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SWAMP THING
#57
"Mysteries in Space"

(22 pages)

Writer: Alan Moore
Artist(s): Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala
Guest Colorist: Adrienne Roy
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Karen Berger
Swamp Thing Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson

Cover: Steve Bissette (signed)


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FACTOID
FROM THE BOG

Adam Strange was created by Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox SHOWCASE #17 (1958). He appeared regularly in MYSTERY IN SPACE, hence the title of this issue. The title on page 6 is rendered in the style of the MYSTERY IN SPACE series logo.

This cover is an homage to Swamp Thing creator Berni Wrightson's cover to SWAMP THING #9. Hence the "after BW" below Bissette's signature.

2:3 Some references to outer space begin here: "out of this world"

2:5 Another space reference: "space cadet". This slang term was popularized by the Valley Girl lifestyle, which was promoted by Moon Unit Zappa in the satirical novelty song "Valley Girl" (1982). The term, inspired by the early-1950s TV show Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (based on a Heinlein novel), suggests a self-pleased youngster out of touch with reality.

3:1See the references to the space opera genre: kid in Darth Vader mask, boxes labeled "ray gun" and "Space Invaders".

3:2 Another space reference on the sign: "Bathe beneath a foreign sun". Another sign advertises Lion Travel. Is that a significant reference to the real life company of that name?

3:6 Another space reference on the newspaper: "Star Wars Not Negotiable". Star Wars was the nickname for President Reagan's satellite-based Strategic Defense Initiative plan, for national military security.
"Drongo" is Australian slang meaning "a stupid person".

4:1 "Strewth"=British and Australian slang, exclamation of surprise, short for "God's truth".

4:7 "G'day"=Common Australian salutation. "Good day."

5:2 These people look very much like the animated mushroom characters in the Disney film Fantasia. Have we seen them in this garb before?

6:1

 
        ADAM!       ADAM!
        DUSS MAOL   {WHAT HAS HAPPENED}
        QU?         {to YOU?}
"Adam! What happened to you?"

7:1

 
        ADAM?       ADAM?
	ILILOC      {SPEAK}
	BA!         {to ME!}
	
        MASMAT!     {THERE!}???
	OBSO        {SERVANT} 
	QU          {YOU}
	BANN        {BRING}
	GLISPIN     {FLYER/TRANSPORTATION}
	DOH-HEGER   {TRAVEL HERE}
	BAS         {WE}
        DRAAT
        OL          {HE or IT}
        HEGER       {TRAVEL}
        RANAGAR.    {CAPITAL OF RANN}

        BAS         {WE}
        OBSI        {SERVE}
        SARDATH-CHAT{HONORABLE SARDATH}
"Adam! Speak to me!" "You there! Servant! Bring the flyer over here." "We're taking him to Ranagar." "We obey, Madame Sardath."

7:2

 
        TERTEL BU?  {MY DAUGHTER}
        DUSS MAOL   {WHAT HAS HAPPENED}
        OLT?        {to HIM?}

	OL          {HE}
	DHUMER,     {LIVES}
	CLAAB       {BUT}
	OL          {HE}  
	REKEKI      {DELERIOUS}
	FAO.        {IS}

	FAOR        {MAY BE}
	APIC-ZETA   {the ZETA-BEAM}
	FAOR        {MAY BE}
	HOORD       {HURT}
	OL?         {HIM?}
"My daughter! What happened to him?" "He's alive, but he is delirious." "Maybe the Zeta-Beam could have hurt him?"

7:3

        BA          {I}
        THOM        {NOT}
        ESESSU      {SURE}

        APIC-ZETA   {ZETA-BEAM}
        THO FAOR    {MAY BE NOT}
        BREMEL      {CAUSED}
        OL          {HIM}
        HOORD,      {HARM}
        CLAAB?      {BUT?}

        SARDATH-CHO!{HONORABLE SARDATH!}
        OL          {HE}
        ILILOC!     {SPEAKS!}
        OL          {HE}
        ILILOC      {SPEAKS}
        INGLISH!    {ENGLISH!}
        FAO         {IS}
        OL          {HE}
"I'm not sure. The Zeta-Beam shouldn't harm him, but ..." "Master Sardath! He's talking! He's speaking English! Is he..?"

