DC History Club, Muck And Magic Double Feature: Swamp Thing, polls, quiz, discussion


:halloween_batman: :halloween_superman: :halloween_wonderwoman:To create a classic comic series you need the combination of a talented creative team with a unique take on the perfect character at the right time in history. In 1972, at the peak of 1970s horror comics Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson launched a character that is part hard traveling hero, part Dr. Frankenstein and part Frankenstein’s monster. Although only thirteen issues long, Wein and Wrightson’s Swamp Thing run created an enduring template of the Swamp Thing as a bulwark between the forces of darkness and humanity. During the next decade, others would try their hand with Swamp Thing with unexceptional results. Then, Alan Moore , Steve Bissette, and Rick Vietch invigorated and elevated would Swamp Thing in a more political and explicitly environmental direction while never sacrificing the characters’ horror roots. And while they were at, they gave us the enduring and strange love story between Abby Arcane and Swamp. Now firmly established in the minds of writers fans alike, Swamp Thing would never again fade from the scene. From being tent pole character at the creation of Vertigo, to passing through the capable hands of some of DC’s best writers, to starring in movies and television.

Join the DC History Club as we head to the swamp and explore Swamp Thing from his creation in the House of Secrets, to his seminal 1980s stories, to his appearances across the DC universe. During the next three weeks we will focus first on Wein and Wrightson’s 1972 series with three stories, each very different from one another that demonstrate Swamp Thing’s ability to work across genres. The second week deals with Moore, Bissette and Vietch’s revolutionary stories that took Swamp Thing from the monster hero to the defender of the Green. Finally, we will look across the broad range of Swamp Thing writers, series, television episodes and movies that have kept Wein and Wrightson’s muck monster in the center of DC Comics. And, we’ll be participating in the Friday Night Watch Alongs for double features on Constantine and Swamp Thing.
Keep on eye out the 2nd week of October as @TurokSonOfStone1950 launches three weeks of Muck and Magic: Constantine.
History Club Challenge Swamp Facts and research:
-Got some quality research material on Swamp Thing, his creators, or his impact on comics? Add it to our research wiki
-Got some good Swamp Facts you’d like to drop on us? Drop below.

Suggested Readings

Week 1: Wein and Wrightson

Swamp Thing #1 Dark Genesis Swamp Thing’s origin story.

Swamp Thing #7 The Night of the Bat Swamp meets bat.

Swamp Thing #9 The Stalker From Beyond Swamp Thing battles an alien, but who’s the bad guy?

Links to issues

DC Universe

DC Universe

DC Universe

Suggested Discussion Topics:

  1. How relevant do you find Wein’s original run today, both as stories and in their depiction of Swamp Thing?

  2. The suggested issues touch on crime, horror, science fiction, and super hero stories. How well do you think Swamp Thing works across these different genres? Why do you think it works or doesn’t?

  3. Is Swamp Thing a horror character, a superhero, something else?

  4. What are your general thoughts on these stories?

  5. Open ended question, what do you think of Moore’s run?

Week 2: Moore, Bissette and Vietch.

The Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 The Anatomy Lesson Moore’s second story rewrites what Swamp Thing thought he knew about himself thanks to the Floronic Man

The Saga of the Swamp Thing #32: Pog pays homage to the Pogo comic strip with another Swamp Thing meets alien story.

The Saga of the Swamp Thing #34: Rite of Spring Swamp Thing and Abby join together in the way only Alan Moore could have imagined.

The Saga of the Swamp Thing #40 Cursed Constantine sends Swamp Thing to confront a woman who can’t control the beast within.

Week 3: And More:
The Swamp Thing Winter Special (2018) includes story from Tom King and the final Swamp Thing story from Len Wein, with additional script and art.

Story link

DC Universe

Friday Night WALs
Swamp Thing
10/23 episodes 2 & 4 8:00 PM Eastern/ 5:00 PM Pacific
10/30 episodes 9 & 10 8:00 PM Eastern/ 5:00 PM Pacific

Beyond the History Club: Join the Friday Night Watch Along in October for first Constantine and then Swamp Thing double features. We’ll be there with a few history facts and to just join in the fun. Plus, our friends at the Characters of DC Club have spun up a monster mash with even more Swamp Thing later in the month. Thanks for the Monster Mash @JasonTodd428. Need some of today’s Swamp Thing? Check out the World of Wonder as our buddy @nu52 has both Constantine and Swamp Thing in the Justice League Dark with stories that tie directly to the history of both characters.

