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Origin of the Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing news becoming a TV Series has been out for a while now and a lot of people are getting more excited by the minute. The series is set to launch in 2019 with James Wan as a producer. This is not the first time the Swamp Thing is going on TV though. Swamp Thing has been an inspiration so far for two theatricals, one live-action tv series, and five-part animated series.

But even after all this publicity, it seems that new readers still don’t really know who the Swamp thing is or how strong he can be. So this article is dedicated to the Origins of the Swamp Thing.

In an interview with the Wizard magazine, Len Wein says that the entire concept came to him while he was riding a subway in Queens. “I didn’t have a title for it, so I kept referring to it as ‘that swamp thing I’m working on.’ And that’s how it got its name!” says later on.

Swamp Thing’s first appearance was at the House of Secrets #92 then he went on to appear in five comic series, including some specials and often some crossovers into other DC comic titles. The series got tremendously popular during the 70’s and the 80’s during Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben era but later on suffered from low sales and which was the main cause of cancellation.

swamp thing originSwamp Thing Origin

What is now known as the Swamp Thing was previously a idealistic scientist at the early 1900’s who was working on a top-secret bio-restorative formula but after a bomb set to his lab by his co-worker Damian Ridge, goes off, Alex Olson ends up in flames running for his life in a Swamp where with the forces occupying the swamp and with the powers of the formula Olsen becomes the Swamp Thing an anthropomorphic creature of vegetable matter that is trying to avenge what happened to him.

The story slightly changed when the 24 issues volume one came out with major changes being that Dr. Alex’s wife Aby Holland dies instead of at the original appearance in House of Secrets, she gets married to Alex’s best friend Cable.

Volume 1

Volume one of the comic ran for 24 issues from 1972 to 1976 with Len Wein as the writer of the first 13 issues and horror artist Bernie Wrightson drew the first ten issues. Even though Len Wein’s writing already was loved by all, only the first ten issues were collected by the fans mostly due to the popularity of Berni’s art skills.

As sales lessened by the end of the first volume the team started looking into other ways of keeping the people happy. Unfortunately, in their attempts to keep them interested they created an even worse reaction. At the final two issues, the Swamp Thing transforms back into a human. The series gets canceled and a Hawkman team-up that was in the making leads to a dead-end.


Saga of the Swamp Thing & Volume 2

Saga of the Swamp Thing and Volume 2 writers include Martin Pasko, Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, Doug Wheeler, Nancy A. Collins, Mark Millar and pencilers Stephen Bissette, Stan Woch, Rick Veitch, Tom Mandrake, Pat Broderick, Mike Hoffman, Scot Eaton, Phil Hester, Tom Yeates, Fred Carrillo, Bo Hampton, Stephen Bissette. It was the biggest of all volumes of the Swamp Thing and it was probably a fan favorite.

Published in 1982  attempting to gain more traction because of the Wes Craven film of the same name that year. The Saga ran for 38 issues plus 1 annual, while the second volume ran for 133 issues and 6 annuals.

In the second volume, Martin Pasko is telling the story a bit differently. Swamp Thing, an elemental creature, is roaming the globe trying to stop a young girl named Karen Clancy from destroying the world.

Fortunately, Alan Moore came along at example the right time. The sales started taking a hit so DC decided to give Alan Moore a free reign over to what the story of the Swamp Thing will look like in the future (if it’s going to have any).

Alan Moore, an unknown pretty much writer at the time being, did what no one could ever do making the Swamp Thing a comic book more memorable than any before.

Moore wanted to focus on the creature side so changed the story as such. The Swamp Thing was always a creature and Alec Holland did die in the fire but was consumed from the creature causing it to absorb his body, memories, and knowledge.

One of the most powerful stories in the series is the one with the Floronic Man. A battle to control nature. A vicious story that ends proving that love can tame the strongest forces.

A lot can be said for the rest of the volumes but I think that the Swamp Thing cannot possibly be described in a single article. I think that the continuity is nothing hard to get yourself into and with the new tv show coming soon I think it the Swamp Thing should get higher in your list of comics to read.

Written by Angelos Savvaidis

Digital Marketing enthusiast by day Comic Book Geek by night!

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