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"The Fire Next Door"

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

Cover: John Totleben (signed)


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On this issue's inside front cover is an article by DC Comics President/Publisher Jennette Kahn about plans to make a major motion picture of Alan Moore's classic WATCHMEN mini-series. Proposals for a film were made in the late 1980's and the late 1990's. A WATCHMEN film directed by Zack Snyder was released in 2009.

The back cover of this issue featured a full-page advertisement for classic "The Killing Joke" comic book written by SWAMP THING author Alan Moore.

1:1 The "frozen general" is Avery Sunderland whose cryogenically preserved body Swamp Thing found in the Sunderland Corp. building in last issue.
The Potomac River runs through Washinton, D.C. and the surrounding states.
1:2 The Capitol Dome is part of the United States government capitol building in Washington, D.C. It is not a sports arena, as this panel seems to say.
1:4 Harmonic convergence is the blending of psychic patterns through synchronized meditation. Swamp Thing is travelling with the "Sprout", the essence which will become the next Swamp Thing.
1:5 DDT is an insecticide banned in the United States in 1973. PCB's are chemicals used in plastics and were banned in 1977. Dioxin is an herbicide and a byproduct of chlorinated products. All these chemicals are environmentally dangerous and cause cancer.
1:6 Scenic, historic Route 66 used to run through the town of Times Beach, 20 miles southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1983, the town was evacuated and sealed off by security guards around the clock. The town had become massively contaminated with dioxin from the waste oil that had been routinely sprayed on the streets to control dust. Over 2000 residents had to be relocated to various locations, thus destroying the tightly-knit community because the government was not allowed to inform individuals about the new addresses of their former neighbors and friends, due to privacy laws.
2:2-4 Swamp Thing's words parallel the visuals in these panels.
3:1 The "Swamp Knucker" dinosaur is an ancient predecessor of Swamp Thing dispatched from the Parliament of Trees at the end of last issue.
Pages 4-8--------------
The words in the panels on the left side of these pages parallel the visuals shown in the panels on the right side.
4:3 The book Abby's reading is probably "Out of Control: The Story of the Reagan Administration's Secret War in Nicaragua, the Illegal Arms Pipeline, and the Contra Drug Connection" by Leslie Cockburn.
4:5 Brenda the Native American coroner can divine the future by examining animal entrails. She first appeared in #70 and last appeared in last issue. She next appears in Annual #4.
5:1 Captain Ahab was the character obsessed with hunting the whale in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick".
6:1 Carl first appeared in #70 and last appeared in last issue.
The poster on the wall may be a symbol of Oroborus, the mythical self-devouring snake, which refers to this discussion about dragons.
"The Dictionary of Symbols" is a 1969 book edited by Jean Chevalier.
8:1 Staj's only previous appearance was in #70. Farmers can actually grow vegetables with human faces, according to this news article.
Page 9----------------
All three panels on the left conclude by mentioning Houma as a destination.
9:1 Freddy the geomancer's only previous appearance was in #70.
10:1 Link from page 9 characters taking a direction="where am I going?"
Roy Raymond and his assistant Lipchitz have been trapped in the limo driven by the Wild Thing (a failed attempt to create a new Swamp Thing) since issue #69.
10:3 DT's are "delirium tremens", a state of physical and mental delirium/distress caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
10:4 In the lower right we see how Raymond used to look.
10:5 The Wild Thing is indeed quoting the opening lines of the epic poem "Beowulf". Rough translation: "LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped, we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!" Again, this ties into the dragon imagery of this issue, because the hero of Beowulf fights a dragon.

An implied explanation of why the Wild Thing stopped spouting advertising jingles and started speaking Chinese and old English is given in next next issue.
10:6 Link to 11:1 car driving="rollin' down the road"
The song is "This Wheel's On Fire" by Bob Dylan, released on "The Basement Tapes" album in 1975.
11:2 "Just Say No" was the slogan of Nancy Reagan's anti-drug campaign.
Chester gave Liz a typewriter in #70 to help rebuild her self-esteem.
13:3 Hey, that's not the same t-shirt that Chester was wearing on page 4!
13:5 "Tune in, turn on, drop out" was a popular saying of the 1960's.
14:6 The old adage "You are what you eat" is an appropriate description of the tuber which Chester's holding. They grow off of Swamp Thing's body. When Chester learned that their hallucinogenic effect can be either blissful or terrifying, depending on the purity of your soul, he was too afraid to eat one.
15:7 Dogbum first appeared in #70 and his dog was run over in #71.
18:2 The fire station was seen across the street in 7:5.
18:5 Constantine and Chester were both at ST's funeral in issue #55.
19:4 The Parliament warned Swampy in issue #65.
11:5 Abby's address shown here is also seen in issues 51, 68 and 83.
11:6 Abby began signing over her unwanted checks to Chester in #68.
23:5,6 Constantine's last two statements come true literally in HELLBLAZER #7 when he steps off of a speeding train.

Comment: This issue's title may refer to a proverb about the folly of not being concerned about the fire in your neighbor's house, because it will likely progress to your own house soon.

Comment: This issue's story takes place before HELLBLAZER #5. Next issue takes place following HELLBLAZER #7.

Comment: In the same month that this issue was published, Swamp Thing appeared briefly at the end of CAPTAIN ATOM #16.

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

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