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"Growth Patterns"

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

Cover: Steve Bissette, John Totleben


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Although this issue is thought of as Constantine's first appearance, he actually had a cameo in issue #25. Furthermore, DC SAMPLER #3 marks the second published appearance of Constantine, (albeit in an ad, not in a story) since it came out before SWAMP THING #37.

1:3 Abby is working at Elysium Lawns, a home for troubled children. She met Tim Carburton in issue #26, page 8.

5:4 Benjamin refers to the writings of H.P.Lovecraft. Ben developed his speech impediment after the traumatic Newcastle incident which Constantine often refers to. (See HELLBLAZER #11 for the whole story.)

8:2 First appearance of Sister Anne-Marie.

8:5 The picture is St. Michael Slaying the Dragon by Albrecht Dürer, circa 1497.

10:1 They're talking about events from last issue.

11:4 First appearance of Emma.

11:6 This is the Invunche - see Swamp Tnghi#46.

18:4 Benjamin is building the classic Aurora "Guillotine" plastic model kit.

10:1 Upcoming issues will indeed include a werewolf (#40), vampires (#38-39), ), a haunted house (#45), and other "classic frighteners." Abby had a related frightening dream in #33.

21 Here we go with the words matching the pictures again: Judith falls "over the edge", and "opens her mouth".

22:1 In the letter column of issue #43, it is confirmed that that is Alan Moore in the lower right. Next to him is Rick Veitch, and a bit further back in the crowd is Steve Bissette with his wife Nancy and daughter Maia.

22:7 The boy has returned to the sheet of paper.

23:5 Swampy should remember SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #2 and 3 (1982).

COMMENT: Constantine (pronounced Kon-stan-tyne) went on to be an enormously popular character, eventually got his own series, HELLBLAZER, written by Jamie Delano, and also starred in Neil Gaiman's BOOKS OF MAGIC mini-series.

When the 2005 movie Constantine featured Keanu Reeves as an Americanized version of the character, the Rutland Herald ran an article about his origins:

"I was really excited to work with Alan," said Veitch, 53, who
 lives in Townshend.

Moore's script for "Swamp Thing," No. 37, had a detailed description of
 Constantine: a chain-smoking, trench-coat-wearing occult detective
 who had the "faint air of menace," inspired by Sting's bellboy character
 in The Who film "Quadrophenia," Veitch said.

"The only element that I added was an earring," Veitch said. "In 1985,
 that was very risqué."

The next major revelation about the Swamp Thing's true origins & destiny occurs in issue #47.

COMMENT: This issue is a prologue of sorts to the "American Gothic" storyline, in which ST explores society in the United States in relation to classic horror motifs, such as vampires, werewolves, haunted houses, etc., culminating in issue #50.

COMMENT: This issue was reprinted in black & white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #18, April 1998.

COMMENT: In 2001, DC Comics collected/reprinted ST #35-42 in a book titled "Swamp Thing: The Curse".

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