[[quoteright:250:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/swamp_thing_2518.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:250:There are people. There are stories. The people think they shape the stories, but [[TheoryOfNarrativeCausality the reverse is often closer to the truth.]]]]

-> ''"...you can't kill a vegetable by shooting it through the head."''
->-- '''Jason Woodrue''', ''Swamp Thing v2 #21''

'''Swamp Thing''' is a comic book character created in 1972 by Creator/LenWein and famed horror artist Berni Wrightson. The Swamp Thing first appeared in a one-shot horror tale in ''House of Secrets'' #92 (June-July, 1971). He was reworked as a character suitable for series appearances in ''Swamp Thing'' vol. 1 #1 (November, 1972). Both stories co-created by Wein and Wrightson. He later appeared in [[Film/SwampThing two live]] [[Film/TheReturnOfSwampThing action movies]], a TV series, and a syndicated action cartoon. He has undergone numerous {{retcon}}s by various authors looking to rejuvenate the series. Definitive is Creator/AlanMoore's run on the series, which was also his first American title, and his first for DC.

As an untested author, Moore was given a book slated to be cancelled. However, since no one cared about the title, there was no ExecutiveMeddling, so Moore used the book not to explore inhuman monsters in spandex, but human ones. He introduced mysticism and sexuality into the series, as well as [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism gray moral tones]].

The book was the first to abandon the comics code, and paved the way for the DarkerAndEdgier comics of the eighties and nineties, including Moore's own ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}} and DC's [[Creator/VertigoComics Vertigo]] imprint ([[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] himself first appeared in ''Swamp Thing''). Swamp Thing also showed publishers that holding comics to a higher literary standard did not necessarily mean a drop in sales.

Originally, Swamp Thing was a scientist named Alec Holland who gets turned into a monster in the swamps near the town of Houma, Louisiana after his lab equipment is sabotaged and his wife Linda killed. Creator/WesCraven followed this plot with his mildly successful film adaptation, about your standard modern-day Prometheus doing good and lamenting lost love.

Moore, however, retconned the character's origin, turning him into GaiasVengeance. It was revealed that the Swamp Thing was really a separate entity from Alec Holland, a plant elemental who had taken on his memories during its fiery birth from the ashes of Holland's lab. Holland's ghost even showed up. Moore's experimentation ranged far and wide during his run, and kept the comic from going under. In fact, a number of other notable writers have taken up the pen since (Creator/GrantMorrison, Creator/BrianKVaughan, and Creator/MarkMillar). The character of John Constantine originated on ''Swamp Thing'' during Moore's run and was spun off into his own title, ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}''.

Eventually, the Swamp Thing and his long-time love Abby Arcane-Cable got together (common law marriage) and they had a daughter named Tefé, after the river in Brazil. John Constantine was the biological father. The first Vertigo revival of ''Swamp Thing'' focused more on Tefé than on the title character.

!!Works this character has appeared in:
[[index]]
* ''ComicBook/BrightestDay''
* ''{{New 52}}''
** ''ComicBook/{{Rotworld}}''
[[/index]]

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!!Tropes in ''Swamp Thing'':
* TheAlcoholic: Matthew becomes this after he receives his PsychicPowers.
* AlliterativeName: Anton Arcane and his niece Abigail.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification
* BadassBoast: As Swamp Thing [[CurbStompBattle utterly dismantles the Brujeria]]:
--> "'''Fools'''. You are in a '''cave'''... beneath the '''clean earth'''... in the center... of a '''rainforest'''.... You... do not even... have a chance."
* BeastAndBeauty
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: Arcane, in hell for a day, experiences an eternity of torment. Abby, in for the same time, is untouched.
* BerserkButton: Don't touch Abby. Really, just don't.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Swampy is one of the [[AllLovingHero kindest and most peaceful beings]] you could ever meet. But don't piss him off, if you don't want to have a tree grow inside [[LudicrousGibs your intestines.]]
* BigBad: Anton Arcane.
* BigDamnHeroes: Swampy is the one to thwart Woodrue's planned destruction of all animal life, after spending days in a catatonic state thanks to Woodrue's [[TomatoInTheMirror revelation]].
* BizarreAlienSenses: In the "vegetable sex" scene, Abigail temporarily experiences Swamp Thing's ability to sense life force, and perceives the wetlands as a shimmering field of glowing vegetation, dotted with bright life-sparks of animals.
* BloodierAndGorier: [[spoiler: The reboot series. Just... so damn much... especially... Abagail's severed head [[NauseaFuel and her spinal column, esophagus, and wind pipe being held by Anton Arcane...]].]]
* BreakoutCharacter: John Constantine.
* CaptainErsatz: For a ''house''. The haunted mansion Swamp Thing visits in the American Gothic arc is clearly meant to be the Winchester Mystery House. Swamp Thing himself is a CaptainErsatz of of the Golden Age monster The Heap.
* ChainsawGood: Subverted, as "Evangeline's" wielder is easily disabled by Woodrue.
* ChosenConceptionPartner: [[Comicbook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] lets Swamp Thing possess his body so that a child can be conceived with Thing's wife.
* CrazyPrepared: Subverted. In one issue, Batman shows up to try to take down Swampy. He does his usual thing, sets traps, loads up with plant killer, etc. He still gets his arse handed to him by the titular Thing. In his defense, he was prepared to fight the pre-Moore Swamp Thing, not the incredibly powerful elemental he had become, with the ability to reform from any plant life after his body was destroyed, and even manifest multiple bodies at once.
* CurbStompBattle: Swamp Thing vs [[RealityWarper Anton Arcane]], Swamp Thing vs [[ReligionOfEvil the Brujera]], and Swamp Thing vs Franchise/{{Batman}}.
** In the Moore run, TheSpectre ''receives'' one of these from the Original Darkness's ''thumb''.
* CutLexLuthorACheck: Actually the TropeCodifier. During the arc where Swamp Thing holds Gotham City hostage until Abby is freed, enemies from the Sutherland Corporation bring in Luthor as a "consultant" who maps out how to destroy Swamp Thing. Luthor finishes his presentation 10 seconds early, just so the Sutherland people have enough time to write out his check.
* DigitalDestruction: A 2009 hardcover collection cuts short the last sentence of issue #24, changing "I want to be alive and meet the sun", to, "I want to be alive..."
* DoingInTheScientist: Moore's {{Retcon}} of the hero's origin, which was also based on a theory left behind as ScienceMarchesOn.
* DoingInTheWizard: Anton Arcane was a sorcerer in the comics, but multiple adaptations have made him a MadScientist instead.
* EldritchAbomination: The Monkey King, M'Nagalah... Swamp Thing tends to encounter a lot of these.
** Special mention should go to the Original Darkness, which was so massive that the heroes could only see the tip of its claw and was not even moving under the combined powers of ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger, ComicBook/DoctorFate and ComicBook/TheSpectre.
** The ''ComicBook/{{New 52}}'' series introduces The Rot who acts as the natural force of death and decay.
* ElementalPowers
* EvilCounterpart: Jason Woodrue
* EvilSorcerer: Arcane.
* EvilUncle: Anton Arcane
* ExiledFromContinuity: with some exceptions. When Swamp Thing officially went to VertigoComics, it was no longer considered continuity, for all intents and purposes. Once the series ended, he would make sporadic appearances here and there, often with a ShoutOut to the series.
