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"The Curse"

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

Cover: Stephen R. Bissette & John Totleben (signed)
The splash of blood reminds one of the "smiley face" cover of Moore's WATCHMEN #1. (Art at right by Dave Gibbons)


In the month which this issue was originally published, DC PRESENTS #85 was published. In that tale by Alan Moore, Superman teams up with Swamp Thing.

Also in that month, Moore's classic SUPERMAN ANNUAL #11 story "For the Man Who Has Everything" was published.

1:1 The key word here is "moon".

1:3 In background, meats highlight the story's bloody theme. On the package, "for freedom" highlights the irony in this panel's narrative.

2:3 Compare the x-rated posters with the 2:1 douche poster's attitude toward women.

2:5 Dogs barking emphasize the feral anger in this page's narrative. The savage dog imagery also appears in Moore's WATCHMEN #6.

2:6 The splotches form a face.

6:2 "That time of the month" " is a slang term for the menstruation period.

6:5 Joannie is judged here by her physical attractiveness, as is Phoebe in 7:4

7:3 Artist Steve Bisette remarked in his blog:

That demonic, red-eyed lupine face hanging in the night sky over the white-on-black lettered caption was drawn (fully, in ink, and pasted in by me) by my then-wife Marlene (then named Nancy) O’Connor. We had both loved the rather uncanny 1981 torrent of revisionist werewolf movies, and she was particularly taken with Joe Dante and John Sayles’ The Howling, which informed this image. It seemed appropriate to have Marlene’s drawing embody Phoebe’s simmering lycanthropy and rage, and she was definitely into it!

8:1 Link from 7:4 "shifts & twists"/ST growing

9:5 PMS = Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

9:9 Link to 10:1 "spit it out"/"huk"

16:3 Letter: "Ladies! You may be a winner!"

17:6 "Clothing?taken?and destroyed" echoes Phoebe's actions in this panel.

19:6 Again, meat advertisements highlight the story's bloody theme.

21:4 "Good news for housewives"?

24 Pat Brosseau is a professional comic book letterer.

COMMENT: In 2001, DC Comics collected/reprinted ST #35-42 in a book also titled "Swamp Thing: The Curse". (Cover art by Simon Bisley shown at right)

Comments: The title phrase "The Curse" is a slang term women sometimes use to refer to their menstrual cycle. Phoebe (pronounced FEE bee) is another name for Artemis or Diana, the virgin goddess of the hunt and the moon.

COMMENT: This issue is reprinted in black and white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #21, July 1998.

Comment: On the letters page, there is a letter from a pagan calling himself "Robin Goodfellow". This is one of the names of the wood-sprite Puck, from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

Comment: This issue sure generated a lot of heated mail, which is printed in upcoming issues, including a rare response from Alan Moore in #46. Artist Steve Bissette wrote in Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman that he had once proposed a similarly themed story to HEAVY METAL magazine.

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