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"Fish Story"

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

Cover: Stephen Bissette and John Totleben


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This issue is dedicated to Greg Irons. Irons drew underground comics (LEGION OF CHARLIES, LIGHT COMIX) in the early 1970's and was known for his tattoo artistry in the 1980's. He worked on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine animated film and collaborated with Tom Veitch, the brother of SWAMP THING artist/author Rick Veitch. Greg died in 1984. The skull image in the final panel of page 23 is an homage to Irons' SKULL COMIX.

1:3 Among the toys we see dolls of Gumby and Pokey, characters from a popular 1960's clay animation TV series.

1:5 Note the sign in the background: "Kalnick's Playground". Chris Kalnick went to art school with ST artists Totleben and Bissette and was mentioned in issue 25.

2-3:1 The Front Street Arcade was seen in issue #3, page 12.

2-3:3 Swampy visited the Rosewood Library in issue #3, page 5.

4:5 Link to 5:1 escape/"let me go"

5:7 Link 6:1 caviar(fish eggs)/taste

6:1 A female vampire had the same reaction to the Swamp Thing's "blood" in issue #3, page 3.

7:7 Link to 8:1 day/dark

8:6 Link to 9:2 children?"hurt each other"/"eat each other"
This image from the 2006 horror film "Slither" may have been inspired by this issue.

18:4 ST faces forms the hilltop; his hands form the roots

21:1 There is a comic book store in Warren, Ohio, run by a man named Popadak , thus the sound effect here may be an inside joke reference to him. I contacted Mr. Popadak and he had no idea.

21:2 Artist Rick Veitch's name is pronounced "veetch", as in the sound effect

22:1 The sign in the background says "Gregory's Purple Inn". Chris Kalnick (see note 1:5) tells me that this is reference to Gregory Irons' cartoon strip "Gregor, The Purple-Assed Baboon", which appeared in DR. WIRTHAM'S COMIX & STORIES.  (See "Factoid" sidebar.)

22:5 The red skies are a story element from DC Comics' "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event which crossed over into every DC book.

23:6 Constantine's reference to "3 buses" could be based on a popular saying that "you can't find a bus when you really need one, but then three will all show up at once."

COMMENT: Artist Steve Bissette pointed out that the idea in this story of a biological premise for vampirism was partly inspired by Richard Matheson's novel I AM LEGEND:

I have very fond memories of walking on a sunny day with Alan, John Totleben and my two-year-old daughter Maia on the road and in the woods around our old Wilmington, VT, Chimney Hill development home during Alan's one and only visit to Vermont, brainstorming that sequel to the Marty Pasko/Tom Yeates vampire village issue earlier in the Swamp Thing run. It was Matheson's notion of vampire physiology Alan and I recalled during that walk (as a delighted little Maia Rose took Alan's hand and my own and swung happily between us as we walked and chatted about why staking vampires killed them in I Am Legend), and which Alan ultimately used.

COMMENT: The title phrase "fish story" traditionally means an exaggerated tale.

COMMENT: This issue is reprinted in black and white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #20, June 1998.

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

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