** DC has recently announced plans to bring Swamp Thing and other Vertigo characters back into the DCU.
*** [[ComicBook/BrightestDay And now he's back]], [[spoiler: [[OhCrap as the Avatar of Death]].]]
*** [[spoiler: And then he was killed. By Alec Holland, now the Avatar of Life and the new Swamp Thing.]]
**** Who was now killed, and is now the Warrior King of the Parliament of Trees as Swamp Thing.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Originally, Swamp Thing wanted to 'cure' himself'; once he knows he is an Elemental, this is no longer an option.
* FrankensteinsMonster: Patchwork Man.
* GaiasVengeance: Has the outline of this but Moore subverts the most basic form even while establishing it. Floronic Man ''thinking'' he was and trying to kill humanity saw Swampy point out he was thinking like a human and not even a bit like a vegetable.
* AGodAmI: Anton Arcane when he confronted Swamp Thing with Matt's RealityWarper powers. Swamp Thing was... [[CurbstompBattle not impressed.]]
* GoMadFromTheRevelation: Several characters.
** Swamp Thing when he realizes [[spoiler: he not only can't revert his transformation, there never was one in the first place.]]
** Abby, when she realizes who she's actually been sleeping with after she thought she had reconciled with her husband.
** Arcane, when he finds out how long he's been in Hell.
** Woodrue, after Swamp Thing gives his ReasonYouSuckSpeech.
* GothicHorror: The original Len Wein series was entirely GothicHorror, to the point you expect to see a Creator/HammerFilms logo up front. To wit: In his second and third issues, he gets kidnapped to the Balkans, where he meets a Dr. Frankenstein expy and his monster, complete with castle, villagers, pitchforks, etc. In his fourth issue, he fights a Scottish werewolf. Issue five, he stumbles into a town where they're about to burn a witch -- in ''1970s Maine,'' mind you. And so on.
* GreenAesop: Though Alan Moore likes his Aesops Subverted, or DoubleSubverted.
* HappilyMarried: Swamp Thing and Abby, though not legally married, consider themselves this, and have a really touching and loving relationship.
** Later runs did have them go through a rough patch or two which led to a HeroicBSOD for Alec where he joined forces to merge all elemental powers... and destroy the world.
* HeelFaceTurn: Anton Arcane, of all people. [[StatusQuoIsGod It doesn't last]].
* HeroicBSOD: Swamp Thing undergoes a major one after learning that he is the TomatoInTheMirror. Abby also has one after she realizes the AwfulTruth about her husband.
** Abby's BSOD at one point involved [[OutDamnedSpot scrubbing herself with]] ''[[OutDamnedSpot steel wool]]'' until she passes out. It doesn't help.
*** To be fair she had just realised she'd been [[spoiler: [[BrainBleach sleeping with, and making love to, a rotten, fly infested corpse]] that only made itself look normal]]--and which was [[spoiler: possessed by her uncle,]] to boot. And she'd been doing this for ''months''.
* HorrifyingHero: Swamp Thing.
* HotSkittyOnWailordAction: As mentioned, Swamp Thing is captured and raped by a sentient alien island floating through space.
* HumansAreSpecial: The New 52 title brings up the idea that Alec makes such a powerful Swamp Thing is because humans have a conscience and thus can make decisions that the rest of the Green cannot.
* IAmNotLeftHanded: Swamp Thing in his Battle with Arcane: [[ThatManIsDead "No, Arcane... You... Have never... Encountered...]] '''[[BoldInflation Me]]''' [[GaiasVengeance before...]] [[TookALevelInBadass This... is our... first battle..."]] Cue epic beatdown by Swampy.
* InspectorJavert: Matthew Cable starts out as one of these.
* IntercontinuityCrossover: It's never directly stated, but there are enough hints to figure out that [[spoiler:Matthew the raven from ComicBook/TheSandman]] was [[spoiler:Matthew Cable]] before he died. Gaiman owes a lot to Moore in getting his career started; there are several nods in ''Sandman'' to Moore's work in the DCU. This was confirmed by Gaiman in an interview, and later made explicit in an arc of ''The Dreaming''. Swamp Thing also encounters quite a few well-established DC characters, including Franchise/{{Superman}}, Franchise/{{Batman}}, ComicBook/{{Etrigan}}, ComicBook/TheSpectre, ComicBook/{{Deadman}} and ComicBook/AdamStrange.