7:4

        THO.        {NO.}
        REKEK	    {DELIRIUM}
        FAO         {DO/IS}		
        WEER.
        UNSA			
        RANAGARI    {RANNIAN}
        MEMEP
        FAO         {DO/IS}
        FAOR        {MAY BE}
        ALDRAAN
        OL.         {HIM.}
        VIER!       {SEE!}
        GLISPIN     {FLYER/TRANSPORTATION}		
        DOH         {HERE}???
        RETTE!      {BRING}

        IU          {OH}
        ADAM.       {ADAM.}
I'm not sure what Sardath is saying here. But he starts by saying "No", then says something about Rannian and the possibility ("may be") of "Aldraan." Aldraan sounds like a variation of "Rann", so I'm guessing that Sardath is conjecturing that Adam is not speaking English, but instead another version of the Rannian language. But Sardath is smart enough to know that Adam is indeed speaking English, so that doesn't quite make sense. UPDATE: In March 2018, Aaron Severson wrote me with his theory, which takes into account the fact that Adam learned their language on his first visit to Rann. Aaron posits that if FAO is the verb "to be", then FAOR may be the past tense "did" or "had". Hence, FAO FAOR may mean "has had". In that case, if we conjecture that UNSA MEMEP mean "knowledge" or "understanding", the sentence may read ""Knowledge [of] Ranagari understanding has had to Rann he," or perhaps, "He has known our language since he came to Rann." ("Aldrann" could also mean "first Rann," in the sense of "since he first came to Rann.") This would explain Alanna and Sardath's concern that he's speaking English when he knows he should be speaking their language. Following this theory, the word REKEK is likely to mean "delirium" in context, rather than "injury" as I had originally guessed.
Another theory I have is that FAOR means "would", which sems to fit whenever the word is used. In that case, UNSA and MEMEP may mean something else and ALDRAAN means "familiar to Raan", and perhaps Sardath is saying "Rannian speaking he would be, since he is a friend of Raan." "Look! Get that flyer over here!" "Oh, Adam."

7:5

        BAS         {WE}
        GLISPIN     {FLYER/TRANSPORTATION}
        HEGE        {TRAVEL}???
        SARDATH-CHO.{HONORABLE SADATH.}

        AEL!        {OKAY!}
        WOAL
        BAS         {WE}
        OL          {HIM}
        GLAY
        AMYOR.

        FAO         {DO/IS}
        THOM        {NOT LET}
        HOORD       {be HARMED}
        OL          {HIM}
"We can travel in the vehicle, Dr. Sardath." "Okay! We'll (get?) him (to help?)" "Don't let any harm come to him."

7:6

        IU          {OH}
        SARDATH-CHO {HONORABLE SARDATH}
        FAORI       {MAY}
        OL          {HE}
        AEL-FAO     {BE OKAY}

        SASSU       {be at PEACE}
        ALANNA      ALANNA
        SASSU       {be at PEACE}
"Oh, Sardath. I hope he'll be okay." "Don't worry, Alanna. Don't worry."

10:4

        DUSS MAOL   {WHAT HAS HAPPENED}
        OLT?        {to HIM?}
        FAO         {DOES}
        ADAM        {ADAM}
        AEL?        {OKAY?}
	
        SA.         {YES.}???
        ADAM        ADAM
        AEL.        {is OKAY.}
        QU          {YOU}
        DRAL        {MAY)
        OL          {HIM}
        VIER,       {SEE}
        TERTEL BU.  {MY DAUGHTER} 
"What has happened to him? Is Adam okay?" "Yes. Adam is alright. You may see him, my daughter."

10:5

        IU          {OH}
        SARDATH-CHO!{HONORABLE SARDATH!}
        BA          {I}
        ONAMAO      {LOVE}
        QU!         {YOU!}

        BA          {I}
        ONAMAO      {LOVE}
        QU          {YOU}
        EMSEC       {ALSO}
        ALANNA.     ALANNA.
"Oh, Honorable Sardath! I love you!" "I love you, too, Alanna."

10:6

        HUHU.	      {HEH HEH}

11:1

        IU           {OH}
        ONAMAOL BA!  {MY LOVER!} 
"Oh, my love!"
One straw is not enough for him, eh?

