Just another dead bird

Rereading Swamp Thing #166-#171 by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester and Kim DeMulder.  The beginning of the Dark Age of comics, a phrase which refers to the adult comics stroke graphic novel revolution in the mainstream which I’m finding increasingly useful, was also the end of something. It was, approximately, the last time anyone joined the … Continue reading

I believed in a million things and none of them were right

Rereading Swamp Thing #159 and #165 by Mark Millar, Jill Thompson, Curt Swan, Kim DeMulder and Phillip Hester. Sincerity is a question that’s debated in few areas of the arts except superhero comics. Does the Ghost Rider artist believe in Ghost Rider? Do they mean it? Have they wanted to draw a man with a … Continue reading

A desire to retreat

Rereading Swamp Thing #160-#164 by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester and Kim DeMulder. We have to invent our terms, writing about comics, and revisionism is one of mine. If there’s another term that means the same then I apologise for not knowing it. What I mean when I talk about revisionism is the storytelling trick where … Continue reading

The parallel worlds you used to read about in comic books

Rereading Swamp Thing #151-#158 by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester, Kim DeMulder, Chris Weston and Phil Jiminez. “The superhero genre is like a big field,” Kurt Busiek once said, “and we’ve built this gigantic city in one tiny corner. Every now and then some visionary guy drives out of the city and goes off in a … Continue reading

Everything you once were

Rereading Swamp Thing #144 to #150 by Mark Millar, Phil Hester and Kim DeMulder.  We are in Vertigo now, in Mark Millar’s Swamp Thing. The formalisation of the Mature Readers stroke Karen Berger unofficial universe hit during the Nancy A Collins years. We’re still in the first phase of Vertigo as the Morrison/Millar revamp begins, … Continue reading

Home doesn’t feel like home anymore

Rereading Swamp Thing #141-#144 by Mark Millar, Grant Morrison, Phil Hester and Kim DeMulder. Everything I’ve ever written has been first draft, Alan Moore once said. It wasn’t a vainglorious remark meant to elicit awe at the master’s works. It’s a statement of fact: when working in a serialised medium, you don’t get to go … Continue reading

Out of time: the end of Veitch’s run

Why was Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing run brought to a premature end? The story is that DC’s president Jenette Kahn caught sight of the cover of #88, showing Swamp Thing as the cross Jesus was crucified on, and didn’t like it. The content of the issue was then questioned and when it turned out Jesus … Continue reading

Crashing into history

Rereading Swamp Thing #82-#87 by Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, Tom Yeates and Tom Mandrake.  Time in comics is weird, as Scott McCloud noted in his short chapter on it in Understanding Comics, because of the movement of the reader’s eye. Time is strictly linear in movies, and it’s linear in books with the option to … Continue reading

Toking down on some Kryptonese Red

Rereading Swamp Thing #77-#81 by Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, Tom Mandrake, Jamie Delano and Steve Bissette. We can think of Rick Veitch’s first year on Swamp Thing as a combination of Moore’s first year and American Gothic: the creation of a new modus operandi for the character interleaved with an odyssey of modern American horror. … Continue reading

The frost is on the pumpkin

Rereading Swamp Thing #67-#76 by Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala. There are all kinds of dichotomies in comics. The DC-Marvel split is one of them, with every fan of the mainstream leaning to one side or another. The mainstream-independent split is another: we’re a long way from the 80s, when superheroes were on the shelves at … Continue reading