Hope you had a nice New Year and are feeling positive about 2015,
I’m almost to the end of my holidays so I have been working pretty hard on the site. I visited the State Library and added a bunch of new references to the Bibliography, and also on some of the film pages. There’s still more to sort through and add, and some articles that are still evading me, such as:
Bushnell, Jack. “Transsexing Technological Man: (Re)Writing the Comic Book Male/Scientist in Swamp Thing.” Popular Culture Review 11 (2000): 31-42. Print.
If anyone can help out with this, or any other references that you think would be relevant and I haven’t already added, it would be hugely appreciated.
I’ve also made some minor additions/corrections to the Collected Editions page and to my summaries of Vol. 1 of the comics. The main update, however, is that I’ve started adding in references and summaries for the Vol. 2 books. So far I only have summaries for the first 20 issues, and notes up to the end of #50, but I will keep working on them in the coming weeks.
It’s been really interesting to reread these old issues again. I remember the first time I read the series from the beginning and noticed a dramatic shift in tone from the superhero antics of Swampy in the late ’70s (towards the end of the first series, and also from his time with the Challengers of the Unknown) to #1 of the second series, where the entire Clancy family almost end up murdered under an old pier. This time through, I really noticed a shift towards the end of Pasko’s run, around the time Bissette and Totleben get on board. The first 13 issues make up a really long arc, with a lot of exposition and messy plot points, especially towards the end (as evidenced by my ‘short’ summaries getting necessarily longer). The two Dan Mishkin issues then seem to give Pasko a bit of time to gather his thoughts again, and #16 (while still heavy with events and a couple of ad-hoc plot elements) is much more successful, even including a little twist at the end. Also, Bissette and Totleben immediately begin introducing a bit more animal life to the settings, and Swampy finally stops travelling around everywhere in cars.
The final few issues of the Pasko run are a great lead in for the horror that is to come when Moore takes over. Pasko reintroduces Abby and Cable, now paranoid and miserable, and then the horrifically transformed Arcane. The pace builds with the heroes seemingly assaulted from all directions (Arcane, the D.D.I and Sunderland, and Cable’s monstrous visions) culminating in a grotesque battle with Arcane in #19. Moore takes over in #20 and the atmosphere is no less tense – the government has secured the perimeter of a forest is sweeping through with flamethrowers trying to finish off any survivors – but the change in writer is immediately felt. There are some great, emotional exchanges between Dennis and Liz, and Abby and Matt, as they all try and piece their lives back together after all of the horror they have been through. And then we have Swamp Thing’s frantic escape attempt and eventual ‘death’ on the last page. I’m really looking forward to getting through the next batch of stories, though I might take a break from the site for a week while I get settled back into my full time job.