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“S” Is For …

… The Saga of the Swamp Thing! (1982)

After wandering in the alphabet wilderness these past several days, we are back at last to some hard choices. The letter, “S” might as well be for “slaughterhouse” when you look at the good books that I have to step over to select Saga of the Swamp Thing.

Hard choices, here, but I am content. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing added decades to my life as a comics reader and fan. If Moore hadn’t turned my head inside-out with “Anatomy Lesson” I might well have drifted away from comics for good. Instead, Moore showed how to reinvent a character in a way that reinvigorated not just one series, but an entire publisher. DC was absolutely the place to be in the mid-1980s, and I still wonder how things might have turned out if DC didn’t run Alan Moore out of town, and conclude from the success of The Dark Knight Returns that every damn book should be grim and gritty.

But I digress.

Swamp Thing is special enough that he makes this list twice, both in the form of Moore’s paradigm-shifting interpretation, and in the original Lein and Wrightson version listed in my long roll call of honorable mentions, below. Which “S” title is your favorite! Let me know!

Honorable Mentions:

Read more about Swamp Thing at Longbox Graveyard:

Check out the complete Longbox Graveyard Comics A-To-Z HERE!

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About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published once a month or so at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on February 20, 2018, in Comics A-To-Z and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Good choice. I have most of Moore’s run in collected TPB editions. I highly,. HIGHLY recommend to people who haven’t read that rub to do it. It won’t insult your intelligence, and it’s fun read, that can be both dark and lovely.

    I think the gim n’ gritty thing would’ve still taken over a the main flavor and gimmick of the latter portion of that decade, but if Moore was still around, there’d have been other intelligent works of his to help make sure it didn’t quite have a stranglehold on the industry as far as content goes. He would’ve been run off anyways, especially when it came for DC to market/steal his ideas.

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    • One of the few books that I felt like I “discovered.” I was there from Moore’s first issue, and did the evangelical work of selling my friends on the book. I read every issue as it came out, and still have them all in my slimmed-down collection. In my own brief career as a comic book writer it was Moore that I was aping, and Moore’s Swamp Thing most of all.

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  2. Tough choice indeed!

    In more recent times, I thought J. Michael Straczynski’s Supreme Power (a reimagining of Squadron Supreme) from 2005-ish was criminally underrated. I still think it would make a great HBO series.

    A lot of people hated Doc Ock as Spider-Man, but never having had a real affinity for the wall-crawler, I thought Superior Spider-Man was an excellent mega-arc from Dan Slott’s awesome run.

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    • I read a bit of Superior Spider-Man on Marvel Unlimited a couple years ago. It was better than I expected, but didn’t rise to the level of something I wanted to review at the blog, and frankly I’d forgotten about it altogether until you brought it up!

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  3. Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes is the easy winner for me.

    A lot of pretty good titles under “S” but nothing to seriously give SB&TLOST a serious run for its money. Strange Tales, Superman, Silver Surfer (both the 1968 series and the 1987 series have their moments), Shogun Warriors (yes, I like the Shogun Warriors, so there!), Showcase, Secret Origins,all good titles.

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  4. let’s not forget the Spectre’s late 60s title …

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    • Spectre is so damn weird, and a real blank spot for me. Everything I know about the character comes from Jim Aparo covers and thumbing a Golden Age collection at the Torpedo Comics booth at San Diego Comic-Con. Another book for the “someday” pile, and still ANOTHER character that I would happily hunt down on a DC digital service.

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  5. Sure is fun to have the Longbox Graveyard appearing in my email regularly! Totally on board with both Swamp Thing runs, altho I place Wein&Wrightson above Moore, probably because a coverless but beloved copy of Swamp Thing has resided in my collection since I was ten years old.

    I see Starfire in your honorable mentions list below! I found issues 3 and 4 in a used book store’s dollar bin a few months ago – I was amazed because I’d never seen them, never heard of them, nothing! Like a bolt shot straight out of 1976 or whenever. They are very cool. I keep checking that bin for 1 and 2, but so far, no luck. Might have to search the internet soon. (Oops. A quick googling says there are 8 issues. A new quest!)

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    • I am a big fan of the Wein & Wrightson original Swamp Thing, too. I didn’t come to that book until after I’d read Moore, but found it very strong. As a word-and-pictures product, I think the Wein/Wrightson team worked just a bit better than did Moore and Bissette/Totleben, but that may just be down to taste. Certainly Swamp Thing has been generously served by superior creative teams for such a “lesser” character. The ultimate underdog!

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    • I remember nothing about Starfire except that it was vaguely trashy and that it made my adolescent male pulse quicken. I threw it in the mentions just to see if anyone else remember it …!

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