A selected bibliography of interviews, articles, and essays about Swamp Thing. The Overview section is arranged alphabetically by author and contains references that give a broad insight into the themes and characters of the series. After that, the references are arranged chronologically by subject so as to allow the reader to explore the articles as they progress through the series without encountering too many spoilers.
I have recently begun using Zotero to organise my bibliographic references, which finally offers all of the functionality I was looking for in a reference management system. From the Seeds & Leaves group page, you can find more data for the references below and create a citation in your preferred reference style. You can also filter the list of articles by combinations of tags.
Adana, Francisco Sáez de. “The Confrontation between The Classic and the Modern Gothic in the Swamp Thing by Len Wein and Alan Moore.” On the Edge of the Panel: Essays in Comics Criticism, edited by Julio Cañero and Esther Claudio, Cambridge Scholars, 2015, pp. 206–19.
A comparison between the general themes of two classic Swamp Thing runs – the Wein/Wrightson issues and the Moore issues – including their differing uses of Gothic elements.
Scope: Several issues and arcs of the Wein/Wrightson and Moore runs are briefly described.
Ahmed, Maaheen. “Swamp Thing: Patchworks and Panoramas in Monster Comics.” Monstrous Imaginaries: The Legacy of Romanticism in Comics, University Press of Mississippi, 2020, pp. 54–84.
This book examines the relationship between comic monsters and the themes of Romanticism to illustrate the influence of Romanticism on popular culture. The chapter about Swamp Thing focuses mainly Swampy’s quest for self-understanding and identity, but mentions many other Romantic themes that emerge through the course of the series including pantheism, environmentalism, and the ambivalence towards good and evil.
Scope: Mentions the Wein/Wrightson creation of the character but focuses mainly on the Moore issues (Vol 2. #20-64) and touches on many of those stories and arcs.
Banks, Amanda Carson, and Elizabeth E. Wein. “Folklore and the Comic Book: The Traditional Meets the Popular.” The Impromptu Journal, no. 2, Jan. 1998, http://astro.temple.edu/~camille/comics1.html.
The authors analyse plot elements and central characters within Swamp Thing, Sandman and Hellblazer to examine how folkloric archetypes are used in contemporary literature, the extent of folkloric knowledge amongst comic readers and writers, and reasons behind the re-emergence of these folk beliefs in popular culture.
Scope: Briefly mentions the origin and several issues from the 2nd series, but is concerned with the character more generally.
Boney, Alex. “Major Arcana: The Life (and Death) Story of Anton Arcane and the Un-Men.” Back Issue, no. 36, Oct. 2009, pp. 50-57.
Presents the history, motivations, and character development of Swamp Thing’s nemesis Arcane (and his Un-Men) over the course of several comic series. There are comments by: Wein and Wrightson about their ideas for the character, and about Wein giving him the name Anton in 1985; Veitch, about his and Neil Gaiman’s plans for the character before he abruptly left the series; Dave Louapre about the American Freak Vertigo miniseries of 1994; Josh Dysart about Arcane’s appearances in Vol. 4 and his plans for the character before the series was cancelled; John Whalen about the Un-Men series of 2007-8 and his plans for the characters if the series had continued.
This article is backed up with the article “Multi-Media Arcane” (Alex Boney, pp. 58-59), describing the depictions of Arcane and the Un-Men in other media: the films, television series, cartoon, action figures, and NES game.
Scope: All of Arcane’s major appearances to-date are described, particularly #2-3 & 10 of Vol. 1; #17-19, #27-29, #82-83, and #168 of Vol. 2 (with brief mentions of appearances during the Wheeler and Collins runs); and #9-12 of Vol. 4.
Carter, James Bucky. “Rationale for Saga of the Swamp Thing, Volume 1.” SANE Journal: Sequential Art Narrative in Education, vol. 1, no. 2, 2011, pp. 52-55. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/sane/vol1/iss2/7/.
Provides a summary of and rationale for teaching Vol. 2 #20-27 to a high school English class, with some ideas for discussion.
Scope: Vol.2 #20-27 but the ideas are translatable to other issues of Swamp Thing.
Cooke, Jon B, and George Khoury, editors. Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and Their Makers. Special issue of Comic Book Creator, no. 6, Nov. 2014.
This entire issue is devoted to swamp monsters in comics, primarily focussing on titles from the 1970s. There are several articles about Swamp Thing, including unpublished issues, and includes interviews with Wein, Wrightson, Bissette, Totleben, Moore, and Veitch. [Further details about individual articles are elsewhere in my bibliography]. The book-sized issue also includes a trove of information on titles and stories that influenced or were contemporaries of Swamp Thing.
Scope: The Wein/Wrightson issues, and the Moore and Veitch runs of Vol. 2.
D’Arcangelo, Adele. “‘Slime Hero from the Swamp’: The Italian Editions of Alan Moore’s Horror Saga the Swamp Thing.” Comics in Translation, edited by Federico Zanettin, St. Jerome, 2008, pp. 133-51.
This chapter looks at this history of horror comics publishing in the United States and Italy, and specifically at the publishing of Swamp Thing. It provides some background information about Magic Press, who published Italian translations of some of the Alan Moore issues.
Scope: There is a focus on the Moore run and a few single issues are mentioned, but is more broadly useful in its contextualising of Swamp Thing within American horror comics and the history of the Comics Code, as well as providing the reader with details about some of the European reprints.
Dony, Christophe. “The Rewriting Ethos of the Vertigo Imprint: Critical Perspectives on Memory-Making and Canon Formation in the American Comics Field.” Comicalités, Apr. 2014, http://comicalites.revues.org/1918?lang=en.
The author examines the rewriting techniques present in Vertigo comics, referencing Swamp Thing’s retconning as examples of both Harold Bloom’s concept of kenosis (a category of rewriting that involves a complete break with what has come before) and “the spectral trope of haunting” associated with the Gothic. The author also explains the purpose and effect of Vertigo’s strategy.
Scope: While Swamp Thing is only mentioned a few times (primarily in relation to Moore’s revision of the character), the article details some shared characteristics of the Vertigo line of titles, of which Swamp Thing is considered an important and precursory example.
Duncan, Randy, and Matthew J. Smith, editors. “Swamp Thing.” Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman, vol. 2, Greenwood, 2013, pp. 733-45.
Provides an extensive history of the publication of Swamp Thing up to the New 52 launch. The book section covers: Vol. 1, the guest appearances and movie deal before the 2nd series, Vol. 2 (particularly Pasko, Moore and Veitch, and more briefly the Wheeler, Collins and Millar runs), and then brief overviews of further guest appearances, Vols. 3-4, and the recently launched Vol. 5. It’s impact on comics is described with references to the series’ awards and accolades, Moore’s reinvention of DC characters and his effect on the DC Universe, the challenging of the Comics Code, the birth of Vertigo, and the negative impact of the #88 censorship. Swamp Thing’s influence on wider American culture is described with reference to the films, television series, and associated merchandising, and mentions other references to the character in contemporary fiction and popular music. A great overview of the comic series, and provides some interesting tidbits of information I had not seen published elsewhere.
Scope: Vols. 1-5 are mentioned.
Gavaler, Chris, and Nathaniel Goldberg. “Alan Moore, Donald Davidson, and the Mind of Swampmen.” The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 50, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 239–58, https://doi.org/10.1111/jpcu.12544
This article examines Donald Davidson’s philosophical thought experiment about a Swampman and Davidson’s argument that one must have a history of interactions with the world in order for one’s words and thoughts to have any semantic content. The authors apply Davidson’s idea to various fictional swamp creatures (including Theodore Sturgeon’s It, Man-Thing, The Heap, and both the Wein and Moore versions of Swamp Thing) to determine whether their thoughts and words can contain meaning. Finally, the authors argue that Davidson is inconsistent by emphasising the importance of historical interactions in his Swampman example but stressing the importance of interpretability in his other works.
This article was slightly revised and re-presented as Gavaler, Chris, and Nathaniel Goldberg. “Minding the Swamp.” Superhero Thought Experiments: Comic Book Philosophy, University of Iowa Press, 2019, pp. 127-144.
Scope: Swamp Thing’s origins and Alan Moore’s revision of the character.
Handley, Rich. “Born On The Bayou.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 1, winter 2017, pp. 4–19.
A detailed overview of the publication and character history of Swamp Thing, including details of some obscure publications that Swampy appeared in. The author goes into the most detail when discussing the second series, but the entirety of Swamp Thing’s history is pretty well covered up to the beginning of the ‘New 52’.
Scope: Primarily the first four series, with a brief mention of the fifth series and appearances up to 2017.
Handley, Rich. “Forgotten Lore: The Swamp Thing and Hellblazer Tales That Almost Were.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 2, winter 2018, pp. 40–61.
An detailed catalogue of unpublished stories related to Swamp Thing. The works mentioned range from those that were nearly completed (such as issue #25 from the first series, and Veitch’s #88) to those that were unsuccessful proposals or merely ideas. Handley provides detailed synopses when possible, and provides URLs to webpages on his own website where texts or artwork can be found.
Scope: Mentions works that were written or discussed between the 1970s until around 2010.
Handley, Rich. “Arcane Knowledge: History Of An Insectoid Nazi Wizard Demon Priest.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 5, winter 2021, pp. 18-31.
A timeline of the life of Anton Arcane and some of his relatives, from the Dark Ages until 2005, with information sourced from both published and unpublished Swamp Thing-related comics and ephemera.
Scope: The timeline focuses on pre-‘New 52’ (2011) events and sources, but there are a few events from later issues that are referenced.
Killian, Kyle D. “Welcome to the Anthropocene: Gregory Bateson, Disaster Porn, Swamp Thing, and ‘The Green.’” Globalizations, vol. 18, no. 6, Jan. 2021, pp. 1017–32, https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731.2020.1859761.
The author describes the ‘disaster porn’ genre in narrative fiction and its consequences for the response to global climate change. Killian explores the theories of Gregory Bateson to explain humans’ persistent disconnection from natural systems and how our modes of thinking are self-reinforcing rather than self-corrective. The author then looks at the 2019 Swamp Thing TV series and its response to the ecological crisis within the disaster porn genre, with the titular character acting as a bridge between human scientific inquiry and the natural world. The author also provides suggestions as to why the series was cancelled prematurely.