11:4

        ADAM         ADAM
        DUSS MAOL?   {WHAT HAPPENED?}
        DON-HEGER    {TRAVEL HERE}
        QU           {YOU} 
        APIC-ZETA    {ZETA-BEAM}
        WU
        CLAAB        {BUT}
        QU           {YOU}
        REKEKI       {INJURED}
        FAO.         {DO/IS.}

        BA           {I}
        THOM         {NOT}
        ESESSEN      {SURE}
        DUSS MAOL.   {WHAT HAPPENED.}
        UL           {AND}
        TIMTI
        FAO          {DO/IS}
        BA           {I}
        DATTO        {HIT}
        EPOCHAM      {SOMETHING}
        APIC-ZETA.   {ZETA-BEAM.}
        EPOCHAM      {SOMETHING}
        RIRRIN.
        EPOCHAM      {SOMETHING}
        GLUST.       {BIG.}
"I'm not sure what happened. I hit something in the Zeta-Beam. Something big."

11:5

 
        AAN.         {AH.}

        BAS          {WE}
        UL           {AND}
        MASRAUT      {MUST}
        RAFTI.
	QU           {YOU}
	FAO          {DO/IS}
	ZON
	ILILOC       {SPEAK}
	HULS
	CHECHEDOR    {REPRESENTATIVE}
	RANN         {RANN}
	DI
	TOMTA	
	ILILOCTIBANI.{LANGUAGE}????
	OLF          {THESE}  ???
	FAO          {DO/IS}
	DOM
	RETTE        {BRING}
	RANN         {RANN}
	LEPS         {FROM}
	THANAGAR.    {THANAGAR.}
"They bring word from Thanagar."

11:6

 
        THANAGAR?    {THANAGAR?}
	THOM         {NOT}
	KATAR HOL?   {KATAR HOL?}
	
	THO.         {NO.}
	THOM         {NOT}
	KATAR HOL    {KATAR HOL}
        OOL          {OR}
        SHAYERA.     {SHAYERA.}
        OLF          {THESE}
        FAO          {ARE}
        HAKKESRTANG! {HAWK SOLDIERS}
        OLF          {THESE}
        LERM
        BAAN
        URDOBAKT!

        RETTE        {BRING}
        QU           {YOU}
        ALMASSO.     {????}
"Thanagar? It's not Katar Hol, is it?" "No. Not Katar Hol or Shayera. These are hawk soldiers!"

Thanagar is the Hawkworld, home of Katar & Shayera Hol (a.k.a. Hawkman & Hawkwoman, not to be confused with the human Hawkman & Hawkgirl). Hawkman appeared briefly in issue #24 and on the cover of #46. Adam Strange teamed up with Katar & Shayera in MYSTERY IN SPACE (Volume 1) #90-91, and had them as guests at his wedding in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #121 (1975.) Rann and Thanagar have a history of very strained relations and will go to war with eachother in the future.

12:1

 
        AAN.         {AH.}		
	TERTEL BU    {MY DAUGHTER}
	DOH          {HERE}???
	RETTE        {BRINGS}
	URTH-CHAN!   {EARTHLING!}

	AEL          {OKAY}
	SARDATH-CHO. {HONORABLE SADATH.}
	OL           {HE}
	WA
	ILILOC       {SPEAK}
	THANAGARRU   {THANAGARIAN}
        WO?   
"Ah. My daughter brings the earthling."
Swamp Thing was supposed to meet Hawkman years earlier. The story was promoted in a blurb at the end of issue 24 (1976), when that volume of the series was abruptly cancelled. Eight pages of the unpublished SWAMP THING 25 were viewable at the Heritage Auctions web site in January-February 2012.

By Ernie Chan and Fred Carrillo

12:2

 
        ADAM-CHI!    {ADAM}
	OL           {IT}
	FA           {BE}
	AELI         {GOOD}
	QU           {YOU}
	FAO          {DO/IS}
	AEL!         {OKAY!}

	OLF          {THESE}
	FAO          {ARE}
	KEELA ROO    KEELA ROO
	EP           {WITH}
	SCIRA EK,    SCIRA EK,
	CHECHEDER    {REPRESENTATIVE}
	LEPS         {FROM}
	THANAGAR?    {THANAGAR..}
"Adam! How good that you are well!" "These are Keela Roo and Scira Ek, representatives from Thanagar."

