"...you can't kill a vegetable by shooting it through the head."
— Jason Woodrue, Swamp Thing v2 #21Swamp Thing
is a comic book character created in 1972 by Len Wein
and famed horror artist Bernie Wrightson. The Swamp Thing first appeared in a one-shot horror tale in House of Secrets
#92 (June-July, 1971). He was then reworked as a character suitable for series appearances in Swamp Thing
vol. 1 #1 (November, 1972). Both stories were co-created by Wein and Wrightson. He later appeared in two live action movies
, a TV series, and a syndicated action cartoon. He has undergone numerous retcons
over the years by various authors looking to rejuvenate the series, but the definitive one came during Alan Moore
'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 Executive Meddling
, 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 gray moral tones
The book was among the first to abandon the Comics Code, and paved the way for the Darker and Edgier
comics of the eighties and nineties, including Moore's own Watchmen
and DC's Vertigo
imprint (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. Wes Craven
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 Gaia's Vengeance
. 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 (Grant Morrison
, Brian K. Vaughan
, Mark Millar
and most recently Charles Soule
). The character of John Constantine originated on Swamp Thing
during Moore's run and was spun off into his own title, 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
, by Brian K Vaughan, focused on Tefé as the central character.
Works this character has appeared in:
Tropes in Swamp Thing: