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(23 pages)
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist(s): Steve Bissette, John Totleben
Colorist: Tatjana Wood
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Karen Berger
Swamp Thing Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson

Cover: Tom Yeates (signed) - See comment at bottom


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The use of the chainsaw in this story is a powerful symbol. The chainsaw became a cinematic symbol of extremely violent homocidal maniacs since the 1974 film "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Fan John McDonagh points out that one of the first cinematic chainsaw killings "in 'The Last House On the Left' had as a victim a character played by David Hess......who played Ferret from ST#1 in the Craven ST movie!"

1:4 This satellite is famous as the headquarters of the Justice League of America.

3:1 The hand with the power ring belongs to Green Lantern.

3:2 Here we see Hawkman (ST meets others from Hawkman's planet in issues #57-58) and Superman (meets ST in DC PRESENTS #85 and ST #79 ).
Re: the poster names & dates: Woodrue first appeared as the Plant Master in THE ATOM #1, June 1962. Woodrue became the Floronic Man in the Green Lantern story in FLASH #245 November 1976.

3:3 Zatanna (appears in ST#49) and Firestorm (appears in ST Annual #5)

3:4 In the foreground is Green Arrow. In the background are Aquaman and Firestorm. Katar Hol is Hawkman's name.

3:5 In the background are the Flash, Green Lantern (ST meets another GL in ST#61, and yet another shows up in ST#81) and Hawkman.

9:1 Oa is the home base planet of the Green Lantern Corps.

9:2 Aquaman is monitoring "the undersea situation."
For info on the name on the screen "Mark Weber", see issue #26, 22:3. The name on the other computer screen refers to artist Totleben's old friend Scott Rosthauser. Scott wrote to me: "It was put there by him to yank my chain. I went to school with John, Tech Memorial, Class of 76, in Erie PA."

9:4 The (Teen) Titans is a group of young superheroes, which has included Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash.

9:5 Wonder Woman and the Flash
Art by Bissette/
Totleben from

11:3 The symbol on the chainsaw appears to be the symbol of the character in Moore's "V FOR VENDETTA" mini-series and is also used by the Demon in SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2. The symbol is seen again on a shirt in 20:1 of issue #46. The number 2100 may signify the voltage.

21:5 Arkham Asylum (fictional) is where most of the criminal foes of Batman are incarcerated. The asylum is also depicted on the cover of issue issue #52."Kal-El" is the name given to Superman by his genetic parents, used only by those who know him well.

21:6 Note the name on the paper at far left. "Henri Rousseau": he was a late 19th century painter whose most well-known works include "Sleeping Gypsy" and "The Dream". Next issue's story involves a dream-themed painting. Perhaps Bissette and/or Totleben were considering including a Rousseau painting in the next story also.

24 All trade paperback editions including the 2010 hardcover collected edition reprinted this issue while leaving out the caption to this page. In the original printing, it said "…and meet the sun." in the upper left.

COMMENT: The original pencil art of the final page of this issue was included in the French edition of SWAMP THING L’INTEGRALE: VOLUME III: LA MALEDICTION in 2005.

COMMENT: In an interview for THE COMICS JOURNAL #93, Moore explained that he was not forced by marketing directors to include the popular DC superheroes in this issue.

"I was anxious to avoid giving the impression that Swamp Thing existed in some nebulous backwater of the DC continuity, away from the main action," he says.
"In context of the sort of mood we’re attempting to build up around Swamp Thing, a character in a garish leotard could just look incredibly stupid, with a few notable exceptions."
For this reason, none of the superheroes in this story are referred to by their popular names (Superman, Green Lantern, etc). For the most part, you don't even get a clear look at their faces. Moore, Bissette and Totleben depict them as "unknowable entities of immense power that sit up there in space and watch over the affairs of men."

COMMENT: Karen Berger becomes the editor of the series with this issue. Under her guidance, SWAMP THING, SANDMAN, HELLBLAZER, et al. (known as the "Berger Books") were later grouped together under DC Comics' imprint for mature comics, known as the Vertigo line.

COMMENT: On his blog, Steve Bissette notes that this is the last issue cover by regular ST cover artist Tom Yeates: "I simply worked up a rough cover concept, including chainsaw, from which Tom did the final pencils and inks." View the original printing plate.

COMMENT: In 1987, DC Comics collected/reprinted issues 21-27 in a trade book titled "Saga of the Swamp Thing". This issue was reprinted in black & white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #4 December 1996. In 2009, DC Comics collected/reprinted issues 20-27 in a hardcover book titled (again) "Saga of the Swamp Thing", but the caption ("and meet the sun") on the final page of issue 24 was left out!

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