago) link

Last year the If you like Wolverine Clap Your Hands thing had me in stiches for two hours when I found that CD at Factory Card Outlet. It was a bit pricey though.

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:08 (nineteen years ago) link

entirely in Elizabethan sonnet form

This sounds a bit Gaiman-ish, is it?

adam... (nordicskilla), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:09 (nineteen years ago) link

I think it's fairer to say that Gaiman is a bit that-ish.

Douglas (Douglas), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:11 (nineteen years ago) link

I'll pay eleven dollars for an mp3 of Avril singing the Spidey Dance.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:12 (nineteen years ago) link

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:13 (nineteen years ago) link

Not when set against simian albino demons licking the sweat from frightened children. (I'm assuming you mean "Gaiman-ish" to stand in for "unnecessarily effete & poncey".)

Also, Douglas has squatter's rights on the moolah.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:15 (nineteen years ago) link

OMG Huk, great catch! I'm buying the hell out of this after work.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:18 (nineteen years ago) link

Holy crap.

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:18 (nineteen years ago) link

Does anyone else think that the Moore run went sharply downhill after "My Blue Heaven"? Most of the space-quest issues seem pretty uninspired compared to the earlier stuff. (Although of course it has one of the best set-ups in the history of comics.)

Wooden (Wooden), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:18 (nineteen years ago) link

Vol. came out last June!

Spider-Man And Friends 2

Format: CDLearn more about formats >
Release Date: 6/22/2004
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Release Date: Jun 22 2004
Catalog No.: 1731
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Album Credits

Spider-Man And Friends 2
TRACK LISTClick on or link to hear an audio clip. To listen to samples you'll need a Windows Media Player.


Clap Your Hands for Spider-Man 3:04

Dancin' With Spider-Man and Friends 3:16

Spider-Man and Friends at the Zoo 2:43

Go Spidey Go 2:49

Do What Spider-Man Tells You to Do 1:55

Spider-Man on Halloween Night 3:17

Surfin' Spider-Man 3:03

Me and Spider-Man on Mars 2:46

Spidey's on the Fire Truck 2:54

Even Super Heroes Need Their Friends 2:46

this time Avril Lavine is credited. Hmmm...

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:21 (nineteen years ago) link

"Do what Spider-Man Tells You to Do..."?

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:40 (nineteen years ago) link

The Stranger With Candy Anthem

Huk-L, Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Do what Spider-Man tells you to do
and if you are good you can go to the zoo
He can do all the things that a spider can
he's got different needs than an ordinary man
So be a good boy or a girl if you'd rather
and don't tell the policeman and don't tell your father
He'll fight for justice and he'll fight to win
Here have a napkin for the web juice on your chin

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 20:55 (nineteen years ago) link

Tep, I hope you've made peace with your maker after that last line.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 4 November 2004 21:03 (nineteen years ago) link

It's Jocelyn's fault!

Tep (ktepi), Thursday, 4 November 2004 21:06 (nineteen years ago) link

I think it's great.

jocelyn (Jocelyn), Thursday, 4 November 2004 21:23 (nineteen years ago) link

You know, this truly is the best forum on ILX right now.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Friday, 5 November 2004 11:37 (nineteen years ago) link

oh tep, tep tep

but yeah, the Moore Swamp Thing was great, remember buying one out of idle curiousity and then going back to buy the entire run. plus, it gave us John Constantine which is a treat in and of itself.

H (Heruy), Friday, 5 November 2004 12:46 (nineteen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
I thought that the last swamp thing... minature runaway ?? was by far the best as I had just about given up on the series.

danny boy, Sunday, 23 October 2005 15:56 (eighteen years ago) link

You mean the Dysart Swamp Thing?

David R. (popshots75`), Sunday, 23 October 2005 16:13 (eighteen years ago) link

i love the original horror ones

s1ocki (slutsky), Sunday, 23 October 2005 16:56 (eighteen years ago) link

Moore's swamp thing is great. And hits a peak in the second & third trades. so grebt.

is the current swamp thing worth reading? i like the characters/basic idea, but I feel worried at it being too po-faced.

Special Agent Dale Koopa (orion), Sunday, 23 October 2005 17:37 (eighteen years ago) link

i love the original horror ones

Seconded! Been a long time since I read them, tho.

Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Sunday, 23 October 2005 18:24 (eighteen years ago) link

I think Swamp Thing maybe worked better in issues. That was the impression I formed when Vertigo reprinted it in black and white issues a while back.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Monday, 29 October 2007 15:09 (sixteen years ago) link

way way too many captions, often filled with purple prose

sorta nails my issues w/ moore!

moonship journey to baja, Monday, 29 October 2007 15:18 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm not sure Tuomas is reading the same book that I did. Abby/Alec's love was presented as unearthly, but also grounded in the same sorts of experiences that are common to everyone, hence the "Rites of Spring" issue. As for it being a fairy-tale, well, it was presented in a book that was marginally, a superhero book, and superheroes (at the time) were pretty much just modern fairy tales. Though I don't see how you could reconcile that term with the horrors presented with The Monkey King, Arcane and Abby's trip to Hell.

And anyone who didn't start out on text-heavy comics (of which you had many examples in the 60s-80s in the US, actually it was the primary mode) would think that SWAMP THING is completely out of control when it came to text on the page. I actually like it. It feels like it was written as much as it was scripted. Haven't read it in several years, but I'm not sure I'd take the pruning shears to it. Different strokes, etc.

If you think there's a huge difference between SWAMP THING and his other contemporary work, I'd look to his editors and collaborators, since no writer is an island in comics, not even Alan Moore (who at the time was just another new writer and not the titan he is in the field now.)

Matt M., Monday, 29 October 2007 15:57 (sixteen years ago) link

Yeah, I love most everything Moore's done, but I've never been able to get into his Swamp Thing run. Too much caption-itis, etc.

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 29 October 2007 15:59 (sixteen years ago) link

It is too bad that Swamp Thing has not been put out in some Showcase editions, both the Bernie Wrightson and Totleben/Bissette artwork would look great in black and white.

I got into the Moore run on Swamp Thing pretty early on. It is a pretty crazy book when you think that the thing used to be sold in grocery stores, it wasn't even a direct title until way later on. I have not read any of those issues in twenty years, but they are on my list to go back and check out. I remember the issue where Abby eats the tubar was very trippy and the issues where Batman shows up with one of the Arcane arcs was really great.

earlnash, Friday, 9 November 2007 22:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I've read Moore's run more times than I can count - the first thing of his I ever saw (since it was the first American mass market thing of his available...? I remember seeing issues of Warrior around the same time). I musta been 12-13. The captions do get pretty purple and heavy-handed. Otoh it allows for him to do all kinds of great transitions - stuff he would later get a lot of mileage out of on Watchmen - it made the stories feel bound together by a creepy synchronicity.

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 9 November 2007 23:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Waiting for Heave Ho to start the Adrianne Barbeau thread on ILHTML.

Pleasant Plains, Friday, 9 November 2007 23:52 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm pretty sure there's some recent (last two or three years) pocket book format pre-Moore Swamp Thing repring.

Dr. Superman, Saturday, 10 November 2007 05:20 (sixteen years ago) link

yo: Secret of Swamp Thing

Dr. Superman, Saturday, 10 November 2007 05:24 (sixteen years ago) link

I guess the Moore run isn't that bad, it's just that too much text in captions is the one thing I hate most in comics, I've left quite a many comics in the shelf that might've been good otherwise (like Sacco's Palestine) because of that. It just totally undermines comics' own strength as a medium, since most of the stuff in the captions could be told with images. Also, it's often even so that the captions could be left off without changing anything else, because the images themselves already tell the story strongly enough, but it feels like the writer doesn't trust the images enough, so he has to include the extra text. This happens in Swamp Thing too, and the reason I find especially strange is that Moore is normally such a visual, anti-caption storyteller.

Tuomas, Saturday, 10 November 2007 13:25 (sixteen years ago) link

"Normally" needs to be placed in context - the majority of his work between 1978 and 1983 is very word-heavy. It's far more the style of the text than the wordiness itself that changed on Swamp Thing.

energy flash gordon, Sunday, 11 November 2007 00:18 (sixteen years ago) link

I haven't read a lot of his early work, but he'd already started V for Vendetta before Swamp Thing and was writing Watchmen around the same time, right? So the wordiness seems more an aesthetic choice than something he hadn't grown out of yet.

Tuomas, Sunday, 11 November 2007 23:08 (sixteen years ago) link

If you have real problems with wordy Alan Moore, check out the final Miracleman book he did.

