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Greg Plantamura's Annotations for

The history-making 1980's run

WANT TO KNOW.....?
What pages were missing from the trade paperback of issues 30 and 31?
What's with the Swamp Thing Meets Jesus story?
When did Constantine first appear?
How do you translate the language of the planet Rann?
What are all those voodoo references?
How many of those images which Metron sees in the aleph are significant?

WHAT THIS WEBSITE IS:

This is your treasure map to the myriad cultural, historical and musical references hidden inside DC Comics' SWAMP THING comic book series! Here you'll find tons of little-known info and media links as we go through the classic issues by Alan Moore and Rick Veitch that changed comics forever.

HOW TO READ IT:

Notes are laid out in order of page number and panel number. For instance, "12:3" would refer to page 12, panel 3.

Now, if you haven't read the issue for any given page of notes, you won't understand much of what's discussed. This is not a substitute for reading the series. I've tried to write it so that it will be understandable to those who may not be familiar with the many cultural references cited.

These links and references usually do not extend to issues and events beyond the final issue of Rick Veitch's run. This is because the Moore era and the Veitch era have a distinct style and vision and (unlike many series) each era can be enjoyed as a complete story in itself (with the unfortunate exception of the aborted last few issues of Veitch's run.)

At the "Url King" page you will find links to other related websites. Please give me your thoughts/ suggestions and report non-fuctioning links by clicking on the "Contact Me" above.

WHAT THIS WEBSITE IS NOT:

This site does not cover the "Swamp Thing" television series nor the 1980's movies.









WHAT HAS SURFACED LATELY?

10/14/13: I was prompted to find out what the significance was (if any) to the picture of a plane piercing through a pyramid, as seen on a postcard in issue #71. (See sidebar Factoid at that page.) Writer/artist Rick Veitch kindly explained to me where he got it from.

2/11/13: Check out the issue by issue articles on Swamp Thing at Sequart.org . Andrew Edwards is a university tutor and lecturer writing a book on Moore's seminal issues of ST.

2/9/13: Paul Evans is working on the Swamp Thing portion of the Alan Moore Transcription Project. The goal is to transcribe every thing Moore has written into a searchable database! Paul has pointed out to me a bunch of obscure references in Moore's early issues. There are always more details to be found, even if it takes a magnifying glass!

2/7/13: Malik Owens SpeedSketcher has a Facebook page called Swamp Thing (Alan Moore's). He's really into classic Swamp Thing, if anyone wants to make any conversation on his page.

11/9/12: Swampy and Abby appear for a few seconds in an animated Robot Chicken segment from the DC Comics parody special.

1/25/12: Eight pages of the unpublished SWAMP THING 25 (1976) can now be viewed at the Heritage Auctions web site! Rich Handley, of Hasslein Book, alerted me to these action-packed pages by Ernie Chan and Fred Carrillo, featuring Swampy vs. Hawkman! It was a story that was promoted at the end of issue 24, when that volume of the series was abruptly cancelled. Years later, after the series was restarted, Swamp Thing finally faced off with Thanagarians (from Hawkman's planet) in 58.

11/14/11: Thanks to Vanya Miskovic for sending me the link to Comics Journal #129 from 1989, which featured a detailed report on the censoring of the Jesus story, including quotes from Veitch, Zulli, Editor-in-Chief Jenette Kahn, and Neil Gaiman, along with examples of concurrent comics stories which may have invited controversy.

7/13/11: The Time Bullet Blog has a good synopsis on what was apparently the first swamp creature in comics: The Heap.

7/12/11: G4's Attack of the Show takes a look at the new Swamp Thing action figure which will premiere at San Diego ComiCon. This is the first figure ever to have most of the joints hidden under it's flexible skin. It also comes in a biodegradable box shaped like Swampy's head (which can be used as a mask!) Watch around the 1:20 time mark.