This article was reprinted in Time, Climate Change, Global Racial Capitalism and Decolonial Planetary Ecologies, edited by Anna M. Agathangelou and Kyle D. Killian, Routledge, 2022.
Scope: Examples are drawn from the 2019 TV series but many of the ideas can be applied to the character more generally.
Klassen, Chris. “Embodiment through Comics.” The Bloomsbury Handbook of the Cultural and Cognitive Aesthetics of Religion, edited by Anne Koch and Katharina Wilkens, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, pp. 165–74.
This chapter explains how the aesthetics unique to comic books can be examined to understand their religious themes and imagery, and the author uses Ms. Marvel (specifically the Kamala Khan version) and Swamp Thing as examples. In Wein’s version of Swamp Thing, Swampy’s heroism allows the reader to accept him in spite of his monstrous appearance, and so forces us to rethink the idea of the normative human body. Moore’s revision of the character forces us to rethink the idea of embodiment itself as Swamp Thing’s body has no bounds and represents both humanity and the natural world.
Scope: Makes some initial references to issue #1 (1972), and then looks at the Wein and Moore versions of character in general.
Mattozzi, Alvise “Innovating Superheroes.” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, vol. 3, no. 2, 2003, http://reconstruction.eserver.org/Issues/032/mottazzi.htm.
The author charts formal changes that occurred in four DC comics titles through the 1970s and ‘80s. From paragraph 55, Mattozzi looks at House of Secrets #92 as a horror genre comic and discusses the differences between this and the superhero genre material of the first series. He then looks at the formal changes brought about by Moore, including his changes in the use of narrative voice and of the page grid. Some of the overall conclusions include: in the titles examined, there was a shift away from action as the central focus, and an assigning of more relevance to passions; there was a questioning of the competence of the hero; there was a greater shift towards multiple points of view being articulated; and the narrative organisation of a series became more complex, from single issue stories, to multi-issue stories with many plots and sub-plots.
Scope: House of Secrets #92, Vol. 1, and the Pasko and Moore runs are mentioned. Page scans are used as examples throughout, but the ideas do not relate to any specific issues.
Phillips, Kendall R. “Gothic Technologies: The Serpent and the Rainbow, Deadly Friend, Swamp Thing, Red Eye, Shocker.” Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter, and the Modern Horror Film, Southern Illinois University Press, 2012, pp. 97-108.
This chapter looks at some of the Gothic themes that reoccur in the films of Wes Craven, and analyses Swamp Thing amongst others. Phillips explains the historical context of Gothic fiction and some of its thematic elements, particularly the idea that, when science or technology intervenes with the natural order of things, horrific consequences ensue.
Scope: The analysis of Swamp Thing (pp. 103-4) relates primarily to the film, but Phillips’ arguments could be applied to the origin story or the character in general.
Rumsey, Davey. “Into the Swamp.” Children’s and YA Books in the College Classroom: Essays on Instructional Methods, edited by Emily Dial-Driver et al., McFarland & Co., 2015, pp. 274–80.
The author argues for the consideration of Swamp Thing as a work of fiction worthy of study by young adult audiences. He considers how the themes of the series align with the concerns of young people, specifically the idea of the ‘dream deferred’ by unexpected events (with reference to Vol. 2 #21) and the feeling of being a misunderstood, marginalised outsider (Vol. #51-53).
Scope: The article is primarily concerned with the Moore run, but some ideas may be translatable to other volumes.
Schroll, Mark A., and Claire Polansky. “Character Analysis of Some Specific Heroes and a Continuing Exploration of Their Ability to Demonstrate Transpersonal Ecosophical Consciousness (Part 2).” Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness: Myths, Comicbook Lore, Dreams and Inquiries into Various Other Radical Transpersonal Ecosophical States, edited by Mark A. Schroll, Psychoid Books, 2018, pp. 115–34.
In this chapter, the authors use superheroes to illustrate two hero archetypes (the ‘establishment hero’ and ‘the rebel’) and explain the development of these characters through comics and film. Next, they examine the story of Swamp Thing’s metamorphoses as an example of the hero’s journey of self-actualisation. The authors also discuss the relationship between deep ecology and ecofeminism using Alec and Linda Holland to represent these two ideas. Finally, they use Swamp Thing as an example of a ‘New Berserker’, or eco-warrior, who is closely aligned to the Earth.
Scope: No specific issues are examined but the authors are primarily concerned with the Alan Moore/’Green Man’ version of the character.
Staats, Hans. “Mastering Nature: War Gothic and the Monstrous Anthropocene.” War Gothic in Literature and Culture, edited by Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet and Steffen Hantke, Routledge, 2016, pp. 80–99.
Staats examines the relationship “between Gothic discourse and the realm of military experience” in various war comics of the 1950s-80s. Additionally, he examines Swamp Thing as an EcoGothic figure – a horrific human-plant hybrid who represents the perspective of the environment and nonhuman life. Swamp Thing is a champion of Deep Ecology and anti-war movements who introduces the reader to the concept of the anthropocene – the current geological era where the ecological world is controlled, or at least affected, by humans, with often monstrous results. Also available online: https://medium.com/@hstaats/mastering-nature-war-gothic-and-the-monstrous-anthropocene-a0bf56a0abce#.ppg0bvc27
Scope: The character in general.
Winninger, Ray. Swamp Thing: Sourcebook. Mayfair Games, 1991.
A supplementary sourcebook for use with the DC Heroes Role-Playing game but is an interesting publication even outside of this context. The introduction posits Swamp Thing within the wide genre of horror fiction. Then Winninger summarises the first two volumes up until the end of Veitch’s run and the birth of Tefé; provides a detailed character and power analysis of Swamp Thing; a biography of many related characters; and some details about Houma. Finally, there is a ‘solitary adventure’ which, if you are not playing the RPG, reads like a piece of choose-your-own-adventure fan fiction.
Scope: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 up to around #90.
Origin and Volume 1
Klein, Todd. “House of Secrets #92: How the Cover Was Made.” Todd’s Blog, 30 Sept. 2017, https://kleinletters.com/Blog/house-of-secrets-92-how-the-cover-was-made/.
Todd Klein explains the techniques used by Bernie Wrightson and colourist Jack Adler to create the cover of House of Secrets #92, with many scans at various stages of the production process.
Scope: The cover of House Of Secrets #92.
“The House That Swamp Thing Built.” Absolute Swamp Thing By Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, DC Comics, 2022, pp. 309–12.
An interview with Michael Wm. Kaluta, Alan Weiss and Louise Simonson about the House of Secrets #92 photoshoot, and includes their reminiscences of Bernie Wrightson. Accompanied by an image of the contact sheet from the photoshoot.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92.
Cooke, Jon B. “A Tale from the Swamp: The Origin of Wein & Wrightson’s Swamp Thing.” Comic Book Artist, no. 1, Mar. 1998, pp. 28-29.
Short interviews with original creators Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, and editor Joe Orlando, giving accounts of the original ideas and inspirations behind the first issues.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and early issues of Vol. 1.
Johnson, Dan. “Wein and Wrightson: Roots of the Swamp Thing.” Back Issue, no. 6, Oct. 2004, pp. 3-14.
An interview with Wein and Wrightson about Swamp Thing, including: their influences and their methods in constructing the initial House of Secrets story; how they turned it into an ongoing series; working with the Comics Code; and the reasons they left the series. They also provide details about an unpublished Swamp Thing story they worked on together in the late 80s. Also, they comment on some of the runs that followed (up to the beginning of the 3rd series), including those where Wein worked as editor.
Immediately following this is another relevant article (Johnson, Dan. “Man-Thing or Swamp Thing: Who the Muck Came First?” Back Issue, no. 6, Oct. 2004, pp. 15-18) which examines the origins of Swamp Thing and its Marvel counterpart, Man-Thing, whose first issue was published almost simultaneously. It looks at the characters’ differences and similarities, with quotes from the creators.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and early issues of Vol. 1.
Cooke, Jon B. “Swamp Thing.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 52+.
This article provides information about the early years of Swamp Thing, with quotes from Joe Orlando, Len Wein, and Bernie Wrightson. Topics covered include: the origin of the House of Secrets series; where the ideas for the story in HOS #92 came from; details of the photoshoot that was used as reference for the HOS illustrations; the success of this story and the transition to a Swamp Thing series; how the creative team worked, including some differing ideas as to the contribution of Joe Orlando; the response from Marvel who released Man-Thing at the same time; and more details about the planning and creation of early issues. Finally, some information about Arthur Suydam, who was offered the illustration job after Wrightson left. The article is accompanied by some draft pages and other rare Swamp Thing art including some by Suydam. The Wein and Wrightson quotes are included in longer interviews found elsewhere in this magazine.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and the Wein/Wrightson issues of Vol. 1.
Cooke, Jon B. “Bernie and the Bayou Beast.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 90-111.
An interview with Bernie Wrightson about his early career and his work with Len Wein on Swamp Thing. Wrightson speaks about the process of creating the original House of Secrets story (including the photoshoot that was used as reference for the illustrations), about the fan response, and the recognition the ongoing series received. He gives opinions of his collaborators and DC co-workers including Joe Orlando, Jeff Jones, Gaspar Saladino, Nestor Redondo and Alan Moore. Wrightson also explains the influences and ideas behind many issues in his run, the involvement of the Comics Code Authority, his relationship to the films, and his decision to abandon the Déjà Vu miniseries.
Accompanying the interview are previously unpublished images, including photos from the HOS photoshoot (pp. 96-97), 10 pages from Déjà Vu (pp. 106-110), and a lettered page in English from the abandoned follow up to HOS #140, which featured the Patchwork Man and was only ever published in Scandinavian magazine Gigant.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and Swamp Thing #1-10.
Zavisa, Christopher, editor. “Swamp Thing.” Berni Wrightson: A Look Back, Land of Enchantment, 1979, pp. 88–113.