The Real Dirty Vicar, Sunday, 11 November 2007 23:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Watchmen is two-three years later.

energy flash gordon, Monday, 12 November 2007 05:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Watchmen hit the shops in 1986, and Moore's last Swamp Thing issue was in 1987, so he was writing them at the same time. I've read some 1986 Swamp Thing issues, and they still have that caption thing, so I think it's safe to say Moore simply chose a different aesthetic than with Watchmen.

Tuomas, Monday, 12 November 2007 08:56 (sixteen years ago) link

From Hell = wordiest thing he ever did

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 12 November 2007 18:45 (sixteen years ago) link

(altho not captions)

Shakey Mo Collier, Monday, 12 November 2007 18:46 (sixteen years ago) link

Watchmen hit the shops in 1986, and Moore's last Swamp Thing issue was in 1987, so he was writing them at the same time. I've read some 1986 Swamp Thing issues, and they still have that caption thing, so I think it's safe to say Moore simply chose a different aesthetic than with Watchmen.

But he STARTED one before the other, they weren't consistently concurrent. It's ludicrous to argue that he chose his style on Swamp Thing in opposition to his style on Watchmen when Watchmen started years later, and to refuse to acknowledge that Watchmen was part of him deliberately moving away from his early, wordy aesthetic when you HAVEN'T READ any of the early stuff!

energy flash gordon, Saturday, 17 November 2007 04:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Swamp Thing was Bernie Wrightson's breakout work. I have all those early issues, they're great. Very ECish.

Dan Lacey, Wednesday, 21 November 2007 07:42 (sixteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

When I was a kid I had random issues of Swamp Thing, mainly from Moore's run. In the past year I've started reading it from the very beginning (Bronze Age Omnibus) and I'm currently in the Wheeler years.

The old monster comics were fine and fun, if repetitive. Swamp Thing falls off another truck and stumbles into shenanigans! Alan Moore had some perfect issues, occasionally handicapped by bad art. Bissette + Totleben is consistenly good in a strange, appropriate way. Alfredo Alcala's inking kills anything that it touches. He inked some Bissette and it sucked. He's the inker for the end of Moore's run all the way through Wheeler. I assume he leaves when Nancy Collins starts?

Rick Veitch's run sucks with occasionally bits of goodness. In general I dislike the intrusion of super heroes and guests in Swamp Thing, but Moore managed to do it well for the most part. During Veitch's tenure it becomes ridiculous and the art is clunky and the stories go off the rails. Doug Wheeler's run is also shit, maybe because the art is so bad? His voice is better than Veitch, but there's not a lot to love.

I feel like I'm chasing the high of Moore's run with drastically diminishing returns. How much longer before it gets better? Does it get better? I've read mixed things about Nancy Collins and her omnibus is out of print, so maybe I should give up on this.

Cow_Art, Monday, 14 June 2021 15:58 (two years ago) link

Rick Veitch's run sucks

Get out.

The intertwining Veitch ST & Delano Hellblazer runs are some of my all-time favorite comics (as I mentioned fifteen years ago upthread and also elsewhere).

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 June 2021 17:45 (two years ago) link

Nancy Collins's run is mostly godawful. Avoid.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 June 2021 17:45 (two years ago) link

Do yrself a favor and jump ahead to Morrison & Millar. You won't have missed anything.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Monday, 14 June 2021 17:47 (two years ago) link

Hmmm. If the Veitch bit is your fave, then I may hold out for more opinions on Collins.

Seriously, get Sgt Rock and Tomahawk and all the rando DC stars of yore out of my swamp horror. Honestly, I would be happy with a soap opera all about Abby, Alec & Teffe.

Is Sandman the thing to turn to if Alan Moore Swamp Thing was my jam?

Cow_Art, Monday, 14 June 2021 20:22 (two years ago) link

Another vote for Roaring Rick here so take it with a salt lick but I would recommend more Moore really; the ABC comics are often extremely Swampy, partic Promethea

I've read two of the Moore collections and am working through the current miniseries by Ram V. That New 52 Omnibus that just came out has been calling to me.

peace, man, Monday, 14 June 2021 21:12 (two years ago) link

wasn't resurrection of old, forgotten characters Moore's thing though? floronic man, solomon grundy, etrigan... that's basically what Watchmen is too. and loeg.

i have big holes in my swamp thing collection after volume 2, i should try and pick up the pieces. there's a comixology gn sale every month but they aren't the bargains they were.

koogs, Monday, 14 June 2021 21:55 (two years ago) link

Agree that skipping to the Millar run is better than reading anything in between, or jumping to Sandman and Promethea would both be more fulfilling. Maybe try Brat Pack on the way, just to see if you like Rick's actual thoughts on superheroes, though.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Monday, 14 June 2021 23:56 (two years ago) link

Or Maximortal, which is one of my favorite Veitch joints (and one of my favorite comics period).

