Sick as a dog (it ain’t Covid), so this one is even more rushed than usual, sorry about that. I found myself wanting to noodle around with one of my favorite comic book characters. It’s movie/TV related as well, as there have been two movies and two series, the most recent TV incarnation appearing in 2019 – and while there are things to enjoy about each incarnation I have to admit I’m still waiting for one that does the big green guy justice.
I’m talking, of course, about the moss-encrusted mockery of a man called Swamp Thing!
Swampy is by no means the first swamp creature to appear in comics. That distinction probably goes to The Heap, which first appeared in 1942 in the pages or Air Fighters Comics before getting his own backup strip in Airboy Comics. After that we’ve got Marvel Comics’ Man Thing, which appeared in Savage Tales #1 in May 1971, beating Swampy into print by a mere two months. Swamp Thing has always been the muck monster for me, though – from his early books by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson through the 1980’s, when Alan Moore breathed new life into the character. While I haven’t bought every series featuring the character I do have many of them – though I admit it’s the Moore run with art by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben I love the most. (My wife has bought me the Absolute Editions of those stores for Christmas the last couple of years and they’re awesome.)
Wes Crave brought the muck monster to cinematic life in 1982, and his Swamp Thing is a film I enjoy despite it being considerably cheesy. Other attempts at adapting the comics to the big and small screen have met with “meh” from reviewers and audiences, though the 2019 series of the short-lived DC streaming service garnered the most praise. It’s probably no mistake that it hewed the closest to Alan Moore’s storylines – even including an adaptation of “The Anatomy Lesson,” one of his earliest and most concept-defining stories.
I know it’s difficult to adapt the character to live action – even the most recent show and it’s special effects ended up looking like a guy in a rubber suit half the time – but I hold out hope that somehow, someday it’ll get done and done right. Until then, well I’ve still got he comics, right?
Just for giggles, here’s another older Swampy sketch. ALSO not finished, because that’s how I roll apparently.
So what about you? Love or hate him? Prefer your Giant Sized Man Thing? (I still haven’t seen that SyFy adaptation, by the way.)