6/20/11: Hal Charles sent me some thoughts on issues 76-77, which reminded me about a bunch of handwritten notes I'd forgotten to type in. Those pages are now updated. (If you're into contemporary creative music, Hal has a blog about such, including the work of American composer & multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton.)

6/17/11: On the IGN Podcast, writer Scott Snyder talks about how Swamp Thing's past plays into the new series (at 46m30s into the program.)

6/6/11: Joćo Paulo Cursino contributed a couple of new observations about page 18 of issue #29.

4/26/11: MadnessWarriorKiller has made a nifty YouTube video reviewing Swamp Thing's greatest battles against superheroes.

4/5/11: There's been much speculation about Swamp Thing returning to active status in the DC Universe, particularly involving the Brightest Day event. BleedingCool.com has the latest spoiler information.

3/25/11: Many thanks to Petar Stojakovic for contributing lots of notes for this site. For instance, he spotted about ten more hidden triangles in ST #77 and the shape of Swampy's head on page 2 of issue #43.

3/16/11: The proprietor of Portland, Oregon's Monkey Minion Press is auctioning off an excellent illustration of Swamp Thing. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross' efforts to help the victims of the Sendai Earthquake. [eBay]

2/2/11: The Byrne Robotics board has a discussion going on about "objectionable" comics, starting with a mention of the cancelled "Swamp Thing Meets Jesus" story.

1/21/11: Adam Miner tells a nice little story of when he met artist Steve Bissette at forcesofgeek.com.

1/19/11: Swamp Thing and Man-Thing are pals, as drawn by Steve Bissette at his site.

1/17/11: At CBR I Saw It Advertised One Day column, Brian Cronin talks about the first ads for Moore's SWAMP THING. By the way, since John Constantine is shown in the ad for Swamp Thing in DC SAMPLER #3 (Fall 1984), pre-dating ST #37, that would be his second published appearance ever.

12/14/10: At his Too Busy Thinking About My Comics blog (Dec.13, 2010), Colin Smith reviews ST issues 57-58 and ranks them as #9 out of "10 books he can find nothing bad about at all to speak of."

12/2/10: Visit www.zaranyzerak.com for a video of a Swamp Thing Comic Book Review "Part 2: The Alan Moore Years."

11/27/10: The original cover art (pencil and ink) for SWAMP THING #51 by Steve Bissette can now be yours for a mere $9500 at www.romitaman.com.

11/12/10: FirestormFan.com has published a review of the Elemental War story arc which ran in FIRESTORM #90-93(1989) You can read it and see many page scans of Swamp Thing's role, at http://firestormfan.com/2010/11/12/elemental-war-3

10/29/10: At Michel Fiffe's blog, he reports that instead of writing Swamp Thing, Alan Moore originally offered to take over writing DC's odd little 1980s series THRILLER, which was not doing well. http://michelfiffe.com/?p=756 Fiffe quotes ex-THRILLER editor, Alan Gold as saying:

"Alan Moore volunteered to take over as writer, but I stupidly stuck with the writer Dick gave me. I saw it as a matter of loyalty. Having been a freelancer for about 10 years (moonlighting as a copy editor when I worked in book publishing), I couldn’t warm up to the idea of firing a freelancer. As a result, Karen Berger got her big break with Swamp Thing and I went nowhere (as I deserved, having turned Thriller, among others, into a mediocre bore.”

10/18/10: Thanks to Jon at www.mombcomics.com(Monkey On My Back) for mentioning this site. Read his review of ST #53 and/or listen to the podcast!

10/12/10: wosblog.podgamer.com claims that a young Alan Moore conceived his early ideas for Swamp Thing while he performed with a Czech environmentalist group in the 1970s. Decide for yourself while watching their music video.

8/9/10: DC will be releasing BATMAN: HIDDEN TREASURES in October, which contains a reprint of Batman's first meeting with Swampy from SWAMP THING #7 (1973). The other story in the book will be a new one, based on an unused script by the late Archie Goodwin, featuring Solomon Grundy. Both swamp monster stories are illustrated by Swamp Thing creator Bernie Wrightson.