Although if you didn't like his ST run he might just not be for you, as his other work isn't that dissimilar.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 00:42 (two years ago) link

Brat Pack has an ending and is far more scabrous.

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 00:59 (two years ago) link

Fuck it. Bought a huge chunk of the rest of ST vol 2 off of Ebay fro pretty cheap. Can Nancy Collins be as bad as Doug Wheeler? I'll find out!

What about vol 3 that focuses on Tefe? Any good?

Cow_Art, Wednesday, 16 June 2021 20:29 (two years ago) link

are you asking for reverse psychology or

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Wednesday, 16 June 2021 20:53 (two years ago) link

No, v3 is not particularly good. Yes, I know it's written by fan favorite Brian K. Vaughn. It's still not particularly good. Feels (retroactively) a bit like a CW show. Tefe's a teen, fyi.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Wednesday, 16 June 2021 22:56 (two years ago) link

If you do pick it up, though, don't forget to get a copy of the related Swamp Thing Secret Files (featuring a story written by an ILXor!).

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Thursday, 17 June 2021 01:10 (two years ago) link

I’m probably going to begrudgingly work my way through it. I read some of Moore’s best issues when I was 9 or so and they still fascinate me. So much so that I want to see where the characters wind up. At some point it will get better than the Doug Wheeler era.

Cow_Art, Thursday, 17 June 2021 01:39 (two years ago) link

to the best of my memory, Swamp Thing never got 50% as good again as it was when moore was on it. reading books for the characters is totally understandable but I think you're at a dry well.

Hard disagree, but that's generally the line I draw with Hellblazer (the initial Delano run is fantastic, everything after is a pale shadow if not outright shitty).

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Thursday, 17 June 2021 04:25 (two years ago) link

(roaring rick excepted of course)

a dry well.

yeah, if you a) don't like Veitch and b) won't skip to Millar or c) jump over to Hellblazer/Sandman et al, you're definitely in for a tough slog. although Collins is probably better than Wheeler, if that's the totality of your bar...

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Thursday, 17 June 2021 07:07 (two years ago) link

Doug Wheeler's run is also shit, maybe because the art is so bad?

Several decades ago I bought every instalment of Quest For the Elementals as a bargain bundle and I remember the art being quite nice and clean, but the story sucking.

I forgot/never knew that Millar did a run. Wikipedia doesn't make it sound particularly worth reading.

chap, Thursday, 17 June 2021 09:11 (two years ago) link

It's pretty good, one of the better Millars IMO. Can't remember if it's still rumored or more or less confirmed at this point that Morrison ghosted quite a bit of that run beyond his initial four issues.

I don't believe I can ever be objective about Doug Wheeler's run, as the issue where Swampy traverses hell with Bartle at his side was my first ever randomly purchased (or semi-randomly, as that eye-catching Totleben cover depicting the infernal gates still looks pretty killer to me) mature readers comic at the ripe old age of 12 and I continued to fascinatedly buy that run and the Quest for the Elementals was just the most epic thing I'd ever read at that point and frankly still seems pretty great if you want my unvarnished opinion which, as I note, is untrustworthy as all get out in this instance.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Thursday, 17 June 2021 11:15 (two years ago) link

I think I read it shortly after bingeing Moore's run for the first time so may not have been judging it on its own merits.

chap, Thursday, 17 June 2021 11:48 (two years ago) link

At the very least, you have to give it up to Wheeler and Millar for their willingness to get weird and swing for the fences. Both runs really push the boundaries with these long epics that mimic what Moore and Veitch did with their respective runs. And Wheeler took on the pretty thankless task of subbing in for Veitch (and Gaiman/Delano) at the last minute, which clearly didn't even pay off for him in the long term (the only other credit I recall of his was one of the Tekno Comics books right before that whole thing imploded).