A primarily pictorial retrospective of the works of Bernie Wrightson that includes a few short stories, and some art by comparable artists. There is a chapter about Swamp Thing, which includes quotes by Wrightson about the process of creating his 11 stories. He provides a couple of interesting insights into how some aspects of the character were decided upon. The chapter is accompanied by uncoloured pages and panel details, and by a coloured cover gallery, but nothing previously unpublished.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and Swamp Thing #1-10.
Cabezuelo, Pedro. “Bernie Wrightson.” Blood in Four Colours: A Graphic History of Horror Comics, Marrs Media, 2016, pp. 47–50.
An article with quotes from Wrightson about House of Secrets #92 and his involvement in the first series. Otherwise the article mostly focuses on his illustrations for Frankenstein and its publication history.
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and Swamp Thing#1-10.
Cooke, Jon B. “Creating That Dreadful Thing.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 74–89.
A long interview with Len Wein about his career, with a focus on Swamp Thing. Wein goes into detail about the writing process during his early issues, with information about his collaborators, including Wrightson, Orlando, the colourists, and letterer Gaspar Saladino. He also provides opinions about the writers and artists that were involved in subsequent issues, some of whom he worked with as editor. Wein gives details about Déjà Vu – an unpublished Swamp Thing miniseries he worked on with Wrightson in the mid-1980s – and about an ultimately abandoned Joel Silver Swampy film that Wein scripted and which was being worked on at the time of the interview. Wein also explains his financial relationship to, and opinions of, the feature films and television shows. The article is accompanied by some original art.
Scope: The article covers the Wein run (including HOS #92) in depth. It also covers some of the 2nd series when Wein was editor, and he gives opinions of Pasko, Yeates, Bissette, Moore and others.
Schoell, William. “Swamp Thing.” The Horror Comics: Fiends, Freaks and Fantastic Creatures, 1940s-1980s, McFarland & Co., 2014, pp. 237-47.
Describes Swampy’s House of Secrets origin and mentions other swamp characters of the era. The author then summarises several issues from the first series with unusual emphasis on some post-Wein material (particularly #18-24).
Scope: House Of Secrets #92 and several issues of Vol. 1.
Harvey, Allan. “Mud, Moss, and Mayhem: The Original Swamp Thing’s Latter Days.” Back Issue, no. 36, Oct. 2009, pp. 35-40.
This article focuses primarily on the artists and writers of the first volume who were around after Wrightson and Wein left. There is information about Philippines-based artist Nestor Redondo and some commentary by writers David Michelinie and Gerry Conway, with some photos and art. Describes the plots of most issues between #11 and #24.
Scope: Vol. 1 #11-24.
Wells, John. “Monsters (Almost) Unleashed!” Back Issue, no. 36, Oct. 2009, pp. 41-45.
Focuses on the cancellations in the 1970s of the House of Secrets Patchwork Man storyline and the short-lived Man-Bat series. Provides a history of the Patchwork Man character and describes the plots of the issues he appeared in, including details and images of the cancelled House of Secrets #141. It explains how these 10 pages eventually saw publication in Swedish magazine Gigant.
Scope: Vol. 1 #3, HOS #140, and the end of the first Swamp Thing series.
Arnold, James T. “Beyond the ‘Latter Days’: Swamp Thing Vs. Hawkman and the Search for Swamp Thing #25!!!” Back Issue, no. 66, Aug. 2013, pp. 43–50.
Details the author’s quest to find original pages of the unpublished Swamp Thing #25. Includes a little bit of information about the cancellation, and not much about the plot, but includes many images.
Scope: Vol. 1 #25 (unpublished).
“Character Profile: Swamp Thing.” Comics Scene, no. 1, Jan. 1982, pp. 27-28.
Provides a brief overview of the origin and first series.
Scope: Vol. 1, and the 1981 Batman team-up.
McAdams, Mindy. “The Swamp Thing That Was.” AmazingHeroes, no. 11, May 1982, pp. 34-45.
Summarises the plot of the first series including guest appearances. It also provides a checklist of published issues, including reprints.
Scope: Vol. 1, including guest appearances up to 1982.
Volume 2 – Pasko & Moore Eras
Scholz, Carter. “Automatic Ambience: Carter Scholz on the Original and the Perfunctory in Blade Runner, Saga of the Swamp Thing, Fantasy Illustrated, Depraved Comics, and Art from Printed Matter.” The Comics Journal, no. 78, Dec. 1982, pp. 38–48.
This article includes reviews of several current comic series and issues, including a few pages (pp. 41-46) about some of the early Pasko/Yeates issues. There are several comparisons to the Wein/Wrightson issues in terms of style and plot elements, and the author critiques several elements of the writing and illustrations.
Scope: Makes reference to Vol. 2 #2-4 and #8.
Browning, Michael. “The Thomas Yeates Saga of the Swamp Thing Interview.” Back Issue, no. 92, Oct. 2016, pp. 18–22.
An interview with Tom Yeates about his time on Swamp Thing, specifically his work with Martin Pasko. He explains how he got the job and why his left, and provides some information on the artists who helped him out. He also gives his opinion of the Moore run that followed Pasko’s final issue.
Scope: Primarily focuses on #1-13.
Bissette, Steve. “Origins.” Skeleton Crew, no. 3, Sept. 1990, pp. 20–21.
Bissette first provides a brief history of Swamp Thing, mentioning a number of other publications that featured swamp monsters. The article primarily consists of the author’s views on the Pasko/Yeates run, ending with the changes the Bissette/Totleben art team made to the title character.
Scope: The origin only briefly, with a focus on #1-13 of the second series.
Browning, Michael. “The Martin Pasko Saga of the Swamp Thing Interview.” Back Issue, no. 92, Oct. 2016, pp. 13–17.
An interview with Martin Pasko about his Swamp Thing run. Pasko explains how he was hired and his relationship to Wein and the first Swamp Thing series. He comments on why his run was more mature in tone, provides opinions of others that he worked with, mentions the new characters he introduced, and explains why he left the series. He also comments on the Moore run that immediately succeeded his final issue.
Scope: The Pasko run (#1-#19) pretty generally, with not many specific issues mentioned.
O’Neill, Patrick Daniel. “Marty Pasko.” David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview, no. 34, Apr. 1986, pp. 6-21.
An interview with Marty Pasko who gives some of his views about the comic book business. There are a few paragraphs about Swamp Thing where he shares some thoughts on Moore’s issues, the character, and the constraints he felt when writing the comic.
Scope: Pasko speaks quite generally about his run, #1-#19.
Thompson, Kim. “Special 1984 Preview Section: Saga of the Swamp Thing.” Amazing Heroes, no. 39, Jan. 1984, pp. 100-01.
A short interview with Moore about his plans for the series, conducted shortly after #21 was published.
Scope: #21 & #22 are mentioned, as is the previous volume in general.
Cooke, Jon B., and George Khoury. “The Saga of the Swamp God.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 132–149.
The interview with Alan Moore includes information about his original proposal to editor Len Wein when offered the job as writer for Swamp Thing; the transition from Pasko’s run with issue #20, and the fan reaction to #21; how Moore worked with artists Bissette and Totleben; and explanations of the ideas behind several stories. Moore also talks about the romance and horror aspects of the series, and speaks more generally about writing, magic, and celebrity.
Also included are the scripts, pencils and final inks of 3 pages from ST #23.
Scope: Moore’s run in a fairly general sense accompanied by some more detailed material about #23.
Blumberg, Dean. “It’s Not Easy Being Green: Swamp Thing, Ecology and the (Sometimes Slimy) Nature of Being.” Pop Matters, June 2010, Part 1 & Part 2.
A two-part article that gives a brief history of the character before explaining Moore’s revisions in #21. The author then looks at how Swampy reconstructs his idea of self and resists the human/nature binary that Woodrue is reinforcing in #22-24. Blumberg goes into detail about the dream sequences in #22, looking at the symbolism, writing style, and layouts.
Scope: Primarily #22-24.
Lawley, Guy, and Steve Whitaker. “Alan Moore.” David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview, no. 12, 1984, pp. 9–27.
An interview with Alan Moore, beginning with some discussion about his past and current works. There are a few pages about Swamp Thing, with Moore commenting on his ideas about the character, his approach to horror, and on working with the creative team. Interview probably conducted in mid-1984 as the Monkey King arc is mentioned as a work in progress.
Scope: Moore’s early issues (#21-24) in a general sense.
Cortsen, Rikke Platz. “Full Page Insight: The Apocalyptic Moment in Comics Written by Alan Moore.” Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, vol. 5, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 397–410, https://doi.org/10.1080/21504857.2014.913647.
The article looks at examples in the works of Alan Moore where a full page panel has been used to depict an apocalyptic moment. Apocalypse here is not necessarily meant in the Biblical sense but represents a disruption to the way the world is perceived and this epiphany can occur on a personal level (as in the case of Swamp Thing). The author explains that the temporal properties of the full page panel are complex because, while it still forms part of a sequence in the narrative, it loses sight with other panels and so has a ‘momentary’ effect. The final page from Swamp Thing #24 (when Swampy raises his arms to the sun) is analysed primarily, however full page panels from other issues of Swamp Thing and other Moore titles are also observed.
Scope: Mostly Vol. 2 #24.
Bucher, John. “Infirm Relatives and Boy Kings: The Green Man Archetype in Alan Moore’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing.” A New Gnosis: Comic Books, Comparative Mythology and Depth Psychology, Palgrave MacMillan, 2023, pp. 181–95.
The author examines Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing as an example of the Green Man archetype, and compares Swampy with other mythological figures such as Dionysus, Tyr, and the Fisher King and Green Knight of Arthurian legends. There is particular focus on the battle with Woodrue, which can also be seen as a struggle between divergent masculinities, and there is a comparison of the physical wounding suffered by both these characters in the early Moore issues.
Scope: Primarily Vol. 2 #21, #24, and #27.
McCambridge, Jeffrey. “Ratoon, Remontant, Revenant, or Recorporation: Death, Melancholy, and Mourning in DC’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing.” The DC Comics Universe: Critical Essays, edited by Douglas Brode, McFarland & Co., 2022, pp. 146–57.