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Swamp Thing Writers: On my current binge, I’ve worked through a good number of the regular Swamp Thing writers and there are significant quality differences among them. Here’s my quick take on each, I’ll update as I learn more.

Len Wein: House of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing ’72 , Swamp Thing ’16, Swamp Thing Winter Special ’18. The originator of the character remained an A+ writer on Swamp Thing until his final story in 2018. New to the character or ready to start a deep dive, there is no better place to start than House of Secrets #92 then into Wein’s 13 issues of the debut series. His version of Swamp Thing is the most human and the most tragic. He works as well in horror as he does in sci-fi as he does against capes, not a miss among his issues.

David Micheline & Gerry Conway: Swamp Thing ’72 (14-24). Each story during this period was either written or plotted by Micheline or Conway. While these are certainly not essential readings, there are some quality stories in the mix particularly those that focus on Swamp Thing’s ties to the horror genre. But there are also some strange turns including a Dr. No-like villian and a quick trip into Sci-Fi. The best reason to read these issues is the black and white art the employ. This style works perfectly for Swamp Thing.

Martin Pasko: The Saga of the Swamp Thing ’82 (1-19). Pasko attempts to go back to Wein’s version of the lonely traveling monster/hero but fails to capture the magic Wein created. There’s nothing particularly bad about his run, but there is nothing particularly notable either. He essentially treats Swamp Thing as a strong green superhero with nothing that makes him unique. However, starting with issue #15 there’s a guest writer for two Phantom Stranger guest starring stories, then Stephen Bissette joins the title and something closer to Moore’s Swamp Thing begins. Recommend readers start with 15.

Alan Moore: The Saga Swamp Thing ’82/Swamp Thing ’85 (20-61, 63-64). Alan Moore revolutionized the character and told some fantastic stories along the way. His American Gothic, which introduced John Constantine, is one of the greatest story arcs in all of comics. The love story between Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane fundamentally altered the nature of Swamp Thing and how he interacts with the world around him. But, there are times when exploring an idea or take on the character gets in the way of telling a good story.

Rick Veitch: Swamp Thing ’85 (62, 65-87). Veitch starts strong as Constantine and Swamp Thing search for a host for the new green elemental. There’s sharp funny writing and Abby takes more control of her own circumstances. Then in issue 82, Veitch emulates Moore’s Swamp Thing in space arc and sends Swamp Thing back through time. While it starts well, particularly a World War I story with Enemy Ace and the Arcane family, it quickly devolves into a joyless mess.

Doug Wheeler: Swamp Thing ’85 (88-109). Nearly unreadable. I hate to be that harsh, but it is a slog. Want to spend a lot of time reading about the intrigue of the Parliament of Trees then this is your book. He deserves credit for introducing the concept of The Grey based on fungi that will eventually become known as the Rot. He also develops the nature of Tefe’ Holland, but unless you’re a completist, you can skip this run.

Nancy Collins: Swamp Thing ’85 (110-138 ). Nancy Collins has received more appreciation for her run lately with DC issuing an Omnibus of her Swamp Thing in April. After the first issue you can already fell the series breathing again as Collins returns us to the bayou and a far more enjoyable read. I’ve heard others describe Swamp Thing becoming more domesticated during this run, and that’s true. But, no spoilers, Collins has a purpose her and she really brings it home over the final third of her run with signficant developments of Swamp Thing, Abby and Tefe’. Plus, we get the introduction of elemental Lady Jane. If you enjoy Swamp Thing comics this is a must read run.

Grant Morrison: Swamp Thing '85 (140- ). Incomplete more later.

**Mark Miller: Swamp Thing '85 ** Incomplete more later.

Brian K. Vaughn: Swamp Thing 2000 (1-20). This Tefe’ Holland focused series starts strong under Vaughn’s normally capable hands. But, as it goes on I found myself liking it less and less. By the end, every major and many minor characters are just unlikable. Everyone kills, everyone is a jerk, all fathers suck, no one brings the slightest bit of light to the story.

Scott Snyder: Swamp Thing 2011 (1- ). Incomplete. The first ten issues of this New 52 series are fast paced and thoroughly steeped in horror. A new status quo for Swamp Thing and Abby offer new possibilities. It is also a very New 52 kind of story, and I’m not sure everyone will enjoy it as much as I have so far.