** Arguably only intercontinuity by way of ExiledFromContinuity: both Swamp Thing and ComicBook/TheSandman were originally part of the DC universe.
*** But now he's being returned to the DCU proper. [[spoiler: In ''ComicBook/BrightestDay'', the Swamp Thing has become the Avatar of Death, while the original, human Alec Holland has been revived to be "Earth's ultimate champion."]]
* InterspeciesRomance: Plant/human with Swamp Thing and Abby.
** When Abby gets jailed for it, the entire legal system still wants to prosecute her for it even as an enraged Swamp Things threatens to destroy Gotham. It's left to Batman to point out the legal hypocrisy in the DCU when he notes that the courts would have to jail the likes of [[ComicBook/TeenTitans Starfire]], [[ComicBook/MartianManhunter J'onn]], and... oh, [[Franchise/{{Superman}} that guy in Metropolis]].
* JuryOfTheDamned
* LawyerFriendlyCameo: "Pog", whose title character was ComicStrip/{{Pogo}} in a spacesuit. Amusingly, Pog had a brief cameo in a later issue by another writer who didn't seem to recognize the reference.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: During the time that Swamp Thing was exiled from Earth, he first lands on a blue-tinted world (the acclaimed issue "My Blue Heaven"). At first marooned there, he begins making clones of himself to keep company... and then creates his love Abby. By issue's end, his multiple-personality-disorder drives him to madness, and he forces himself to flee to another world.
** During that same story arc, Swamp Thing runs into Metron and the ComicBook/NewGods. Later, Metron barters with ComicBook/{{Darkseid}} using memories he acquired from Swamp Thing. Darkseid watches the lonely despair Alec feels being separated from Abby... and learns that "love" is something he needs to learn [[OhCrap to finish]] his Anti-Life Equation...
* MeaningfulName: The Sunderland corporation, who were not friends of nature.
* MistakenForOwnMurderer: Government agent Matthew Cable, encountering the title character for the first time, believes that he's Alec Holland's murderer. Eventually the Swamp Thing manages to convince him that he is Holland or so he and everyone assumes prior to the Alan Moore retcon.
* MuckMonster
* NoSuchThingAsWizardJesus: One of Rick Veitch's scripts would have averted this, by portraying Jesus as a White Magician; quoth the executives: "No." The CreativeDifferences resulted in Veitch not working with DC for about fifteen years following.
* OurHeroIsDead: Swamp Thing was shot. Through the head. Fortunately for Moore, DeathIsCheap.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: During the American Gothic story arc, Swamp Thing fights underwater vampires who have evolved to inhabit a flooded town.
** Crazy averted when said vampires first show up in the series. Before the flood, the vampires were hurt by crosses and holy water, and many met their end via a stake to the heart.
** Notable in that rather than simply being unable to cross running water, these vampires were fatally vulnerable to being immersed in it. This proved their undoing when Swamp Thing decided to drain their hometown.
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: The werewolf in "The Curse" is an expression of feminist rage.
* PaintingTheMedium: Panels were drawn sideways during the semi-cannibalistic hallucinogenic sweet potato sex scene. Because without a representative artistic mode, you wouldn't realize that something new and different was going on.
* PinocchioSyndrome: Like everything else, subverted by Moore's run.
* PlantPerson
* PopularityPower: Subverted, when Batman takes on Swamp Thing, he gets demolished.
* PowerPerversionPotential: Matt Cable was a RealityWarper, and he used this power mostly for ''entertainment'' purposes.
* PrimordialChaos: The "Original Darkness" is summoned up in Moore's run.
* RageAgainstTheMentor: Needless to say, Alec and Constantine don't get along very well anymore.
** Not that they ever really did.
* RealityWarper: Matt Cable, and later Anton Arcane when he possessed Matt.