12:5 Kanjar Ro and Hyathis (sometimes called Hyanthis) are alien tyrants and old enemies of Adam Strange. Hyathis brought corruption to Thanagar which eventually led to aggression against Rann. Aaron Severson pointed out to me:

a callback to the first Rann-Thanagar War, which was in SHOWCASE #101103 (June to August 1978). In that story, Hyathis had taken over Thanagar and gone to war with Kanjar Ro, who had taken over Rann with the help of a bunch of Adam Strange's old foes. Adam, Katar, and Shayera managed to evict Kanjar Ro from Rann, but Hyathis remained in power on Thanagar until WORLD's FINEST #278, published in 1982, and it was never actually established what happened to her after that. So, Adam's concern that Hyathis or Kanjar Ro might have returned was based on what were fairly recent events at that time.


The implication in ST #58 that Thanagar is going to invade the Earth probably wasn't intended to foreshadow the "Invasion!", which wasn't written until a year or so after. Rather, this story is essentially an unlabeled crossover with the "Shadow War" storyline in the contemporary Hawkman series. In that storyline, which ran through the SHADOW WAR OF HAWKMAN miniseries and the first 11 issues of the second HAWKMAN series, Thanagar has decided it's still interested in galactic conquest even without Hyathis running the show, and has been attempting to quietly take power on Earth by using the Absorbacon to steal information from human minds. Thanagar was gearing up to an actual military invasion of the Earth, which finally happened in HAWKMAN #1011 and ACTION COMICS #588, published just two or three months after ST #5758. (It was thwarted by Katar and Shayera Hol and the post-Crisis Superman, which set the stage for the snowballing of Hawkman-related continuity problems.)


In any case, these references represented some carefully planned tie-ins to contemporary DC continuity, a nuance that gets lost today because both the Rann-Thanagar War and the Shadow War were more or less thrown out of continuity after HAWKWORLD in 1989, while the Swamp Thing story was not.

13:1 Western awareness of famine in Africa was at its height in the mid-1980s, mostly due to celebrities teaming up for charity efforts, such as Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" project in the UK, and then USA For Africa's "We Are the World".
The absorbascon is a device often used by Thanagarians to gather and impart knowledge.

13:7

 
        CLAAB        {BUT}
	APOCHAN      {SOMEONE}
	MASRAUT      {MUST}
	FAO          {DO/IS}
	OL!          {IT!}
"...but someone has to do it"

14:1

 
        UUUEEE!      {EEEEEE!}
	VORYEGGER!   {CACTUS-CREATURE!}
	UTU          {CALL}
	STAM
	BU!          {MY!}
"Eeeee! A cactus-creature! Call for help!"

14:3

 
        FAO          {DO/IS}
	QU           {YOU}
	VIER         {SEE}
	OL!          {IT!}
	HOORD        {HARM}
        DAT!         {THAT!}???
        HOORD        {HARM}
        DAT          {THAT}???
        VORYEGGER!   {CACTUS-CREATURE!}
"Do you see it? Zap it! Zap that cactus-creature!"

14:5

 
        BA           {I}
	HOORD        {HARMED}
	OL!          {IT!}
	AEL!         {OKAY!}
	CLAAB        {BUT}
	OL           {IT}
	DHUMER       {LIVES}
	YAT.         {YET.}
	DATTO        {HIT}?????
	OL!          {IT!}
"I hit it! For sure! But it's still alive. Destroy it!"

15:1

 
        AAN!         {AH!}
	DUSS MAOL?   {WHAT HAS HAPPENED?}
"Ah! What has happened?"

15:3

 
        THO!         {NO!}

19:6

 
        GLUSTIC      {BIG}
	URTH         {EARTH}
	GRUSNACH.    ?????? 
"Big Earth (jerk?)"

COMMENT: For more on Adam Strange and the Thanagarians, see notes for next issue.

COMMENT: I have prepared a Rannian lexicon.

COMMENT: I asked Rick Veitch about this issue and he couldn't help me with the translations. Says Rick:

"I don't have a clue about the Rannian language...The only interesting tidbit I do remember about the Adam Strange issue is that Alan wrote the original opening of Adam having to break into a bathroom stall to catch the zeta beam set in the Arizona desert. As I was drawing it someone pointed out the zeta beam only hit the southern hemisphere. So he had to rewrite the characters as Australians."




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