Legendary comic book writer Len Wein has once more taken up the reins of a character he first introduced to the world (alongside Bernie Wrightson) in 1971, the plant elemental known as Swamp Thing. ‘Swampy’ made his first appearance in House Of Secrets #92 (July ’71) in a single issue story that took place in the early part of the 20th century. The character next appeared in his own solo series in 1972, set in the contemporary world and was integrated into mainstream DC universe continuity.
Swampy was originally introduced as Alex Holland, a scientist caught in a deliberate explosion set by his co-worker Damian Ridge. Olsen, physically transformed by the various chemicals strewn across his lab, turned into the humanoid vegetative mass known as Swamp Thing.
After the success of the standalone issue, the creators were approached to write the ongoing series, Swampy’s backstory was altered slightly and the series itself brought forward to a modern setting.
British comic writing luminary Alan Moore took control of the character from Volume 2 (August ’85) and altered Swampy to an elemental entity that was created upon the untimely death of Alec Holland, absorbing the personality and memories of the scientist into itself, Moore described it as “A plant that thought it was Alec Holland, a plant that at its level best was trying to be Alec Holland.” Alan Moore pushed the character into even greater popularity, and his run has ultimately stood the test of time, and like all his previous works (Watchmen, V For Vendetta) has cemented itself into legendary status amongst fans.
This month, Len Wein returns to his beloved character with the first part of a six issue mini-series, that is taking, very much, an old style approach to Swampy, with horror overtones comparable with titles such as DC’s House Of Mystery, and EC’s Tales From The Crypt.
This fantastic first issue is a definitive return to Wein’s original version of the character, very different to the New 52 run by Scott Snyder, whilst still retaining all the elements that make Swamp Thing the character we know and love. Artistic talent falls to Kelley Jones, whose distinctive style is perfect for this character, lending a tense and claustrophobic feel to the proceedings with a heavily shaded ‘chunky’ approach.
Swamp Thing #1 is a perfect read for both old and new fans alike, with no prior knowledge of the character’s background needed, making this the ideal starting point for newcomers wishing to get to know one of the most unusual and well written comic book characters ever created. Highly recommended and available for purchase at your local comic-book emporium right now.
Welcome back once more, fellow fans of the amazing Amazon to; Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana of Themyscira. This week we delve into the Amazon archives to bring you: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #6, written by Len Wein, with cover and interior art by George Perez. Released in July 1987.
The titanic tale secreted behind this amazing Perez cover is titled “Powerplay”. Diana and Ares face off in a bitter duel, in her bid to thwart the Greek God of War from his maniacal scheme to bring a final conflict that will end mankind.
Olympian and son of Zeus, Ares, has long been a thorn in the side of Wonder Woman and her sister Amazons. His first appearance was in Wonder Woman #1 in 1942, introduced as a protagonist, with his ultimate goal of eternal war and conflict in the world of man, he is predominantly opposed by Aphrodite, who wishes a harmonious civilisation amongst the humans. Whilst the followers who worshipped Ares fought amongst themselves, killing off their weaker brothers, Aphrodite enacted her plan to create a race of superior warrior women, to guide the world into a more peaceful existence, and thus the Amazons were born. Ares, despite being the son of Zeus never conformed with his godly brothers and sisters, leaving Olympus to form his own realm, Areopagus (Ares’ Rock.)
In the recent “New 52” reboot of the DC Universe, Ares, who is now regularly referred to as “War” appears as an aged man with his legs and feet permanently stained with the blood of generations of conflict. With the revelation that Diana is actually the demi-god daughter of Zeus, their dynamic changed, Ares is revealed to be one of Diana’s former mentors, training her in the ways of martial combat and this early meeting of their relationship takes on a father/daughter bond. However when Diana is tasked by Ares to slay the Minotaur, she is unable to do so, and this showing of kindness and compassion made her a failure in the eyes of Ares. More recently, Diana herself has inherited the title of God Of War, after regretfully killing her Olympian brother whilst attempting to stop the insidious plans of the First Born. In his dying breath, Ares forgives and commends Diana before being taken to the afterlife by Hades.
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my amazing Amazonian associates!
‘Hola’ once more my Themysciran sisters and brothers, and welcome back to Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana Prince. This week we present you with; Wonder Woman #329, written by Gerry Conway, with cover and interior art by Jose Garcia Lopez and Don Heck. Released in February 1986.
Issue #329 marks the end of volume 1 of Wonder Woman’s amazing adventures, but the beginning of a whole new chapter for both the awesome Amazon and the DC Universe as a whole. The titanic tale secreted behind this classic cover is titled “Of Gods And Men”, and this special anniversary issue not only honours 50 years of DC Comics, but also forms part of the reboot of the DC Universe, through the Crisis On Infinite Earths storyline.
The Crisis On Infinite Earths saga was created to be part of DC’s celebration of 50 years of comic book publishing, but DC stalwarts Marv Wolfman, Len Wein and George Perez also saw it as a great opportunity to help bring continuity back into a comic universe that had become very convoluted and at times inconsistent with its own characters backstories. The series stood 12 issues in length and crossed over into every monthly comic that DC published, to make for an epic narrative that would have far reaching and dramatic influences on the heroes and villains of the DC Universe.
But fear not fellow fans of the astounding Amazon, for Diana will return in volume 2 and a brand new first issue, which will follow post-crisis Wonder Woman on all new adventures throughout the rebooted DC Universe. A new day dawns on the shores of Themyscira, and Precinct1313 will be there to help guide you through it!
Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my adroit Amazonian associates!
New comics spotlight this week falls upon DC’s return of the Secret Origins comic, this is actually the first issue of this updated series that I have picked up so far and not because of it’s cover star, Swamp Thing (though I do like the character), but for the back up story of Power Girl. This issue also features Green Lantern, John Stewart’s origin story.
The original Secret Origins comic goes way back to 1961, it was published as a one-shot and contained mainly reprinted stories, eventually becoming a mini-series in 1973 which ran a total of seven issues. It had a much larger print run in 1986, which comprised of fifty issues that ran through to 1990. Chronicling the origins of the post crisis heroes and villains, I still have a large number of these original comics in my collection, so it was great to see the series return in April this year with the revised origin stories of the New 52 variants of DC’s popular heroes and villains.
As mentioned, Swamp Thing takes centre stage for this particular issue, Swampy is an elemental humanoid/vegetative hybrid possessing super strength and telepathic mastery over all plant life, created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson in 1971, with his first appearance in House of Secrets #92. Some of you may recognise Swampy from his popular television series in the 1980’s or the two films by prolific horror director Wes Craven and though by today’s standards they do come across rather camp and cheesy, they still hold up as a fun blast from the past and are well worth a watch.
If you are new to the DC Universe and have only started reading it since their New 52 reboot in 2011, then this is the perfect series to give you the up to date and revamped origin stories of their eponymous heroes and villains.
Swamp Thing is written by Charles Soule with interior art by Javi Pina, Power Girl is by Paul Levitz and Alisson Borges, and John Stewart’s origin is by Van Jensen and Pat Broderick.