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: After discovering that he's an intelligent plant instead of a mutated human, Swamp Thing steadily develops an array of abilities that put him quite comfortably in PhysicalGod territory, GaiasVengeance-style. [[spoiler:In the penultimate arc of Creator/AlanMoore's run, he turns a major city into a rainforest in less than three hours; "two hundred years of civilization reduced to jungle in as many minutes".]] In the final issue of Alan Moore's run, he considers turning the world into a green version of ComicBook/{{Miracleman}}'s... but realizes that his predecessors had the opportunity to do the same for themselves, the fish and/or the dinosaurs but decided against it to permit other forms of life to follow them - and because Nemo and Dino really hadn't done anything to justify it... and neither has humanity ([[spoiler:not to mention the whole assassination/exile thing he went through for the previous nine issues]]), so he decides simply to live out Abby's life then retire to the Parliament of Trees.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Subverted when Killer Croc moves in with Swamp Thing, and lives HappilyEverAfter (well, until the next time Croc appeared in an issue of Batman where he [[StatusQuoIsGod left the swamp and returned to villany]]).
* RhymesOnADime: Etrigan
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Volume 2, Issue 63. During Moore's run, Swamp Thing returns to earth after planet hopping using the green. Despite missing his lover terribly the entire time, he starts things off by killing four executives of the Sunderland Corporation; the company responsible for sending him off planet to begin with, and the source of a great deal of grief the entire comic's run.
* SinglePaletteTown: An issue where the protagonist goes to an alien world in blue and remakes it to look more like home... [[spoiler: with the worst case of multiple personality disorder ever seen in a comic book.]]
* SkunkStripe: Inverted; Abigail has black on white.
* SpinOff: [[ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}} John Constantine]] first appeared during Alan Moore's run.
* StarfishAliens: The eponymous hero encounters a sentient biomechanical planetoid, which then rapes him. Did I mention?
* StoryWithinAStory: Creator/MarkMillar wrote an arc entitled ''River Run'', which had Swamp Thing helping the ghost of a writer complete her book of short stories by traveling inside them and acting as the link to tie the stories together and successfully complete them.
* SweetAndSourGrapes: When Alec Holland relentlessly sought to regain his humanity, he was CursedWithAwesome; a "muck-encrusted mockery of a man" with superhuman strength and invulnerability. When Swamp Thing discovered he was merely a "[[TomatoInTheMirror plant doing its level best to be Alec Holland]]", he (after a rather gross HeroicBSOD) discovers his true power as [[GaiasVengeance a sapient extension of Earth's ecosystem]], with [[PhysicalGod all the powers thereof]].
* TomatoInTheMirror: Swamp Thing learns that he was never Alec Holland -- physically, at least. He still retains Holland's consciousness, and Abby still calls him Alec. And then he ''meets Alec's soul in Heaven'', the final nail in the coffin of the idea that he's anything more than a copy of Holland's memories.
* TooDumbToLive:
** When the Swamp Thing manages to enter Brujera's cave, they seem pretty cofident that they can take him, since they are on their home turf. The problem was however [[IdiotBall that said cave was]] '''[[IdiotBall in the middle of a rain forest]]''', and [[GreenThumb Swampy]] proceeds to instantly butcher the lot of them. Actually, the mystics had protected their underground cave to where Swamp Thing couldn't get in as Constantine planned... but [[spoiler:the traitor [[MeaningfulName Judith]] had accidentally brought in a rainforest flower that Swamp Thing ''could'' possess]].
** Also applies to the escaped convict in issue 10, who sees Swamp Thing coming when he's caught attempting to strangle an old black woman so he can steal her soup, and immediately thinks he can take him. Swamp Thing is over seven feet tall, weighs 547 lbs, and it is all "muscle."
* TricksterMentor: Constantine.
* {{Ubermensch}}: Tefé regards herself as one, until she's BroughtDownToNormal.
* WhamLine:
** "But you see, if he read my report, he'll know that just isn't true. He never will be Alec Holland. He isn't Alec Holland. He never ''was'' Alec Holland."
** "You [[OhCrap can't kill a vegetable by shooting it]] in the head."
* WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity: Matthew Cable.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: In the New 52, William Arcane.
* YearInsideHourOutside: Swampy visits hell, where he finds Anton Arcane, who died in the last issue. Arcane asks how many years the spiders have been laying eggs in his body and eating their way out. Turns out it's been a day. Arcane screams in horror.

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