After an exploration of the symbolism of the Ouroboros, the essay looks at the recurring motif of rebirth in Swamp Thing: from the death and replacement of Alec Holland by Swamp Thing, to Swampy’s realisation of his true origin in ‘The Anatomy Lesson’. In the first series, Swamp Thing’s motivation is to become human again, and encounters other monsters who are similarly unable to revert to their former selves. Swampy’s epiphany in Vol. 2 #21 precipitates his transition from a state of melancholia (a feeling a loss) to one of mourning (carrying the memory of Alec within him). The healing process is delayed until ‘The Burial’ (#28).
Scope: Summarises Vol. 1, including the events of #23-24, which were subsequently removed from canon. There is also a summary and analysis of Vol. 2 #21, the dream sequence of #22, and #28.
Gaiman, Neil. “Moore about Comics.” Knave, no. 3, Mar. 1986, pp. 38–41.
A biography of Moore with a few paragraphs about Swamp Thing. Includes a long quote from Moore on the Comics Code and the rejection of #29. Also available online: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/02/from-before-he-was-wizard.html
Scope: Focuses mostly on #29.
Burbey, Mark. “The Swamp Thing Section.” The Comics Journal, no. 93, Sept. 1984, pp. 45-99.
Firstly, an interview with Stephen Bissette explaining his training and influences. At around p.66, the subject turns to Swamp Thing and Bissette explains how he began working on the title with Martin Pasko, and how the current creative team (with Totleben and Moore) works. Also includes some unpublished art.
There is an interview with Alan Moore on his work on the series so far and his ideas for the future, including a mention of the then-unpublished DC Presents story.
Finally, John Totleben talks about his influences and his techniques. He explains what it’s like working as an inker with pencillers (including Bissette), with some anecdotes about specific issues and pages. Also, some opinions of Moore. Conducted while #24 was being completed. Includes uncoloured art from the series.
Scope: Vol. 2 #16 (the first work by Bissette) to around #30 (when the Alan Moore interview was conducted).
Scope: Focuses mostly on #29.
Bissette, Stephen. “The Swamp Thing Papers: Prelude.” The Artistic Life. Comics Feature, no. 30, Aug.-Sept. 1984, p. 16+.
Bissette, Stephen. “The Swamp Thing Papers Part I.” The Artistic Life. Comics Feature, no. 31, Oct.-Nov. 1984, p. 8+.
Bissette, Stephen. “The Swamp Thing Papers Part 2.” The Artistic Life. Comics Feature, no. 32, Dec.-Jan. 1984-85, p. 14+.
Stephen Bissette contributed to a regular column over three issues of Comic Feature magazine, where he details his experience working on Swamp Thing. Over the course of these articles he: provides a history of the character and similar swamp creatures; critiques the Pasko/Yeates run; and explains how he and Totleben took over from Yeates and the new ideas they brought to the character. Bissette promises that the next installment will be about related characters, including the Un-Men, but the column abruptly ceased after issue #32. Includes some unpublished pencil art, and a great piece of early concept art by Totleben.
Scope: Broadly covers the history of the series up until then, with the latest issue mentioned being #30 (Nov. 1984). There is slightly more detail about the Pasko/Yeates issues.
McLeod, Bob, editor. “Featured Artist: Stephen Bissette.” Rough Stuff, vol. 1, no. 4, Apr. 2007, pp. 3-12.
Some original art from Bissette’s work on Swamp Thing, with commentary from the artist about his stylistic choices and influences, and tips for other artists.
Scope: Includes images from #19, 23-25, 36, and the cover of Comics Journal #93.
Khoury, George. “Interview: John Totleben.” Rough Stuff, vol. 1, no. 4, Apr. 2007, pp. 24-42.
An interview with John Totleben about getting assigned to Swamp Thing, and working with various writers and artists during his time on the series. He talks about his techniques and those of the other creators, and where some of the characters and concepts came from. Includes some original art.
Scope: Totleben gives his opinions about Vol. 1 and the early Pasko issues. There is some more detail about the late Pasko (from #16) and early Moore issues. It then briefly covers the series up until Totleben (then the cover artist) left at #100.
Cannon, Michael. Swamp Thing. Psi Fi Movie Press, 1987. Critics Choice Files Magazine Spotlight.
Cannon uses an informal, subjective tone to provide a history of the publication of the first series (focussing mostly on the Wrightson issues, particularly the art) and skimming over the Pasko issues of the 2nd series. From there, he provides summaries and reviews of the first Moore issues.
Scope: #20-33 and Annual #2 in detail.
Gibson, Melanie. “Saga of the Swamp Thing.” 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die, edited by Paul Gravett, Universe, 2011, p. 467.
A few paragraphs describing the themes and style of the Moore/Bissette/Totleben issues.
Scope: The Moore run in a broad sense.
DC Comics, Inc. A Chat With Alan Moore. Lynn Vannucci Productions, 1984. YouTube, uploaded by A.David Silverman, 1 Nov. 2009, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6EA42967F2D1E356.
A short film originally released on VHS in 1984 and distributed to comic stores, and now available in 5 parts on YouTube. Moore provides both insightful and tongue-in-cheek answers to Lynn Vannucci’s questions.
– Part 1: Len Wein and Karen Berger speak about Alan Moore, before Moore goes into his ideas about the horror genre and his writing methods;
– Part 2: Moore on working with Bissette and Totleben, his ideas about the characters, and being free of the Comics Code;
– Part 3: about the comic medium and its audiences;
– Part 4: about the decline of horror comics, with Berger providing information about the upcoming ‘American Gothic’ arc;
– Part 5: Moore speaks about the upcoming Watchmen series, before Wein, Berger and Moore speak about Moore getting a job at DC.
Scope: Mostly #21-30, with ‘American Gothic’ not yet published.
Daniels, Les. “Swamp Thing: Much Ado About Bayou.” DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World’s Favorite Comic Book Heroes, Bulfinch Press, 1995, pp. 158-61.
Summarises the plot and publication history of the first series and some of the early Moore issues of the 2nd series. Mentions the Comics Code Authority intervention into #29.
Scope: Vol. 1 & 2, up to #29, with further pictorial references to later Moore issues (up to #43).
Heintjes, Tom. “Comics Code Rejects Saga of Swamp Thing Tale; Swamp Thing Rejects Code” The Comics Journal, no. 93, Sept. 1984, pp. 12-13.
A news article reporting on the Comics Code rejection of #29, and DC’s decision to bypass the Code from #31 onwards. Explains the ‘Sophisticated Suspense’ tag and includes quotes by Moore et al.
Scope: Vol. 2 #29-31.
Boney, Alex. “From Such Great Heights: The Birth of Vertigo Comics.” Back Issue, no. 57, July 2012, pp. 61-74.
An article about the birth of DC’s Vertigo imprint. Swamp Thing is mentioned throughout, both because it was an early DC title that bypassed Comics Code approval, and also because it was one of several DC titles that made the jump to Vertigo when it began in 1993. There are some quotes from Moore, mostly taken from The Comics Journal #93.
Scope: Some details surrounding the publishing of Vol. 2 #29-31 and Moore’s departure in 1987.
Rosen, Elizabeth K. “Sentient Vegetable Claims End Is Near!: The Graphic Novels of Alan Moore.” Apocalyptic Transformation: Apocalypse and the Postmodern Imagination, Lexington, 2008, pp. 1-44.
This chapter discusses Moore’s adaptations of the Apocalypse paradigm in Swamp Thing, Watchmen and Promethea. The first 18 pages deal with Swamp Thing and detail some of the versions of apocalypse that Moore explores. Firstly, the threat of an environmental apocalypse that hangs over the whole series, but seems particularly imminent during Moore’s first arc (the Woodrue battle) and in the ‘Nukeface Papers’ issues. Secondly, the destruction of Swamp Thing’s identity and worldview in #21, and transformation into a deity figure in subsequent issues. Finally, it looks at Moore’s handling of the Crisis on Infinite Earths event.
Scope: There is a brief summary of the pre-Moore character, but the author is concerned primarily with issues #21-50. There are references specifically to #21-24, #28, #35-36, & #46-50.
Di Liddo, Annalisa. Alan Moore: Comics as Performance, Fiction as Scalpel. University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
According to the blurb, this book “considers Moore’s narrative strategies and pinpoints the main thematic threads in his works”. Pages 50-54 examine aspects of Swamp Thing, including Alan Moore’s reworking of the character from monster, to plant, to protector of the Green. Also looks at the incorporation of the Pogo characters and their language style in the ‘Pog’ story.
Scope: A little about Moore’s run in general, but goes into more depth about #32.
Singer, Marc. “Dark Genesis: Falls from Language and Returns to Eden from ‘Pog’ to Promethea.” Studies in Comics, vol. 2, no. 1, May 2011, pp. 93-104, https://doi.org/10.1386/stic.2.1.93_1
Singer looks at some of Moore’s ideas about language. In both the Swamp Thing ‘Pog’ story and in Promethea, Moore makes an argument for the primacy and effectiveness of pictorial narrative over written or spoken language. However, where ‘Pog’ ultimately shows the limits of language, Promethea argues that the world is wholly constituted by signs and symbols. Singer also points out some allusions to biblical episodes in the text, e.g. the fall of the Tower of Babel.
Scope: Primarily #32, but also a couple of paragraphs about ‘Abandoned Houses’ (#33) and brief summaries of other Moore issues.
Christopher, Brandon. “‘I Will Not / Be Haunted / by Myself!’: Originality, Derivation, and the Hauntology of the Superhero Comic.” Seriality and Texts for Young People: The Compulsion to Repeat, edited by Mavis Reimer et al., Palgrave MacMillan, 2014, pp. 166–87.
The author looks at Superman: Birthright, Gaiman’s Black Orchid and Sandman comics, and Moore’s Swamp Thing and “analyses the function of self-referential citation” (167). Christopher first looks at Derrida and Butler’s discussions of repetition and citation, and the relationship between a reiteration and its origin. He then applies these ideas to the titles above, getting to Swamp Thing on around p.177. While the other authors mentioned distance themselves from past iterations through irony or parody, Moore embraces and incorporates the earlier stories, even after creating an opportunity to break with the origin in ‘The Anatomy Lesson’.
Scope: The author mentions #21-22, #28 and #33, as these issues contain references to earlier Swamp Things. He also briefly mentions a few references to Swamp Thing that appear in the Gaiman works.