8/4/10: JNCOPosterboy has posted an Amazing Heroes interview (Sept. 1989) with Rick Veitch. (The pages are in reverse order.) Rick talks about his career and the transition from Alan Moore to him as writer for SWAMP THING, and what kept the Jesus issue from being published.

8/2/10: While a SWAMP THING movie is still not greenlit, creator Len Wein is determined to get a movie made. See the video clip from SDCC at Movieweb.com.

7/29/10: I added YouTube links to a bunch of songs referenced in the SWAMP THING series (e.g. issues #41, #42). Also refreshed the link to the Lisa Angelle video (5/6/09).

7/9/10: Colin Smith has written a brilliant look at the similarities between the written imagery of Alan Moore's SWAMP THING and Elliot S! Maggin's Superman novels. Read his blog, Too Busy Thinking About My Comics.

6/2/10: After almost two decades of being mostly confined to DC's Vertigo imprint, Swamp Thing and characters from Sandman and Hellblazer are being allowed to freely interact with the rest of the mainstream DC universe again. Read about it at Bleeding Cool.

At his Progressive Ruin site, Mike Sterling shares a parody of SWAMP THING #50 he found in a 1987 issue of MIGHTY MITES.

4/19/10: Rich Johnston's column at BleedingCool.com has a comparison of SWAMP THING #34 and BUFFY: SEASON 8 #34.

4/17/10: It turns out that the first ever reprint of issue #20 was not in the recent hardcover SWAMP THING reprint collection as we thought. Fan Joćo Paulo Cursino has pointed out to me that it was reprinted in a Brazilian edition in 2007.

4/15/10: The Hooded Utilitarian blog has an excellent round-table review of Moore's SWAMP THING.

4/13/10: Numerous people posting reviews at Amazon.com about the recently released hardcover SWAMP THING collection have noticed a flaw. The dust jacket has a waxy coating which doesn't allow the ink to adhere well, and is easily smudged. Even so, that printing is the only place to find a reprint of issue #20. (See 4/17/10 for update)

3/24/10: Steve Wands posted his new Swamp Thing painting at his Brain Damage blogsite.

3/23/10: The University of Northampton is having an academic conference to study the works of Alan Moore on May 28-29.

3/18/10: Jordie Bellaire created a very nice piece of SWAMP THING fan art.

3/10/10: Vote for your favorite SWAMP THING artist at pencilink.blogspot.com or e-mail them to complain that Totleben, Alcala, McManus, Woch, Randall, and Mandrake are not listed as choices.

2/10/10: HELLBLAZER: PANDEMONIUM has finally been released, in time for the 25th anniversary of Constantine's debut in SWAMP THING #37. (It was originally slated for release in 2008, to mark the 20th anniversary of the first issue of HELLBLAZER.) It's written by Jamie Delano, who wrote the first issues of HELLBLAZER including the crossover with SWAMP THING #77.

2/1/10: Kurt Busiek's ASTRO CITY: THE DARK AGE, BOOK FOUR #1 features a new character called the Green Man, apparently based on the Swamp Thing. (All of Astro City's heroes are homages to pre-existing characters.) Folks are remarking that he looks like Alan Moore!

1985 video: Alan Moore talks about SWAMP THING!
5 parts on YouTube. Including appearances by creator Len Wein and editor Karen Berger!

12/30/09: Blogger Josh Wigler has an article speculating about the possible 3-D Swamp Thing film.

1/12/10: Nice long review of the beginning of Moore's run at the m0vie.wordpress.com/.

12/29/09: At his blog, Rick Veitch has posted a triptych he did as a commission, including Swamp Thing fighting some large Gremlins.

12/27/09: I should have mentioned, back in June, that the Around Comics podcast did a review of the Saga of the Swamp Thing (Vol.1) collection. Volume 2 came out in November, collecting issues #28-34 and Annual #2.