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Swamp Thing Polls. Check out the polls and tell us what you think below.

  1. What developments or accomplishments in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing are most significant? Vote for up to 3. Tell us why below.
  • Abby & Swamp Thing’s romance
  • Creating John Constantine
  • American Gothic saga
  • Parliament of Trees
  • Environmentalism
  • Making Swamp Thing Avatar of the Green
  • Tying Swamp Thing more closely to supernatural elements/characters

0 voters

  1. What characters did DCU’s Swamp Thing translate well from the comics to the screen? Vote for up to 3. Tell us why below
  • Abby Arcane
  • Alec Holland
  • Swamp Thing
  • Jason Woodrue / Floronic Man
  • Phantom Stranger
  • Madame Xanadu
  • Blue Devil
  • Matt Cable
  • Elizabeth Treymane

0 voters

  1. What Characters did DCU’s Swamp Thing NOT translate well from the comics to the screen? Vote for up to 3. Tell us why below.
  • Abby Arcane
  • Alec Holland
  • Swamp Thing
  • Jason Woodrue / Floronic Man
  • Phantom Stranger
  • Madame Xanadu
  • Blue Devil
  • Matt Cable
  • Elizabeth Treymane

0 voters

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Swamp Thing Quiz
Think you know Swamp Thing? Check out your knowledge below and let us know how you’ve done.

  1. Swamp Thing debuted in what comic?
  • House of Mystery #92
  • House of Secrets #92
  • Swamp Thing #1

0 voters

  1. In Swamp Thing ’72, Abby Arcane comes from what area of Europe?
  • Balkans
  • Bavaria
  • Baltics

0 voters

  1. Who was the initial editor on Saga of the Swamp Thing in 1982?
  • Karen Berger
  • Joe Orlando
  • Len Wein

0 voters

  1. What is the name of the issue in which Swamp Thing discovers his true nature in Saga of the Swamp Thing #21.
  • The Green
  • The Anatomy Lesson
  • Into the Swamp

0 voters

  1. Swamp Thing’s nemesis, the Floronic Man debuted in The Atom #1 using what name?
  • Plant Master
  • Master of Plants
  • Floronic Man

0 voters

  1. True or False, Swamp Thing kills purely for revenge?
  • True
  • False

0 voters

  1. Derek Mears, who plays Swamp Thing on the DCU Original, played the villain in what movie series?
  • Scream
  • Halloween
  • Friday the Thirteenth

0 voters

  1. Who wrote the Wes Craven directed Swamp Thing (1982) movie?
  • Len Wein
  • Mario Puzo
  • Wes Craven

0 voters

  1. Why is Abby Arcane’s hair white with black stripes?
  • Uncle Anton Arcane’s experiments
  • Genetics
  • Demonic possession

0 voters

  1. Crystal Reed, Abby Arcane in DCU Original Swamp Thing, played what character on Gotham?
  • Vicki Vale
  • Kathy Kane
  • Sofia Falcone

0 voters

Bonus Question 11. Swamp Thing’s daughter received a twenty issue Vertigo series. What is her name?

  • Alice Holland
  • Crystal Holland
  • Tefe’ Holland

0 voters

Answer Key

1. House of Secrets #92
2. Balkans
3. Len Wein
4. The Anatomy Lesson
5. Plant Master
6. True
7. Friday the Thirteenth
8. Wes Craven
9. Genetics
10. Sofia Falcone
Bonus 11. Tefe’ Holland

Score

1-3 You’re looking a little mucky

4-6 Nice job, welcome to the bayou

7-9 You’re a friend of the Green

10 You’re the new Swamp Thing (sorry)

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Swamp Thing Research Wiki: Add by clicking on pencil to the right.
Thanks to DCU’s Swamp Thing show and the great work of the news crew here at DCU, there’s a good deal of reliable Swamp research already available. And, revisiting the great folks at DC Daily with their Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Comic Book Club is a must.

Wein & Wrightson 1972 run

Moore


Alan Moore 1985 Swamp Thing interview 5 parts, 5 min per

And More

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One thing I’d like to find is a quality literary analysis of Moore’s Swamp Thing in particular. There’s got to be some out there, I just haven’t found it yet.

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John Constantine
Has a leading role
In this WAL
which is tonight
October 2

A very powerful
Swamp Thing
Also appears
n a segment of the film

My second week
On Constantine
Is
His appearances
With superheroes
Especially
New 52 Justice League Dark
And this film

Attend if you can

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More advanced notice
Of WALS
Hosted by @Pretty.Poison.Bombshell

Constantine
10/9 Episodes 3 & 5
10/16 Episodes 8 & 9

Swamp Thing
10/23 2 & 4
10/30 9 & 10

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I’m very excited about this month! I LOVE Swamp Thing, and have since my childhood! This is fun reading.

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Awesome, you gotta drop your thoughts on Swamp Thing across the board. I’ve got a note to put up later on the impact Alan Moore had I me that I didn’t even know until years later.

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This is how
Swamp Thing
Was introduced
In a DC text ad
Written by Alan Moore

This is the place.

It breathes, it eats, and, at night, beneath a crawling ground fog with the luster of vaporized pearl, it dreams; dreams while tiny predators stage a nightmare ballet in sharp black grass. It is a living thing. It has a soul. It has a face.

At night you can almost see it.

At night you can almost imagine what it might look like if the Swamp were boiled down to its essence, and distilled into corporeal form; if all the muck, all the forgotten muskrat bones, and all the luscious decay would rise up and wade on two legs through the shallows; if the Swamp had a spirit and that spirit walked like a man…

At night, you can almost imagine.

You can stare into those places where the evening has pooled beneath the distant trees, and glimpse an ambiguous shifting of the darkness: something large, large and slow, its movements solemn and inevitable, heavy with clotted, sodden weed that forms its flesh. Its skeleton of tortured root creaks with each funeral pace, protesting at the damp and sullen weight. Within their sockets its eyes float like blood-poppies in puddles of ink.

You can inhale through flared nostrils, drinking in its musk, green and pungent. There is the delicate scent of mosses and lichens adorning its flanks. There is the dry and acrid aftertaste of the pinmold that spreads across its shoulders, fanning out in a dull gray rash.

You can stand alone in the blind darkness and know that were you to raise your arm, reaching out to its full extremity, your fingernails would brush with something wet, something supple and resilient.

Something moving.

You shouldn’t have come here.

This is the place.

This is the story.

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There are storytellers and there are writers. A good storyteller can entertain, but their value is limited to the actions of their characters on the page. A writer, a truly good writer is something else. In the process of telling a story, they understand how to use words to evoke feeling, structure a sentence or sequence words to create a rhythm and cadence, or choose words that pop or calm your internal narrator. Reading a great writer becomes far more participatory, you become invested in the flow of words. In short, how they say something and what they are saying carry equal weight in the storytelling. A great writer’s work lives in the mind long after the story fades. Alan Moore is a great writer.

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Swamp Fact Crystal Reed on Alan Moore: “My dream is Alan Moore’s full run of Swamp Thing – like if it was just verbatim, that would be my dream, because I think that is a nearly perfect comic series run,” she said of her dream story arc for Abby. “I think it’s so beautiful and wonderful and heartfelt and gory and interesting. I also really wanted white hair, which I didn’t get.”

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Sounds to me like Reed understands Swamp Thing better than the show runners.

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Added link above to this week’s World of Wonder as @nu52 covers Swamp Thing and Constantine in Justice League Dark in two issues that tie directly to the history of both characters. Great reads in a great club.

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Link is

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This guy does a pretty decent job at providing some back history on Nancy Collin and her run.

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Thanks, will add above, I’m at issue 85, so still a ways to go on ST ‘82. Have also hit some of the smaller runs.

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I gotcha. I tried to use the wiki but it didn’t work when clicking on it. Oh by the way thank you again for all the great questions for the trivia game! History club came up a good few times. Also, I’m not very well read on GL but I knew Alan wore ring on left hand, but I guess that came later and originally wore it on his right. I haven’t checked out where that is on the history club thread but maybe that’d be worth adding if it’s not on there.

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In Secret Origins History of DC Comics
Which.the DC History Club
Covered in September 2020

23 minutes in
Artist Irwin Hansen
Says Alan Scott’s ring
Was on his left hand
While Julie Schwartz
At 42 minutes in
Had the ring
On.the right hand of
Hal Jordon

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