Bushnell, Jack. “Transsexing Technological Man: (Re)writing the Comic Book Male/Scientist in Swamp Thing.” Popular Culture Review, vol. 11, no. 1, Feb. 2000, pp. 31–42, https://www.joomag.com/magazine/popular-culture-review-vol-11-no-1-february-2000/0467732001458920178?short
In Bushnell’s article, he argues that the Wein/Wrightson issues of Swamp Thing are concerned with the titular character’s desire to return his former life as Alec Holland – someone who, as a scientist, embodies the traditional masculine values of reason and isolation. But as Swampy experiences events that cannot be explained by science, he gives up on that dream and departs from that form of masculinity. By the time of Moore’s run, Swamp Thing stresses connectedness to the world around him, displays gentleness and love, and tends to resolve conflict without resorting to violence.
Scope: Bushnell focuses on two paperback collections: ‘Dark Genesis’ (House of Secrets #92, and Vol.1 #1-10) and ‘Love and Death’ (Vol.2 #28-34).
McDonald, Robin Alex, and Dan Vena. “Monstrous Relationalities: The Horrors of Queer Eroticism And ‘Thingness’ in Alan Moore and Stephen Bissette’s Swamp Thing.” Plant Horror: Approaches to the Monstrous Vegetal in Fiction and Film, edited by Dawn Keetley and Angela Tenga, Palgrave MacMillan, 2016, pp. 197–214.
The authors argue that the ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ reconceptualises Swampy as an unclassifiable “thing” – neither human nor plant – and from this perspective, Swamp Thing’s sexual relationship with Abby can be seen as subverting “traditional able-bodied, reproductive, monogamous, cis and heteronormative frameworks of sexuality”.
McDonald and Vena summarise their chapter on the Horror Homeroom blog here: http://www.horrorhomeroom.com/monstrous-relationalities-in-alan-moore-and-stephen-bissettes-swamp-thing/
Scope: #21 & #34.
Smith, Michael. “Embracing Dionysius in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing.” Studies in the Novel, vol. 47, no. 3, fall 2015, pp. 365–80, https://doi.org/10.1353/sdn.2015.0039
The author explains the difficulties in depicting a plant’s thoughts and how Alan Moore tackles this in Swamp Thing. Smith looks to the character of Dionysus in Euripides’ play The Bacchae as another example of one who resists representation.
Scope: Smith summarises #21, and uses examples primarily from #22 and #34.
Duncan, Paul. “Alan Moore: Sophisticated Scriptwriting, Part Three.” Arken Sword, no. 13/14, May 1985, pp. 44–53.
The third and final part of a lengthy interview with Alan Moore that continues from Arken Sword #10 and #11. Moore’s detailed answers provide information about his influences, his ideas about writing, and some of his works. The Swamp Thing-related topics include: Moore’s opinion of The Comics Code; working with Bissette and Totleben and their contributions to elements of #38-40 (which had not yet been published); also the ideas behind the ‘American Gothic’ arc in general.
This interview is preceded by a review titled “Swamp Thing” (Pete Campbell, pp. 42-43) focussing on the art and writing of the then-published Moore issues (#21-#34).
Also available online: <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz-VsUjOG2SiLTBSSFRCZm8yVEE/view>.
Scope: The first half of the Moore run (roughly #21-#40) with some interesting information about #38-40 in particular.
Duncan, Paul. “Stephen Bissette.” Arken Sword, no. 17/18, Mar. 1986, pp. 82–98.
An interview with Stephen Bissette about his career and his work on Swamp Thing, beginning with providing assistance to Tom Yeates and then taking over art duties with John Totleben. He talks about working with Pasko, Moore, and other artists, and explains the process of creating several of the issues. Bissette mentions a planned team-up with Eclipse’s Mr. Monster that never eventuated. Finally he discusses other projects and what he will do when he leaves the series after the upcoming issue #50. Alan Moore makes a brief appearance partway through the interview, marking a rare instance that Moore and one of the American artists are interviewed together.
Also in this issue, “American Gothic” (by Martin Crookall, pp. 32-39) provides an issue-by-issue review of #37-50.
This issue of Arken Sword contains several Swampy-related artworks by Bissette including pencil sketches, convention art, and a couple of pages from the ‘Nukeface’ story he and Totleben wrote in 1982 before commencing work on Swamp Thing.
Also available online: Part 1 & Part 2.
Scope: The Bissette interview covers the the Pasko and Moore issues generally up until about 1986, with slightly more time devoted to ‘Rite of Spring’ (#34).
Cannon, Michael. Swamp Thing: Green Mansion. Psi Fi Movie Press, 1987. Critics Choice Files Magazine Spotlight.
An interview with Bissette about his influences, his experiences working on Swamp Thing, about censorship and the industry in general. Then Cannon goes on to summarise and review a number of the Moore issues.
Scope: Primarily #34-50 but mentions a few other issues including #29.
Beineke, Colin. “‘Her Guardiner’: Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing as the Green Man.” ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, vol. 5, no. 4, 2011, https://imagetextjournal.com/her-guardiner-alan-moores-swamp-thing-as-the-green-man/
Examines Moore’s adaptation of the Green Man in his reinvention of Swamp Thing, as a way of commenting on ecological responsibility and our relationship with the natural world. Discusses the folkloric Green Man motif, which has appeared in architecture and literature over ages and cultures, and represents a protector of nature and a communicator between the spheres of nature and civilisation.
Scope: References #21-24, #32, #34-36, & #51-53.
Srbek, Wellington. “A Monstrous Talent: An Interview with Steve Bissette.” Mais Quadrinhos, May 2008, Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5.
A five-part interview with Stephen Bissette in English and Portuguese, with the first part focussing on his childhood and education at the Kubert school. In parts 2 & 3, Bissette discusses Swamp Thing, including: the script for ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ (#21); Bissette and John Totleben’s writing contributions, including their ideas for the Monkey King (#25-27) and Nukeface (#35-36) storylines; his artistic relationship with Totleben; a little about the ‘Jack-In-The-Green’ story with Neil Gaiman; the influences on ‘Rite of Spring’ (#34); Karen Berger and the bypassing of the Comics Code; and his departure from the series. He also briefly mentions writing a proposal for a Nukeface sequel, which can be found here. After talking about Swampy, the following parts discuss his later works (including Taboo and 1963) and his retirement from the comics industry and future plans.
Scope: Several issues are mentioned, including #21, #25-27, #29, #34-36.
Greenberger, Robert. “The Line of DC Super-Stars.” DC Spotlight, 1985, p. 22.
Some quotes from Moore about the upcoming ‘American Gothic’ storyline.
Scope: References #37-50 but they have not yet been published.
Rosen, Elizabeth. “The Narrative Intersection of Image and Text: Teaching Panel Frames in Comics.” Teaching the Graphic Novel, edited by Stephen E. Tabachnick, Modern Language Association of America, 2009, pp. 58-66.
Rosen’s short article explains the importance of looking at design and layout when reading comics, with suggestions on how to teach this to students. On pages 63-65, she describes a sequence from #37 with reference to the panel design.
Scope: A few pages from #37.
Condis, Megan A. “The Saga of the Swamp Thing: Feminism and Race on the Comic Book Stand.” ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, vol. 5, no. 4, 2011, https://imagetextjournal.com/the-saga-of-the-swamp-thing-feminism-and-race-on-the-comic-book-stand/.
Provides an analysis of ‘The Curse’, and comments on Moore’s critique of patriarchy and gender relations, and on its use of menstruation symbolism. It also criticises Moore’s depiction of Native American practices, which are based on biased studies by white, male anthropologists from patriarchal cultures, and offers up some alternative interpretations of these practices.
Scope: Vol. 2 #40.
Cooke, Jon B. “Steve Bissette’s Bayou Days.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 150–61.
Bissette discusses his time on Swamp Thing, going into detail about many of the issues for which he was part of the creative team and a cover artist. He explains some of the influences on the stories, characters, and art of the Moore run, and provides other anecdotes from his time working for DC Comics.
Scope: Many issues between #21-40, and then a few after that period.
Whitted, Qiana J. “Of Slaves and Other Swamp Things: Black Southern History as Comic Book Horror.” Comics and the U.S. South, edited by Brannon Costello and Qiana J. Whitted, University Press of Mississippi, 2012, pp. 187-213.
Whitted looks at how the American South, African Americans, and the history of racial oppression is represented in Swamp Thing, particularly through its use of horror comic tropes. There are some comparisons with Jeremy Love’s Bayou.
Scope: Primarily focuses on Vol. 2 #41-42, but also refers to Vol. 1 #10.
Besson, Françoise. “Comics as Ecological Allegory through Visual Imagination.” Ecology and Literatures in English: Writing to Save the Planet, Cambridge Scholars, 2019, pp. 169–85.
The author analyses Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Neil Gaiman’s Black Orchid miniseries (1988/9) as allegories, with the title characters personifying nature itself. Besson closely examines the visual and textual elements of Swamp Thing #47 (Apr. 1986), highlighting how its creators contrast the worlds of nature and mankind, and argues that the purpose of both titles is to guide the reader towards environmental awareness.
Scope: Primarily Vol. 2 #47.
Marchetto Santorun, M. Cecilia. “‘Terrible Monsters Sin-Bred’: Blakean Monstrosity in Alan Moore’s Graphic Novels.” Palgrave Communications, vol. 6, no. 1, May 2020, p. 91, https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-0451-2
This article examines the influence of William Blake on the works of Alan Moore, particularly Swamp Thing, From Hell, Promethea, Neonomicon and Providence. The author explains that the monstrous characters in these comics can represent two forms of evil. ‘Satanic evil’ represents the repressive embodiment of moral law and convention. It is in this sense that Anton Arcane, Jason Woodrue and the photographer Howard Fleck are depicted as evil. The other form is ‘Diabolic evil’, representing excessive passions and imaginations. This is how Swamp Thing, representing the exuberance of nature, is depicted as monstrous in relation to modern technocratic society.
Scope: The article references a few issues, but mostly #34 and #47-48.