12/27/09: Steve Bissette mentioned my site in his Dec. 1, 2009 blog. I apologize to him for not mentioning his exhaustive behind-the-scenes analysis of ST #20 in his March 30 - April 7, 2010 blog entries.

11/4/09: The Onion reports:

At a press conference Monday, President Obama announced that he had appointed legendary comic book writer Alan Moore as the official biographer of his time in the White House. "As evidenced by his epic run on Swamp Thing, Moore's deft hand with both sociopolitical commentary and metaphysical violence makes him an ideal choice to chronicle my time in office," Obama said of the author of Watchmen and From Hell...

10/12/09: The CBR site has a review of issue 34 as part of Brian Cronin's Year of Cool Comic Book Moments series.

10/9/09: London resident Rob Pocock sent me a comment about Sister Anne-Marie's train route in issue #46.

8/21/09: Rick Veitch is interviewed at Newsarama and talks about past & upcoming projects like Alan Moore's "The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic".

5/13/09: Rick Veitch has a beautiful drawing of Swamp Thing with Jesus among his recent commissioned works. Visit his site and also see Swamp Thing meets The Spirit!

5/6/09: Here's a YouTube link to Lisa Angelle's "I Wear Your Love", just because I like it. Is it Swamp Thing related? Well, Lisa is twisting through a swamp; she has white streaks in her hair, which is like the opposite of Abby's; she sang the vocal theme for TV's romantic fantasy Beauty and the Beast.

3/17/09: DC Comics is taking advantage of the popularity of the WATCHMEN film to promote other Alan Moore comics. At the "After Watchmen" Web page, SWAMP THING is featured, and you can even download issue #21 for free! The new reprint collection SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING should not be confused with the original volume of reprints with the same name. (See 11/8/08, below)

1/8/09: You may know of Rick Grimes, a Kubert School classmate of SWAMP THING artists such as Veitch, Bissette, and Totleben. Grimes is mentioned on the cover of issue #55. Well, Ryan Heslin runs a site for Grimes fans at rickgrimesfansite.net.

11/8/08: Alan Moore's SWAMP THING is being reprinted in hardcover for the first time, but what's really significant is that it will include issue #20, which has never been reprinted before! (See 4/16/10 for update.) Many people mistakenly think that #21, "The Anatomy Lesson", was Moore's first issue. Release date: February 10, 2009.

10/23/08: I came across this old cute entry at ProgressiveRuin.com about Swamp Thing merchandise.

9/26/08: Adding YouTube links so you can hear more of the songs referenced in the series. ("Rite of Spring" in #34, etc.)

9/25/08: Restored the accidentally deleted info for issue #34 (thanks to the Wayback Machine at www.archive.org)

6/30/08: For fans of the "Pogo" story in SWAMP THING #32, Mr. David Abbot has written a humorous poem based on Poe's "The Raven" and Jane Austen, expressing his opinion of the Bush administration.

6/7/08: Brian Cronin mentioned this site at his Comic Book Resources Urban Legends Revealed column. It's an article about Sting and Constantine. You'll find it about half way down the page.

2/28/08: Various updates, including original cover sketches for issues 26, 42, 55, 56 and 59.

12/21/07: Gary Greenwood's Annotated Final Crisis site is ready for the upcoming epic DC Comics event. Will Swamp Thing play a role? Gary's Annotated Infinite Crisis site is still there, too. Thanks, Gary, for the link to my site.

Merry Christmas to all!

9/14/07: SWAMP THING artist Steve Bissette's Myrant blog has info about the interview Steve did with SWAMP THING artist John Totleben for Bob McLeod's Rough Stuff #4. There you can view Steve's pencil art that Totleben painted for THE COMICS JOURNAL to convince DC Comics to let him do painted covers for SWAMP THING.

8/30/07: Filming is scheduled to begin in September for the movie based on SWAMP THING author Alan Moore's WATCHMEN. Filming of a WATCHMEN movie was originally announced on the inside cover of Swamp Thing #73 in 1988.

6/9/07:Rich Handley's Roots of the Swamp Thing site now has its own domain name:www.swampthingroots.com

2/26/07: Finally got a photo of Rick Veitch on the site, from his recent NY ComiCon appearance

2/17/07: Rich Handley has updated his Roots of the Swamp Thing site with news of a new series featuring Arcane's Un-Men. I wish I had thought of his news column's name: "What's New Bayou?"

1/10/07: Swamp Thing has his own bog blog. Yep. It's unique.

12/2/06: Bob Smith points out that in Swamp Thing #35 there seems to be a reference to a real coal mine fire that happened in Pennsylvania in the 1960's in Centralia, Pennsylvania.

11/27/06: Bob Smith identified the poster of the demon Baal in #25.

11/25/06: Check out FanBoy Radio for their recent interview with Alan Moore!!!

I came across Mike Sterling's blog from last Halloween, and he has a nice "Ten Scary Swamp Thing Moments" post.

9/06: John McDonagh e-mailed me a factoid re: the symbolism of the chainsaw in issue #24.

1/30/06: Scott Rosthauser e-mailed me a correction for issue #24. Says he "I found a comment when I was doing a search using my last name, 'Rosthauser'. Regarding the use of the name in a Swamp Thing issue. I have been a very close friend of John Totleban, one of the artists involved with Swamp Thing since 1972 and it was put there by him to yank my chain."

5/17/05: Off the topic of Swamp Thing, here's a plug related to my other site about the "U.S." graphic novel. Check out Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (No relation to the "Savage Dragon" creator.) Historical figures litter this thriller novel, based on the true story of a serial killer at the Chicago World's Fair - the location which figures prominently in "U.S."

4/14/05: Added summary of the hard-to-find HELLBLAZER #10, explaining what happened to John during the crossover with SWAMP THING #37. This includes page scans of the scene in which Constantine faces Abby and Swampy at a most awkward moment.

4/11/05: Added a scan of the "lost page" from issue 31.

3/23/05: Alan Moore's daughter and her husband are working with The Builth Balkan Crew to help a Romanian orphanage. Info here.

3/17/05: See the new annotations for the Floronic Man story from SECRET ORIGINS #23, which was scripted by SWAMP THING writer Rick Veitch.

2/28/05: The Rutland Herald has an interview with Steve Bissette about who gets credit for creating Constantine.

2/6/05: Alan Moore's old March of the Sinister Ducks song (which he did with his band, The Sinister Ducks) now has a flash animation. This was mentioned on page 2 of issue #25.

1/13/05: DC Comics is soliciting a special trade paperback called VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE, reprinting six Vertigo stories for only $4.99. This includes SWAMP THING #21, as well as reprints of the premiere issues of 100 BULLETS, THE BOOKS OF MAGIC: LIFE DURING WARTIME, DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, and Y: THE LAST MAN. Vertigo books are suggested for mature readers.

12/14/04: In the latest trailer for the Constantine film, Keanu is not only non-British, but his name is pronounced "ConstanTEEN". John told Chester that it is pronounced "ConstanTYNE" in SWAMP THING #73.

11/3/04: Rick Veitch is writing a mini-series revival of THE QUESTION. Will the character be as cool as but different from Rorshach?

8/16/04: Added a link to the great new Roots of the Swamp Thing site

8/10/04:
Gonzalo Fonseca of Chile has provided some geographic notes about South America in issue 46.

Silver Bullet Comics site has a review of the second Alan Moore SWAMP THING trade paperback.


7/16/04:
The Silver Bullet Comics site has a good review of the first Alan Moore SWAMP THING trade paperback.


SITE UPDATE 7/1/04:
Issue 50 notes restored.
Issue 20 notes done.
New style navigation bar.


Enjoy the site!

Greg Plantamura