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"Gargles in the Rat Race Choir"

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

Cover: Rick Veitch, Tom Yeates (signed)
Note the reflection of the logo in the lower right corner.


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Artist Steve Bissette's art school roommate, Larry Loc, claims that he was the visual model for the character of Chester.

1:2 These ancestors of ST formed a Committee to trap him in issue #68, but they vanished when he escaped in issue #69. We learn where they went in issue #74. The four committee members first appeared in #47.

Bog Venus symbolizes fertility as the first human-based Swamp Thing. The Kettle Hole Devil represents industry as the first Swamp Thing of the Industrial Revolution. St. Columba represents alienation because it was a deformed outcast from its Celtic tribe. Ghost-Hiding-in-the Rushes represents realization as a virtue of a Buddhist monk.
These qualities are similar to four of the five tiers of pyschologist Maslow's theory of human Hierarchy of Needs. From simplest to most complex these are:
1. Physical needs (food, etc.) provided from birth (Fertility)
3. Love/Belonging/Social Need to not be rejected by society ("Alienation")
4. Self-esteem through accomplishment (Industry)
5. Self-actualization (self-"Realization")

But this leaves out number 2 on Maslow's list: Safety

Perhaps this match-up works better:
1. Physical...basic survival (which the Swamp Thing and the Sprout are seeking)
2. Safety assurance of health and employment, and safety from crime and accidents (which the Kettle-Hole Devil fought the industrial businesses for)
3. Love/Belonging/Social Family/sexual needs ("Fertility")
4. Self-esteem through acceptance in society ("Alienation")
5. Self-actualization (self-"Realization")


Top: Link from previous panel: "hideous foreboding"/"looks terrible"

Brenda divines the future from animal entrails. She appeared in #70 and shows up briefly in Annual #4.

PAGES 2-3 --------------------------------------------

2-3:1 Link from previous panel: "Stay in bed"/Abby is "in bed"

The book Abby is reading may be "Veil", by George C. Chesbro published in 1986.

PAGES 4-5 --------------------------------------------

4-5:1 The airplane crash happened last issue.


Panel link: "It's becoming corrupted"/"pollution"
"Carl's" (who appeared in #70) research is based on studies of the famous psychologist Carl Jung, hence the name on the list Other names on the printout are Karen Berger, Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, and Tatjana Wood. They are all people listed in the credits for this issue.

What is that picture on the wall of a pylon and a cube?

PAGES 6-7 --------------------------------------------
6-7:1 Link from previous page: "I'll be counting the days"/"Day seven"

6-7:5 Trout Mask Replica is a music album by Captain Beefheart. Another Beefheart album was referenced in issue #68, page 3.

6-7:8 Can anyone translate the Chinese?


Link from previous panel: Chinese language.
We saw Ming the sadistic acupuncturist in last issue. She has a picture of Ghost-Hiding-In-The-Rushes on the mantle.

PAGES 8-9 --------------------------------------------

8-9:1 Link from previous page: "Beware!"/"I can't say they didn't warn me"


Panel link="An insoluable problem"/mathematical problem solving
Rodney the savant was last seen in last issue. Rodney is reading issue 6 of BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS; Geo-Force is a character in that book, but in no part of that story does he think about quitting the team.

PAGES 10-11 --------------------------------------------

10:1 Link from previous page: "quitting the group"/"joining my roots"


We saw part of the shaman's painting in #70. We'll see more of this painting and the cave-painter in issue #74.

12:1 Link from previous page: picture of mother and child

14:2 The lyrics are from the Beatles' song "You Never Gave Me Your Money"

Page 17 The lower right panel shows a newspaper with the headline "Air Crash Probe - Where was Superman?"


Constantine got this vegetable from Staj in issue #70.

PAGES 22-23 --------------------------------------------

Page 22-23:5 General Sunderland kept the Swamp Thing in a similar freezer in issue #21. Swampy's use here of the word "nativity" refers to his "rebirth" in that issue, in which he also killed Sunderland.

24:2 The reptilian creature will be called the Swamp Knucker.

Comment: The top left panel of page 2 and the top right panel on pages 5, 7, 9, and 11 are all close ups of some form of information which Constantine's consultants use. The bottom panel of those columns all show Constantine flicking his lighter.

Comment: The doomed man's name is Alden Hollandaise. Most of the humans who have become an earth elemental or "Swamp Thing" have names similar to "Alec Holland". A fiery death is always involved, as Swampy first learned in issue #47.

Comment: This story's title comes from Bob Dylan's song "It's Alright, Ma - I'm Only Bleeding":

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society's pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he's in.

COMMENT: In 2006, DC Comics collected issues 71-76 in the trade book "Swamp Thing: Spontaneous Generation".

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