Edwards, Andrew. “A Ghost Dressed in Weeds: Unearthing Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing.” Sequart, 13 June 2012, http://sequart.org/magazine/11984/a-ghost-dressed-in-weeds-unearthing-alan-moores-swamp-thing/.
Edwards begins his series of articles on Moore’s Swamp Thing run by giving a brief overview of what became before. On the following pages, he summarises and analyses each issue of the Moore run up until #50 (in a post dated 24 July 2013).
Scope: Vol. 2 #20-50.
Gray, Maggie. “A Gothic Politics: Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Radical Ecology.” Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition, edited by Matthew J.A. Green, Manchester University Press, 2013, pp. 42–62.
The author looks at how ideas about humans’ relationship to nature are explored throughout the Moore/Bissette/Totleben run through the use of Gothic tropes and techniques. Gray provides some information on the history of Swamp Thing pre-Moore, and explains the debates within the environmental movement at the time between theories of deep ecology and social ecology (as defined by Næss and Bookchin respectively). Gray gives examples of how these debates are played out in Moore’s Swamp Thing with reference to specific issues and arcs. The author also looks at how various tropes of Gothic literature are employed, from visual elements (examining artistic style, page layouts, colours) to writing style (favouring non-linear first person narratives, allowing multiple subjective viewpoints).
Scope: Gray uses several issues/arcs as examples, including: Moore’s revision of Swampy and the battle with Woodrue (#21-24); The Nukeface Papers and American Gothic (#35-50), and the greening of Gotham (#52-53).
Addis, Victoria. “Ecomasculinity, Ecomasculinism, and the Superhero Genre: Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing.” Men, Maculinities, and Earth: Contending with the (M)anthropocene, Palgrave MacMillan, 2021, pp. 417–32.
This article examines Alan Moore’s version of Swamp Thing as an exemplar of ecomasculinity: a form of (typically, non-destructive) masculinity connected with the natural world. Though occasionally expressing traditionally masculine-coded emotions such as anger, this behaviour is condemned within the narrative and presented as a corruption of his powers. Also, Swampy’s frustration stems from love (of Abby, and of nature), which is in contrast to Woodrue, whose destructive actions are motivated by egoism and bitterness. Swampy’s ecomasculine identity resists the demarcation between plant/human and masculine/feminine, and embodies interconnectedness between these concepts. The cause and effect of environmental harm plays out on a small scale upon Swamp Thing’s body, provoking empathy with nature in the reader. The author also discusses the contrasts between Swamp Thing and other superheroes, whose concerns are usually urban and anthropocentric.
Scope: Several Moore issues are touched upon (including #20-24, #34, #38-39, #41-42) but many of the arguments are made with reference to the greening of Gotham storyline (#52-53).
Wandtke, Terrence. “A Monster More or Less like Me: Swamp Thing, From Hell, and the Philosophy of Horror.” The Comics Scare Returns: The Contemporary Resurgence of Horror Comics, RIT Press, 2018, pp. 83–123.
This chapter posits Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and From Hell within the history of horror comics publishing, the Comics Code, and censorship in the 1980s. It explains how Moore creates horror through the disconcerting themes within Swamp Thing, such as the deconstruction of identity and the shift away from a human-centric perspective of the world. Wandtke goes into detail analysing both the narrative and the visual elements of these comics, with particular attention to issues #21, #33 and #34.
Scope: The Moore run, primarily between issues #21-53.
Bradshaw, Michael. “‘The Sleep of Reason’: Swamp Thing and the Intertextual Reader.” Alan Moore and the Gothic Tradition, edited by Matthew J.A. Green, Manchester University Press, 2013, pp. 121–139.
The author looks at the ways in which Moore refers to other texts (including Romantic literature and art) throughout Swamp Thing, and explains the function of intertexuality in Gothic writing. Bradshaw also explains how this practice is used to develop Moore’s ecopolitical themes.
Scope: Many of the Moore issues are referenced with ‘The Sleep Of Reason’ (#25) getting a marginally closer examination.
Krinsky, Hindi. “Mean Green Machine: How the Ecological Politics of Alan Moore’s Reimagination of Swamp Thing Brought Eco-Consciousness to Comics.” Plants and Literature: Essays in Critical Plant Studies, edited by Randy Laist, Rodopi, 2013, pp. 221-41.
This book collects a number of essays examining the representation of plants in Western literature. Krinsky’s chapter looks at Swamp Thing’s role as ecological hero and assistive force to humanity during Moore’s run, mostly through a summarising of his activities. There is a brief conclusion noting some of the other green heroes that emerged in Swampy’s wake.
Scope: Briefly summarises Vol. 1, and then #20-56 in more detail.
Carney, Sean. “The Tides of History: Alan Moore’s Historiographic Vision.” ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2006, https://imagetextjournal.com/the-tides-of-history-alan-moores-historiographic-vision/.
An analysis of Alan Moore’s approach to time and history in his works. Swamp Thing is discussed in paragraphs 7-10. ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ and subsequent issues are discussed with relation to Moore’s questions of meaningfulness and humanity. Swampy’s response to the Crisis in #50 is discussed with reference to Moore’s recurring themes of the interpretation of reality and creation of meaning.
Scope: Vol. 2 #50, and briefly, #22-24.
Johnson, Brian. “Libidinal Ecologies: Eroticism and Environmentalism in Swamp Thing.” Sexual Ideology in the Works of Alan Moore: Critical Essays on the Graphic Novels, edited by Todd A. Comer and Joseph Michael Sommers, McFarland & Co., 2012, pp. 16-27.
A discussion of the romance aspect of Moore’s run and it’s relationship to the series’ green politics. Johnson argues that Abby and Swamp Thing’s pairing is an allegory for the philosophy of deep ecology, which emphasises the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Their relationship is also a representation of the convergence of feminism and ecological concerns.
Scope: A number of the Moore issues are referenced including #34, #51-53 and #56.
Curtis, Neal. “Symbolic Authority and Kinship.” Sovereignty and Superheroes, Manchester University Press, 2016, pp. 128–52.
Curtis’ book examines the idea of superheroes as sovereigns. This chapter looks at the concept of kinship in comics, which often goes beyond familial relations and includes totemic relationships with animals, plants, or inanimate objects. A large part of the chapter analyses the Wonder Woman story The Hiketeia (with its parallels to Sophocles’ Antigone), specifically the conflict between state law and cultural or familial obligations. Curtis then turns to Swamp Thing for a few pages, discussing Swampy’s relationship to the world of plants, and to Abby (a human). Other characters discussed include the Marvel Family, Animal Man, and the relationship between Vision (a robot) and Scarlet Witch.
Scope: Briefly summarises some of the activities of Swamp Thing during Vol. 2, including Swampy’s conflict with Woodrue (#21-24), romance with Abby (#34, #51-53), and the conception of Tefé (#76).
Ecke, Jochen. “Alan Moore and the American Mode of Practice.” The British Comic Book Invasion: Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and the Evolution of the American Style, McFarland & Co., 2019, pp. 158–199.
This chapter explains how the economic circumstances of the American comic industry led to British comic creators being sought out by the major publishers, and how these circumstances also made Swamp Thing and Watchmen so influential. The author analyses Moore’s Swamp Thing as a nexus narrative, where the role of the protagonist is marginalised and the story is driven by the gradual revealing of the causal links between newly introduced characters (issues #25-26 are used as an example). Later in the series, Swamp Thing is even more of a bystander, and his character is revealed through the perspective of other characters.
Scope: A number of Moore’s issues are mentioned (including #32, #58, #60), with #25-26 analysed in more detail.
Khoury, George. “Capturing the Monster’s Humanity.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 174–181.
John Totleben speaks pretty generally about his long association with the title, which included helping Yeates as artist, then working with Bissette from #16, to working as cover artist as late as #100. He spends a bit of time discussing his early issues and the transition from Pasko to Moore, and also explains the process of creating the collages for ‘Loving The Alien’ (#60).
Scope: Nothing too specific, but chiefly covers from around #16-60.
Van Hise, James. Swamp Thing: Finale. Psi Fi Movie Press, 1987. Critics Choice Files Magazine Spotlight.
Summaries and reviews of the last part of Moore’s run, with a more analytic tone than Cannon who covered the earlier Moore issues.
Scope: Vol. 2 #51-64.
Sandifer, Elizabeth. Last War in Albion. Book One: The Early Work of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Eruditorum Press, 2013, https://www.eruditorumpress.com/last-war-in-albion.
A series of blog posts covering the works of Alan Moore, Grant Morrison and other UK comic creators. Book One, Chapter Eight (which consists of 22 parts) focuses on Swamp Thing, summarising the early Wein/Wrightson work and the Pasko run before concentrating on the Moore issues. It is a detailed history of the title, with much original analysis and interesting diversions into other literature and art. Sandifer details events at DC Comics in the time of Moore’s employ, giving deeper context to the publication history of Moore’s Swamp Thing. The author also provides histories of the other DC characters that Swampy encounters. As good a resource on the Moore issues as you’re likely to find.
Scope: Some Wein/Wrightson issues briefly (especially HOS #92, and ST #1); the Pasko run generally; and then all Moore issues in-depth.
Candelaria, Matthew. “Green Love, Red Sex: The Conflation of the Flora and Flesh in Swamp Thing.” Sexual Ideology in the Works of Alan Moore: Critical Essays on the Graphic Novels, edited by Todd A. Comer and Joseph Michael Sommers, McFarland & Co., 2012, pp. 28-39.
The author argues that, throughout his run on Swamp Thing, Alan Moore sets up a dichotomy between a “Green World” of growth and life and a “Red World” of violence and death. Candelaria points to examples in the written text and illustrations to support his argument that platonic love is aligned with the Green and placed in opposition to the Red world of sex, insects, and destruction. By the end of Moore’s series, the sex of the Red is shown to be able to exist harmoniously within the Green.
Scope: Vol. 2 #21-64.
Ayres, Jackson. “The Saga of the Swamp Thing.” Alan Moore: A Critical Guide, Bloomsbury Academic, 2021, pp. 52–58.
