1:2 Abby and Matt Cable were forced to flee during the attack by Sunderland and the DDI in issue #20. They mistakenly believe Liz Tremayne and Dennis Barclay to be dead.
3:5 The image of Woodrue's repulsive arm parallels Abby's disgust regarding ST's arm.
5:7 Those tubers are edible, alright. They have some very interesting effects, shown in issues #34 and #43.
7:1 The hand holding the glass on the right belongs to the Patchwork Man (from issue 3 of the original series), judging by the stitches on his wrist. On the far left is the unnamed alien from issue 9 of the original series. The hand on the far right is Batman's, judging by the "fins" on the glove.
Guest of the Challengers
M'Nagalah's tentacle is seen on the cover of this issue. Swampy had left that creature from H.P.Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos buried in a mineshaft in SWAMP THING (Vol. 1) #8, one of Swampy's earliest tales, written by Len Wein. M'Nagalah returned in CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN#82, in which Swamp Thing appears in a cameo flashback to SWAMP THING #8 inked by Swamp Thing creator, Bernie Wrightson. The story was written by Gerry Conway. Swamp Thing becomes a real guest-star in issue #83, in which M'Nagalah is defeated.
In #84, Swampy is invited to live with the team at Challengers Mountain, essentially becoming (along with Deadman) a Challengers member, until the series was cancelled with issue #87. Swamp Thing as part of a super-hero team - Who'd of thunk it?
7:4 The monster drinking with Matt is Abby's uncle Anton Arcane, ST's oldest & greatest foe. This scene will be shown again in #31, page 9.
7:5 If you look closely, in the background you can see the Floronic Man(?) dancing with the priestess from #16 of the original series. Also we see Sunderland standing in front of Batman and two men who are probably comic book creators(?) Ideas, anyone? The one-eyed tentacle on the left is from issues 6-7 of this (1982) series.
A "grass widower" is a man who is divorced or separated from his wife, as opposed to one whose wife is dead.
7:6 The bio-"restorative formula" was the project Alec Holland and his wife were working on when they were killed. In the background, the Conclave's robot from issue 6 of the original series ("the Clockwork Horror") dances with the Patchwork Man.
7:7 The man dancing in the background is Mayor Klochmann from issue 6 of the original series.
8:1 This is supposed to be General
Sunderland, who exhumed Linda's body as explained in the previous issue.
8:5 Here we see (left to right) the werewolf from issue 4 of the 1973 series, the Patchwork Man and the Clockwork Horror .
9:1 It was common for the artists to hide their friends' names in these stories. Who is the "Brian" named on the bus?
11:5 The portrait on the right is Summer by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, wherein fruits form a face. (Shown at right) Another Arcimboldo portrait, Water, is used on the cover of the 1975 music album "Masque" by Yes.
12:1 Link from 11:7 "edible"/"eats"
12:5 The bowl says "HOLLANDaise sauce" and the book is "E.A.Poe - The Conqueror Worm." Issue 11 of the 1974 series featured a story titled "The Conqueror Worms!"
12:5 "Plain Aryan"=planarian
15:1 Artist John Totleben told me about this panel, saying: "One of the close-up panels of Woodrue following his tuber-supper shows his eyes to be seriously dilated, a telltale sign of psychedelic drug use! My, but weren't we a subtle bunch!"
16:1 Link from 15 "You still have something I want"/"You can't have it"
16:2 This is supposed to be General
Sunderland (thus the military reference about the Marines) and the Patchwork Man ("patched up"). Compare this hallucinatory representation of characters with that in SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #43 page 15.
16:3 Matt Cable has a drinking problem.
16:4 The dinosaur is from (1974 series) issue #12. In the lower right corner we see Liz Tremayne and Dennis Barclay. Who is the woman with the jewel? The tentacled one-eyed creature over her right shoulder is M�Nagalah from issue #8 of the original series ("The Lurker in Tunnel 13"). The alien to the left of the skeleton is from the original series #9 ("The Stalker from the Stars", Abby meets another alien of that same race in issue 81.) In the bottom left is Woodrue. The child to the right of Woodrue (below the Patchwork Man) is one of the "Tomorrow Children" from issue 14 of the original series. The tusked creature to the left of the Patchwork Man is one of the "Conqueror Worms" from issue 11 of the original series.
18:1 Link from page 17 "Enough"
20:4 The saying is "A rolling stone gathers no moss." But he does gather moss, doesn't he?
Comments: Artist John Totleben wrote to me about Woodrue's experience as the first person to eat one of Swampy's tubers and have an hallucinogenic experience from them.. He says:
It isn't really spelled out, but did anyone really believe that he could experience the trippy "oneness" with the natural world by simply sticking a few wires from some lame pseudo-scientific contraption to a leaf (or whatever it was). He ate a tuber for supper first, then had his mind-blowing experience following that. This foreshadows Abby's hallucinogenic experience in # 34. The contrast is that Woodrue winds up having a "bad" trip while Abby's is a positive, uplifting one.
Comments: The dream scenes in this issue probably inspired similar sequences in Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN stories "The Doll's House" and "A Game of You".
COMMENT: In 1987, DC Comics collected/reprinted 21-27 in a trade book titled "Saga of the Swamp Thing". In the year 2000 it was re-released with new cover art (shown at left) from the painted poster by Michael Zulli.
This issue was also reprinted in black & white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #2 October 1996 with a recreation of the original cover. (Click image at right to enlarge). This was the first time that issue issue #20 was reprinted in the United States, but the caption on the final page of issue #24 was left out!