You’ve probably figured out by now that Biff Bam Pop! is celebrating our favourite month of the year (October, ‘natch) with articles, editorials and other purposeful writings form the darker corners of the pop culture world.
This weekly column gets in on the act with a very timely focus on the only mucky monster that matters in comic book lore!
Here’s a character that was first inspired by the EC Comics stable of horror-themed comic books in the early 1970’s, who disappeared from publication for the better part of a decade, came back, but waned in popularity in the early nineteen eighties.
You’d think ‘ol Swampy would just slink back into the muddied waters of forgetfulness. But something happened in the mid nineteen eighties, a literary miracle of sorts, that would change Swamp Thing and comic books for all time.
Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus, out today, takes readers from those humble, frightening, exciting beginnings to the moment of that miracle!
Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus
Written By: Len Wein & many other industry legends
Illustrated By: Bernie Wrightson & many other industry legends
Published By: DC Comics
The Bronze Age of comic book publishing generally runs from the early 1970’s and through the mid 1980’s. It’s characterized by superheroes and well-known superhero motifs, of course, with the added element of darker storylines that would often incorporate social commentary.
With readers interested in horror-themed stories and a burgeoning interest in capitalism, greed, corporate responsibility and environmental protectionism, Swamp Thing was the perfect comic book vehicle. It (he) checked off all those boxes.
Here was scientist, Dr. Alec Holland, turned into a muck-encrusted monster by his own chemical experiments after a horrific tragedy at the hands of a mysterious organization that wanted Holland’s bio-restorative formula. You know – a concoction that could bring vegetation and food to even the driest of deserts!
Let the horror loose. Man becomes monster. Death and murder and revenge are served. Inhumane scientific experiments and medical procedures abound. Evil runs rampant. And the creepy Louisiana Bayou is the backdrop for it all.
Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus is a 724-page hardcover that collects everything that makes up the first phase of all things published starring the creature known as the Swamp Thing, created by industry legends Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. Here you’ll find The House of Secrets #92 (from 1971), the first (albeit different) appearance of Swampy, Swamp Thing #1-24 (the characters complete first volume of publication between 1972-1976), The Saga of the Swamp Thing #1-19 and The Saga of the Swamp Thing Annual #1.
A litany of industry legends had their hand in these stories including the previously mentioned Wein and Wrightson. Writers included Martin Pasko, Gerry Conway, David Michelinie and Bruce Jones. Art duties involved Tom Yates, Nestor Redondo, John Totleben, Stephen Bissette, Mark Texeira, Tom Mandrake and Jan Duursema.
It’s a veritable who’s who of talent!
Swamp Thing became the first mainstream comic book publication to shake off the heavy-handed yoke of the Comic Code Authority, and, with issue #20 (not included in this particular publication) went on to new heights, achieving literary expressionism never before seen in the comic book format under the hand of new-to-America-writer, Alan Moore.
One can easily argue that The Saga of the Swamp Thing established the foundations of Vertigo Comics and gave rise to mature comic books, which would capture the world’s attention through the decades of the nineteen eighties and nineteen nineties. Indeed, Swamp Thing, the character and the series, gave rise to modern comic book storytelling.
But it all started with the stories and art found in Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus!
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up the mighty hardcover tome for all its horror and life and love and historical significance! It’s a must-have for any lover of the comic book medium!