This book tracks the comic book career of Alan Moore; examines his recurring themes and techniques; situates his works within the history of comics; and summarises the critical perspectives on Moore’s comics. The section on Swamp Thing discusses the mixture of genres employed (including elements from horror and science fiction, but incorporating superheroes) and Moore’s use of genre tropes towards social commentary (using ‘The Curse’ as an example). The author then discusses Moore’s exploration of non-human subjectivity, with a leaning towards the utopian and emancipatory possibilities of such a perspective. The section also mentions the influence of the “literary” mixture of genres on the formation of the Vertigo imprint.
Scope: The Moore run in general, with a closer examination of a couple of issues including #40.
Green, Matthew J.A. “‘Everything’s Interconnected’: Anarchy, Ecology and Sexuality in Lost Girls and Swamp Thing.” Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Popular Fantasy: Beyond Boy Wizards and Kick-Ass Chicks, edited by Jude Roberts and Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Routledge, 2016, pp. 97–116.
The author examines Swamp Thing and Lost Girls as works in which Moore uses fantasy to express his real-life political beliefs, including anarchism, environmentalism and particularly sexual freedom, and the interconnectedness of these ideas.
Scope: Mentions #29; #30 and the whole of ‘American Gothic’ arc and the ‘Crisis…’ generally; #34; the plotline involving the arrest and release of Abby, which appears through #47-48 and #51-53; and issue #64.
Millidge, Gary Spencer. “Saga of the Swamp Thing.” Alan Moore: Storyteller, ILEX, 2011, pp. 110–17.
A general overview of Moore’s run, with a few issues briefly mentioned. Accompanied by large colour reproductions of several pages.
Scope: Vol. 2 #20-64, with #21, #32, #34 and the ‘American Gothic’ arc mentioned specifically.
Cabezuelo, Pedro. “Alan Moore.” Blood in Four Colours: A Graphic History of Horror Comics, Marrs Media, 2016, pp. 55–58.
This short article explains Moore’s revision of the character in issue #21; Swamp Thing’s relationship with the Comics Code; and the lasting influence of the comic.
Scope: #21 and #29 specifically, and Moore’s entire run (#20-64) more generally.
Carpenter, Thomas Gregory. “Swamp Thing.” Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: Heroes & Superheroes, edited by Bart H. Beaty and Stephen Weiner, 2nd ed., vol. 2, Salem Press, 2018, pp. 641-46.
The Swamp Thing entry focuses almost solely on the Moore run, with a plot summary and some details about the collected editions. Of most interest are the paragraphs about the elements of the art style and story themes that made Swamp Thing a distinctive and influential title. Finally, there is some brief information about the main characters, the films and television series, and some biographical information about Stephen Bissette.
Scope: Vol. 2 #20-64 in a pretty general sense, with a few specific issues and arcs mentioned briefly.
Parkin, Lance. “Swamp Thing.” Alan Moore, Rev. ed., Pocket Essentials, 2009, pp. 45-51.
Parkin’s biography of Alan Moore includes a section about his time on Swamp Thing. It begins by explaining Moore’s changes to the character in #21 and then describes the rest of the run as being in three phases: the self-contained horror stories; the ‘American Gothic’ arc; and Swampy’s space adventure. He talks about the use of guests from the wider DC Universe (particularly with reference to #24), the series’ influence on the formation of the Vertigo imprint, and its critical and commercial successes. Towards the end of the book, Parkin briefly summarises all of Moore’s Swamp Thing work, mentioning the art teams that he worked with, and including Swampy’s guest appearances and the DC Sampler advertisements. It also provides a history of UK and US trade paperback reissues up to 2009.
Scope: All of the Moore-written issues (#20-64) including guest appearances and other curios.
Khoury, George. “Swamp Daze.” The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore, TwoMorrows, 2003, pp. 83-97.
An interview with Moore about his entire run. He is interviewed about how some of his ideas for the series came about, including the retcon in #21. He also talks about Swamp Thing’s romance with Abby, and about specific issues (e.g. ‘Pog’, ‘Abandoned Houses’) and arcs (e.g. ‘American Gothic’).
Scope: Vol. 2 #20-64.
Hull, Norman, director. Monsters, Maniacs & Moore. Central Independent Television, 1986. YouTube, uploaded by AlanMooreVids, 16 Oct. 2007, Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4
An episode of the Central Independent Television program ‘England Their England’, first broadcast in 1987 and now available on YouTube as 4 videos. There is a lot of Swamp Thing related content, with Moore discussing his run on the series and some of his processes and ideas, often returning to the theme of the relationship between humans and the environment. He reads several passages from his Swamp Thing run, including parts of #23, #26, #53, and #64, and briefly talks about the real articles pictured at the end of the ‘Nukeface’ arc (#36). Moore also discusses Halo Jones, D.R. & Quinch, and Watchmen and there are excerpts from both sides of the Sinister Ducks 7” recording. He talks about his political beliefs generally, and offers a defence from those who criticise his works for being too realistically sexual or violent.
Scope: The entire run in general, but those specifically mentioned or quoted are #23, #26, #36, #53 and #64.
Johnson, Dan. “Bissette and Veitch: Old Monster, New Tricks.” Back Issue, no. 6, Oct. 2004, pp. 48-66.
An interview with Veitch and Bissette about the 2nd series, including information about: Totleben and Bissette’s involvement during the Pasko/Yeates run before eventually signing on to the series formally; Veitch’s involvement during this time; comic community reaction to ‘The Anatomy Lesson’; #29 and the abandonment of the Comics Code; the sources of various character/story ideas throughout the series; Moore’s departure and Veitch taking over; and Veitch’s departure with #88.
Scope: Covers a bit of the Pasko run, the Moore and Veitch runs generally, and with more detailed references to #21, #29, #40, #57, and the cancelled version of #88.
McCabe, Joseph. “Green Giants.” Comic Heroes, Jan.-Feb. 2013, pp. 82-90.
A history of Swamp Thing from the Wein/Wrightson issues, up until the end of the Veitch run. Includes many colour images, and comments and anecdotes by Bissette, Totleben and Veitch. It summarises a number of the Moore arcs. Also included is an article (by James Lovegrove, p. 122) about ‘The Anatomy Lesson’.
Scope: From the origin to #88, with particular attention to Moore’s run and issue #21.
Volume 2 – Post-Moore
Cooke, Jon B. “Roarin’ Rick’s Swamp Sojourn.” Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, special issue of Comic Book Creator, edited by Jon B. Cooke and George Khoury, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 162–173.
Veitch’s interview spans his entire involvement with the series: from assisting Yeates and then Bissette/Totleben with art, to working as a fill-in artist and writer, to becoming the main artist, and then taking over from Moore as writer. He talks more about the styles of artists and writers who worked on the series and less about individual issues he was involved with. However, he goes into lots of detail about the cancellation of issue #88, which led to him quitting the series. Besides giving his account of the way he was treated by DC Comics, he also discusses the media attention surrounding the event. Veitch also briefly explains how the creator credits for the ‘Constantine’ film were worked out.
The interview is accompanied by several inked and lettered pages from the unpublished issue ‘Morning of the Magician’.
Scope: Briefly covers many issues of Vol. 2, but goes into more depth about his time as writer (#65-88).
Baisden, Greg. “Rick Veitch Quits Swamp Thing.” The Comics Journal, no. 129, May 1989, pp. 7-11.
Details Veitch’s resignation from Swamp Thing when the almost-completed issue #88 was refused publication by DC Comics, and goes into some of the corporate politics surrounding the publisher’s decision. There is a synopsis of the rejected issue, some statements from Veitch and illustrator Michael Zulli, and a discussion of the religious imagery found in other contemporary DC comics issues (and also notes some of the violent and misogynistic content that was published without a problem).
Baisden, Greg, and Hal Hargitt. “Swamp Thing Cancellation Begets Protest, Media Attention.” The Comics Journal, no. 130, July 1989, pp. 28-29.
Follows on from the article in CJ #129, with some information about the ensuing press coverage and fan response, and ending with a brief announcement of the replacement creative team.
Veitch, Rick. “An Open Letter to the Readers of ‘Swamp Thing’.” Comics Buyer’s Guide, no. 803, Apr. 1989, pp. 20+.
A long statement from Veitch about his decision to quit. Aside from this, there are a few other relevant articles in this issue:
– “DC rejects Veitch’s ‘Swamp Thing’ 88; Rick Veitch resigns as title’s writer” (no author, pp. 1+) is a news article that includes a couple of nice Zulli preliminary sketches.
– “What would have happened in ‘Swamp Thing’ #89-92” (Rick Veitch, p. 20) details what Veitch had planned for the remainder of his run.
– “Comics guide” (Don Thompson, pp. 20+) summarises the cancelled issue based on the script and what was finished of the art.
Scope: The unpublished Veitch issues, #88-92.
McPherson, Darwin. “Veitch Speaks: From Swamp to Sewer.” AmazingHeroes, no. 171, Sept. 1989, pp. 24-33.
An interview with Rick Veitch about his run on Swamp Thing and on working with Alan Moore. It also provides some biographical information. There are a couple of pages about the issue #88 cancellation and Veitch’s subsequent resignation, but it is basically rehashing what was said in The Comics Journal and Comics Buyer’s Guide news articles.
Scope: The whole of Veitch’s involvement, but nothing specific except #88.
Hornaday, Cole. “In Magician’s Mysterious Sleeves: Rick Veitch And the Censoring of Swamp Thing.” HollandFiles, vol. 1, no. 5, winter 2021, pp. 6–12.
Another summation of the events surrounding the cancellation of Swamp Thing #88. This article also presents a detailed summary of the unpublished issue, and includes thoughts from Veitch sourced from more contemporary interviews.
Scope: Primarily #88, with brief mention of Veitch’s earlier issues (#65-).
Pinkham, Jeremy. “Rick Veitch.” The Comics Journal, no. 175, Mar. 1995, pp. 52+.
A long and interesting interview with Rick Veitch in which he describes his early life and career, including his time at the Kubert school and his experiences of creating work with different publishers. Not a lot of the article is devoted to Swamp Thing, but Veitch describes: his impressions of the issue #21 script; working with Moore and Bissette; becoming a fill-in artist and then writer; and DC’s interference with creative decisions culminating in his leaving the series. He briefly mentions on unrealised idea by Moore for a final Swamp Thing story where Abby dies. Also available online: Part 1 & Part 2.
