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"The Anatomy Lesson"

(23 pages)
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist(s): Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch (uncredited), John Totleben
Colorist: Tatjana Wood
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Stuart Moore
Swamp Thing Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson

Cover: Tom Yeates (signed)
Pictured: ST confronts Gen. Sunderland
Swamp Thing Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson


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There is a famous painting by Rembrandt called "The Anatomy Lesson (of Dr. Tulip)" (1632).

1: The drawing of a body-shape bears a strong resemblance to the poster advertising Anatomy of a Murder (especially with the faces in the window above the body). An homage to this image was used on the poster art for the 1995 Spike Lee film Clockers.

2:1 The extreme close-up of the eyes resembles the various close-ups in SWAMP THING #44 ("Bogeymen").

2:2 Note the "metallic sphere" motif here and in 6:2, 13:2, 20:4, etc. It was used when ST was shot in issue #20 page 22 and appears when he's shot again in #53 page 34. (BALLS VIDEO)

2:5 Jason Woodrue is a longtime super-villain in DC Comics, formerly known as Floro and Plantmaster.

General Avery Sunderland has been a nemesis to Swamp Thing throughout the early 1980's issues of SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING written by Martin Pasko.

6:2 Woodrue's hand on the glass parallels his words about Sunderland pounding on glass.

Issue #20

6:6 Liz Tremayne and her boyfriend Dennis Barclay (a former Sunderland employee) were scientists, supporting characters and friends of ST during Martin Pasko's tenure as writer. They went into hiding in the previous issue. (cover at left by T.Yeates)

11:1 These scenes are from SWAMP THING (Vol.1) #1 "Dark Genesis!" by Len Wein in 1972. See also issue #28 for further analysis.

13:2 Woodrue's face is reflected in the spheres.

17:4 SWAT team = Special Weapons And Tactics

COMMENT: In his account of the making of issue #20, Bissette reprints part of Alan Moore's script which mentions that his original title for this issue was "On the Disposal of Remains".

COMMENT: The rest of the major revelations about the Swamp Thing's true origins & destiny occur when he meets Constantine in issue #37 and "The Parliament of Trees" in issue #47.

COMMENT: Issue #121 of this series incorrectly places Sunderland's death in 1985, when it's clearly 1984.

COMMENT: In 1987, DC Comics collected/reprinted 21-27 in a trade book titled "Saga of the Swamp Thing". (Alan Moore's prose piece from DC SAMPLER #2 is printed on the back cover.) It was reprinted again in April 2005 in a collection called VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE. Issue #21 was also reprinted in black & white as ESSENTIAL VERTIGO: SWAMP THING #1, November 1996. In 2009, DC Comics collected/reprinted issues 20-27 in a hardcover book titled (again) "Saga of the Swamp Thing". This was the first time that issue issue #20 was reprinted in the United States, but the caption on the final page of issue #24 was left out!

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