The Collins run started out decently but the wheels came off quickly. Pretty much everything she did was low stakes as hell, which can be fine and which a better writer can pull off in a compelling way. But even her character development stank, so there was no real upside to scaling the title back into this domestic drama centered around Louisiana. The horror/supernatural elements are just dull as hell and often retreads of what came before (a serial killer, a ghost pirate, a patchwork monster, the return of Arcane, yawn). And, boy, I sure hope you like exclamation marks! Because at some point she starts ending every sentence with them! And I'm honestly not even exaggerating! Every single sentence! It's ultimately just a soggy, effortless endeavor where absolutely nothing of consequence happens beyond the very end of the very last issue of her run, where Abby leaves Swampy and one of the elementals drags Tefe away into the Green.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Thursday, 17 June 2021 12:20 (two years ago) link

A slight derail, but I disagree on Hellblazer! I love love love the Delano run, but there is stuff worthwhile after that. I know that people like Garth Ennis for the wrong reasons (juvenile sensibility, violence), but some of his issues are really beautiful short fiction, particularly the issues where John leaves and it's just Kit and the book just becomes these funny/wistful short stories about Irish city life, sorta like Brendan Behan or an early Terence Davies movie.

Most people forget there was this Paul Jenkins/Sean Phillips run. It is less flashy and superheroic, but it has this tone of middle aged melancholy that I quite like and great moody art...

There are a few issues that are generally not as available by Eddie Campbell--it's not a perfect run, but it has a kooky texture and Australian politics; a kind of interesting vibe. There is also one issue by Gaiman and Dave McKean as a rare interior artist that is worth looking over.

However, I agree on the other stuff not being great!

johnasdf, Thursday, 17 June 2021 15:05 (two years ago) link

Ennis wasn't bad but most of my disdain for his run is that he turned John Constantine into a stock Ennis character and then most subsequent writers just ran with his changes. Moore and Delano's Constantine was much more nuanced and not merely the swaggering, smirking Dreamworks caricature he later became.

There was well-written stuff after Delano but I'm generally just not that into the runs that lean more Ennis. Jenkins and Carey did alright and hearkened back to the OG Conjob a bit.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Thursday, 17 June 2021 15:27 (two years ago) link

I prefer the writing on the Ennis issues (at least until Steve Dillon came onboard), and the art on the Delano issues (although iirc John Rxdgwxy refused to draw some 'blasphemous' content? - (sic) may know more - and also about Eddie's abrupt departure from Hellblazer)

Swamp Thing just seems like one of those titles that has had every possible variation wrung from it and has no real reason to keep on going other than copyright control.

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 17 June 2021 16:00 (two years ago) link

I would agree with that. Even as a huge fan of the character, I quit a short way into the Diggle/Dysart run (v4, I believe?) and haven't returned. Millar's end to v2 is just fine as a stopping point.

Jerome Percival Jesus (Old Lunch), Thursday, 17 June 2021 16:58 (two years ago) link

I really liked Jenkins' Hellblazer run, at least most of it. To me, it felt like he combined elements of the Delano and Ennis versions of the character, but without the worst indulgences of either. Some of the stories related to Constantine's past, which had been kind of confusing up to that point (to me at least), and gave it some clarity. The only downside is that the last three or four stories were a bit aimless and disappointing.

The weird thing with Delano, for me, is that I enjoyed the one-off issue he wrote long after his actual run a lot more than the run itself!

Duane Barry, Thursday, 17 June 2021 19:59 (two years ago) link

Does Constantine ever discover the tree tattoo on his butt that Swampy got when he was controlling Constantine's body? Abby mentions it once but Constantine didn't seem to catch what she was saying. Does this pay off in Hellblazer or something, or did it get forgotten about?

Cow_Art, Thursday, 17 June 2021 20:01 (two years ago) link

idrc, but Constantine gets involved in enough opportunistic sex magick through the years that it probably doesn't bother him

also about Eddie's abrupt departure from Hellblazer

p much what you'd expect - he just didn't get on with the Big Two system of editorial involvement, and bailed out. he especially resisted the editor's chosen plot of sending white magician John to the Australian outback to go on a vision quest with a "witch doctor" from a made-up indigenous people. keen-eyed readers may note that Jenkins' run immediately opens with this cover

afair Campbell's only other stint on an ongoing WFH book was two issues on Captain America this century, in which he confidently drew Iron Man looking like this, having not kept up to date on costume changes in the previous four decades

one issue by Gaiman and Dave McKean as a rare interior artist that is worth looking over

the Morrison/ Lloyd two-parter that ran next to this is also good

bobo honkin' slobo babe (sic), Thursday, 17 June 2021 20:44 (two years ago) link

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