I’ve always had a soft spot for DC Comics’ muck monster, Swamp Thing. When I was a kid, there was a newsagents in Bryant Road in Strood where they had a spinner rack full of American comics for sale. I’d buy comics on the way home from school. It was something to look forward to at the end of a day and was where I first discovered comics like Teen Titans, Daredevil, X-Men and Swamp Thing (I had no idea that these titles were created during a comics renaissance by legendary figures like Frank Miller, Chris Claremont, Maru Wolfman and George Perez). In those days it was covers that attracted me and Swamp Thing would have amazing covers – usually with Swamp Thing battling some other nightmarish monster – that I couldn’t resist.
This was before Alan Moore took over as writer. I can remember how odd the comic became with Moore: Swamp Thing was no longer Alec Holland and, for a number of issues, travelled to other planets. I’m sure my early-teen self didn’t really understand what was going on. John Constantine was introduced and I recall some huge battle between Heaven and Hell that (maybe) tied into one of the DC Crises. Looking back, I’m unsure whether I read all of Moore’s run (my fervent interest in comics fell away when I was about 15) and, other than borrowing a couple of Swamp Thing graphic novels in the late 1990s, didn’t read anything until Scott Snyder took over with the New 52 DC reboot. I seem to know more about Swamp Thing indirectly than I’ve actually read.
I HAVE read a great deal of Alan Moore, though. Swamp Thing – his breakthrough comic – is a major work by him that I don’t know intimately (the other would be From Hell). For ages, I’ve been after a decent copy of Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, either the hardback collections or the Absolute Editions. Up until this week, it’s been prohibitively expensive (because I’m a hardcover snob). I managed to get an Absolute Edition cheaply (well, relatively cheaply). The second Absolute is released at the end of this month which means that the rest of October and November look like my comic reading will heavily focus on Swamp Thing.
I already have the Bronze Age omnibus and it makes sense to start re-reading at the beginning before Moore. The Bernie Wrightson art at the start is magnificent.