2:1 First appearance of Chester Williams. The "fist" emblem on his button is the symbol of solidarity and/or revolution. In the late 60's and early 70's it was often associated with Black Power.
His knee patch is the symbol used by ecological activists in the U.S. in the early 1970's. It resembles a theta ("warning") symbol or a combination of the letters "e" and "o" (for environment and organism).
Petar Stojacovic pointed to me that the trees above Chester's head are shaped like Swampy's head!
3:2 Strawberry Fields Forever Recorded by the Beatles in 1966. Written by John Lennon. The Beatles were notorious for using drugs during that period. Strawberry Fields is an orphanage in Liverpool, which John Lennon visited as a child. Chester is singing this because he's in a field.
Click hear to listen.
Let me take you down
'Cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
3:3 Stop! In the Name of Love recorded by the Supremes in 1965. Chester is singing this because he wants a car to stop for him.
Click hear to listen.
Stop! In the name of love
Before you break my heart
3:4 Happy Trails to You was the theme song from Roy Rogers' television show in the 1950's. He sang the song with his wife, Dale Evans, who wrote it. Chester is singing it because he is saying goodbye to his driver. Click hear to listen.
3:5 J. Robert Haga wrote to me suggesting that "Tragedy!" is a reference to the Bee Gees disco song of that name. Click hear to listen.
3:6 One poster advertises the famous "Allman Brothers" concert at the Fillmore East in New York City in March, 1971 where a live album was recorded. One of the most significant rock bands of the early 1970s, they were continually in trouble with the law for possession of drugs.
The other poster is for "Godspell" a free-spirited, early 1970's musical based on the Gospel according to Mathew. The "Godspell" music album shows up in SWAMP THING ANNUAL #5. Unlike the other objects discussed here, it is not drug-related. Video sample.
The two glass containers are bongs, which use water to cool and filter marijuana smoke. The magazine in the lower right is an issue of ZAP COMIX by Robert Crumb, one of the "underground" comic books from the late 1960s.
4:1 Mushroom chart: Some mushrooms are consumed for their hallucinogenic effects, although some can be lethal, thus Chester needs to identify the tuber he found.
The Politics of Ecstasy is a 1965 book by recreational drug advocate Timothy Leary on psychedelic exploration of consciousness.
4:2 On the dish are a roach clip and rolling papers, used to make marijuana cigarettes or "joints".
4:4 The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, written by Carlos Castenada in 1969, is the first in a series about his spiritual journey involving hallucinogenic plants.
5:2 Dave and Sandy are new characters.
6:2 Aldous Huxley, best known for the book Brave New World, experimented with mind-altering drugs.
6:3 The poster in the background is of "Cheech Wizard", a character / underground comic by Vaughn Bodé. (Thanks to J. Robert Haga for identifying that.) That's probably a home-grown marijuana plant (Spotted by Petar Stojakovic.)
6:6 Datura is a member of the Solanaceae Family, a.k.a. the Deadly Nightshade Family. Southwestern Native Americans use this dangerous plant as an hallucinagenic in their ceremonies, BUT like its relatives, Jimson Weed and Angel Trumpet, it can be DEADLY when ingested by humans and pets. DON'T eat it. Chester gives it to Dave for his wife because she's going to die.
8:2 Milo is a new character. This is the first (and only?) mention of "Suzanne". Chester is not really "expecting friends."
8:3 Jimi Hendrix poster in background. "Screwed up"="high on drugs"
10:5-6 Cool panel transition.
11:1 Link from 10:6 "anything happening?"/"not one thing"
11:2 The bartender has an anchor tattoo because the bar is called the "Anchor Inn".
11:4 Milo is experiencing flashbacks from ST's past. Here we see Alec Holland's death from SWAMP THING #1 (first series), more recently depicted in from SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #28.
11:6 Link to 12:1 "I'm gonna die"/"It's all life"
12:6 Link to 13:1 "Help me outside"/Milo is thrown outside.
13:6 Link to 14:1 "growing all over"/"all over the garden"
15:1 Link from previous page "all this fear"/fearful scream
15:3 This is supposed to be the Patchwork Man ("bad PATCH at WORK, MAN") from SWAMP THING #3 (first series). The real Patchwork Man was Abby's father (!), Gregori Arcane, brother of ST's nemesis Anton Arcane. There was a Patchwork Man story from HOUSE OF SECRETS #140 . A continuation of that Patchwork Man "spinoff" story was printed only in issue #3 of a Swedish magazine called GIGANT.
He appears again in ST #59.
15:4 This is the "Clockwork Horror" ("Watch?"="Clock") from SWAMP THING #6 (first series) and General Sunderland ("army" reference) last seen in ST #19.
Compare this hallucinatory representation of characters with that in SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #22 page 16.
15:5 This is supposed to be the queen/mother of the Rosewood vampires from SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #38 & 39. She has on a leash the Monkey King from SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #25-27.
15:6 (vampire) mother="love and affection"
16:1 Link from 15:6 "love and affection"/love scene
16:6 Link to 17:1 "run through it"/"running"
17:1 From the original ST 1973 series, here we see the werewolf from issue #4 and the UnMan Cranius (the crawling head) last seen in issue #10.
17:4 The alien is from the original 1974 ST series #9 ("The Stalker from Beyond!") Another alien of the same race appears in ST #81.
What is the double meaning of his statement?
18:1 Link from 17:4 "see the light"/"can see/feel the light"
19:1 "pond life" = derogatory term; low form of life; "scum"
19:4 This is supposed to be Anton Arcane, the appropriate one to bring about "Milo Thing's" death.
19:7 "dropped off the twig"="died"
20:1 Link from 19:7 dead man/Grateful Dead shirt/"Dead?"
20:5 Link to 21:1 "ought to feel good about"/"hope you feel bad about"
21:1 This guy was with Milo on page 11.
22:1 The guy took the paperweight in 21:5
22:2 The words are from the 1967 song Bass Strings by Country Joe and the Fish.
Hey partner, won't you pass that reefer round,
My world is spinnin', yeah, just got to slow it down.
Oh, yes you know I've sure got to slow it down.
Get so high this time that you know
I'll never come down, I'll never come down.
22:4 Heaven and Hell (1956) and The Doors of Perception (1954) are stories by Aldous Huxley about the use of the drug mescaline. The titles are taken from William Blake's poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell which says "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite."
23:6 FREAK BROTHERS is a drug-related underground comic book of the early 1970's from Gilbert Shelton and Dave Sheridan's RipOff Press.
Chester's shadow is shaped like Swamp Thing! (Spotted by P. Stojakovic.)
Chester will become a popular supporting character in ST.
In issue #49's letter column, fan Ted Duffield suggests that this story should be titled "I Yam What I Yam". (*Heh heh*)
Comments: A real person named Larry Loc claims to be the visual inspiration for the character of Chester Williams. Read his story.
COMMENT: This issue was nominated for "Best Single Issue" in the 1986 Jack Kirby Awards.
COMMENT: This issue was reprinted in black & white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #24 October 1998, the final issue of that reprint series.
COMMENT: In 2001, DC Comics collected/reprinted issues 43-50 in a trade book titled "Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows" (Cover at left).