What was Suggested for Mature Readers?

The accepted progression, historically, is that the Mature Readers label evolved out of Swamp Thing’s lack of Comics Code and Sophisticated Suspense cover line, and that the title’s success led to a mini-line of Mature Readers titles created by British writers, and that became Vertigo. That’s not inaccurate. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. … Continue reading

I blogged from another universe

A guest post I wrote for Bob Temuka’s fine comics blog The Tearoom of Despair has been published. Bob invited me to write, alongside a host of much more distinguished bloggers, while he was in the UK. Unknown to him I’d been considering asking if I could write one of his Another Universe series for … Continue reading


In travelling from Swamp Thing #21, The Anatomy Lesson and the first real issue of Alan Moore’s run through to Swamp Thing #171, the final issue of Mark Millar’s run, I wanted to set boundaries. Beginning before the Mature Readers revolution in the mainstream happened, in the dark corner that the Dark Age first grew … Continue reading

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

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

The problem of covers

I’m sorry about the image directly below this post, the one that’s the feature image for the post about Mark Millar’s first run of solo issues, the post titled Everything You Once Were. I’ve hated visiting my own blog this week and seeing its ugliness. The knotted-rope Swamp Thing, the 70s-shag-pile orange of the background, … 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

The arbitrary rule of sex and death

Rereading Hellblazer #1-#12 by Jamie Delano, John Ridgway, Richard Piers Rayner, Alfredo Alcala and Brett Ewins.  I might have seemed a little disingenuous when pondering the question, in relation to Moore’s and Veitch’s Swamp Thing, of exactly where the Mature Readers comics were heading. Anyone who knows the careers of Morrison, Gaiman or Milligan knows … Continue reading