Scope: Nothing too specific is discussed but generally covers the Moore and Veitch eras.
Khoury, George, and Bob McLeod. “Interview: Thomas Yeates.” Rough Stuff, no. 11, June 2009, pp. 64-83.
An interview with Yeates about his career, with a focus on his Swamp Thing work from around pp. 71-82. Yeates speaks about the problems faced during the Pasko run; the handover of the work to Totleben and Bissette; and about issues he illustrated or inked during the Moore, Veitch, Wheeler and Collins eras. Includes some previously unpublished art.
Scope: Various issues throughout the 2nd series are mentioned (Yeates worked on several between #1 and #112), but he goes into more detail about #1-13 and #86-89.
Thomas Yeates Comic and Illustrator Interview Sac Con 2012. Crippled and Broken, 2012. YouTube., uploaded by Phobophobiatv, 31 July 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwNakIz1XQ8.
An interview with Thomas Yeates, originally uploaded by the online video blog ‘Crippled and Broken’. Yeates speaks about getting offered the job to work with Martin Pasko on the relaunch of Swamp Thing. He describes what Len Wein was like as an editor and explains how he and Pasko worked together, reminiscing about working on the covers and the first few issues. He mentions that Bob Hardin helped him to meet deadlines, and explains that he handed over the job to his friends Stephen Bissette and John Totleben when he left the book. Yeates also talks about the Veitch and Wheeler issues that he was involved in later on, and recalls his favourite stories.
Scope: Mostly mentions the first few Pasko issues (#1-3) and the transitional issues between Vietch and Wheeler (#86-89).
Lang, Jeff. “New Kid in the Swamp: An Interview with Swamp Thing’s Doug Wheeler.” Amazing Heroes, no. 182, Aug. 1990, pp. 42–47.
An interview with Doug Wheeler that takes place about a year into his run. Wheeler talks about taking over from Veitch, expressing his initial reservations about this, and describing the reactions from the public and colleagues. He also explains his approach to ending the time travel arc, and about building upon other elements of the Swamp Thing canon.
Scope: From issue #88 until roughly #100, which hadn’t yet been published when the interview took place.
Key, Jonathan. “Swamped.” Skeleton Crew, no. 3, Sept. 1990, pp. 22–29.
A somewhat critical history of the title and the character, from House of Secrets #92 up until the current author Doug Wheeler, but spending the most time on the Moore run. Key also discusses the functions of the main characters. The article is accompanied by several sketches and uncoloured art, while the cover of the magazine features a great Swamp Thing portrait by John Bolton.
Scope: The Wein/Wrightson and Pasko eras are mentioned only briefly, while several specific issues and arcs of the Moore run are discussed, and Veitch and Wheeler runs are written about more generally.
Wagner, Hank, et al. Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman. St. Martin’s Press, 2008.
This book gives background information and plot details of many of Neil Gaiman’s stories.
– The section “Black Orchid (1988)” (pp. 181-187) provides plot and concept information about the 3-part miniseries. Besides detailing Swamp Thing and Alec Holland’s involvement in these stories, it provides further information about Gaiman’s plans had he taken over Swamp Thing after Veitch.
– This section is followed directly by “Notes Towards a Vegetable Theology” (pp. 187-192), which is an essay by Gaiman detailing his plans to unite the stories of DC’s plant-related characters into a cohesive mythology. This essay was written in the late 1980s, and this is the first time it has been published.
– Finally, there is a section titled “Neil Gaiman’s Midnight Days (1999)” (pp. 255-263) with background and plot information about the comics within that compilation, which included the previously unreleased ‘Jack In The Green’ story, and two stories from Swamp Thing Annual #5.
Scope: Annual #5, the guest appearance in Black Orchid, and just generally about Gaiman’s plans for Swamp Thing had he taken over the series.
Anderson, Randi. “Sowing the Seeds of Yggdrasil: The Old Norse Roots of Doug Wheeler’s Swamp Thing.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 4, winter 2020, pp. 4–19.
The author examines how Doug Wheeler borrows from Norse mythology throughout his run, with Swamp Thing representing Odin, the battle between Green and Grey representing Ragnarök, and other characters (such as Yggdrasil, Bifa and Matango) having parallels in medieval texts.
Scope: Much of the Wheeler run (#88-109).
Kieffer, Bill. “Nancy Collins.” David Anthony Kraft’s Comics Interview, no. 102, 1991, pp. 4–13.
An interview with Nancy Collins that begins with some brief information about her writing career and quickly moves onto Swamp Thing. Collins explains her ideas for the series, with many references to Southern folklore. She discusses her ideas about the characters and their relationships, mentioning a few that had yet to see publication including couple Carl and Troy, and the as-yet-unnamed Lady Jane. Some covers are reprinted, as are several pencilled panels.
Scope: Annual #6 and #110-117, some of which had not yet been published.
Johnson, Kim Howard. “New Anatomy Lessons.” Comics Scene, no. 28, Aug. 1992, pp. 51-54.
An interview with Nancy Collins about her approach to Swamp Thing and plans for the series. Interview conducted around the time of #120.
Scope: Roughly covers #110-125.
Boylan, John. “Nancy Collins Has Great Stories.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 1, winter 2017, pp. 22–29.
A short interview with Nancy Collins about her run on Swamp Thing. She discusses the characters, her influences, and provides some trivia.
Scope: The Collins run in general (#110-138).
Handley, Rich. “Nancy Collins on Exploring Cajun Culture and Breaking up Swamp Thing’s Family.” Hasslein Blog, Hasslein Books, 3 Feb. 2013, http://hassleinbooks.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/nancy-collins-on-channeling-cajun.html.
An interview with Nancy Collins about getting to work on Swamp Thing, some of the themes she explored and the inspiration for her ideas. She also mentions an idea for a mini series involving Swamp Thing that was never completed.
Scope: The Collins run in general (#110-138).
“Nancy Collins’ ‘Swamp Thing’.” Deconstructing Comics, 30 Mar. 2022, https://deconstructingcomics.com/?p=7808.
The two presenters have a thoughtful discussion about the Nancy Collins run, touching on how the characters and their relationships were developed by Collins. They also point out the references to other Swamp Thing issues, to the wider Vertigo universe, and to contemporaneous cultural and political circumstances.
Scope: The Collins run in general (#110-138).
Bongiorno, Joe. “An Interview with Nancy Collins.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 3, winter 2019, pp. 11–17.
A short interview with Nancy Collins, mostly giving her opinion and insight about other writers and illustrators who contributed to Swamp Thing. This interview is immediately followed by a proposal submitted to Vertigo editor Axel Alonso, outlining a plot for a third year of Collins’ Swamp Thing run. Ultimately, Collins’ run finished at the end of her two year contract, but these additional issues would have explored the magical powers of the Arcanes and depicted various parties vying for control of Tefé, including Swamp Thing’s “son” produced by his coupling with Lady Jane.
Scope: Mostly about unpublished issues that would have immediately succeeded #138.
Smith, Colin. “Shameless? The Super-Hero Comics of Mark Millar.” Sequart, 5 March 2013, http://sequart.org/magazine/19425/shameless-the-super-hero-comics-of-mark-millar-an-introduction/.
A series of blog posts covering the work of Mark Millar. From p. 56, Smith begins his discussion on the Millar issues of Swamp Thing, incorporating the collaborative issues with Grant Morrison and referencing Moore’s run at various points. The analysis of Swamp Thing concludes on p. 79.
Scope: Vol. 2 #140-171.
Volume 3 and onwards
Ellis, Jonathan. “Interview: Andy Diggle.” PopImage, Feb. 2004, https://web.archive.org/web/20040315181144/http://www.popimage.com/content/viewnews.cgi?newsid1078064702,61497,.
A short interview with Andy Diggle about his upcoming Swamp Thing series, with Diggle summarising the story and characters to date and broadly explaining his ideas for the future. The last two-thirds of the interview is about the other projects he is involved in, particularly The Losers.
Scope: The Diggle run (Vol. 4 #1-6) generally.
Boylan, John. “A Moment with Joshua Dysart.” Holland Files, vol. 1, no. 2, winter 2018, pp. 71–72.
A brief interview with Joshua Dysart, mostly about his long relationship to Swamp Thing and the influence of the Wein/Wrightson run.
Scope: General biographical information about Dysart.
Olsza, Małgorzata. “Comics in the Anthropocene: Graphic Narratives of Apocalypse, Regeneration and Warning.” Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, no. 12, Nov. 2022, pp. 51–68, https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.12.03.
This article compares the way that 3 comics (Joe Sacco’s Paying The Land, Snyder/Paquette’s Swamp Thing run, and Richard McGuire’s Here) present alternate narratives about the Anthropocene, and comments on how temporality is expressed both narratively and formally in these texts. Swamp Thing presents an environmentally apocalyptic narrative as an action-driven fight between good and evil, which diminishes the responsibility of humans. It is also a story of ecological reconciliation and regeneration as Swamp Thing embodies both humanity and nature. Swamp Thing’s perception of time deepens as he inherits the memories of the Green, and the narrative highlights how slow changes in human terms can be regarded as an instantaneous event from the perspective of the natural world.
Scope: Vaguely describes the overall plot of the Snyder issues (#1-18 of Vol. 5), with mention also of Paquette’s layouts.
Burns, Andy. “The Making of a Bog Monster.” Rue Morgue, no. 169, Aug. 2016, pp. 16–22.
A short interview with Wein about the origins of the Swamp Thing comic and the process of creating the first series. Wein then talks about his involvement in the 2016 series and some of the ideas behind it. Breaking up this article are a few smaller pieces, also by Andy Burns:
– “The Muck-Man Cometh” is an article about Kelley Jones, with some quotes about his history with Swamp Thing as both a fan and then an illustrator (in 1990 and 2016). He talks about Wrightson as an inspiration and explains what he has learned about illustration from the early issues of Swamp Thing.
– “Twisted Roots” details Charles Soule’s involvement in Vol. 5, with a brief summary and quotes from the author.
– “Swamp Thing: The Dead Don’t Sleep” is a review of the 2016 series.
Scope: House of Secrets #92 and Wein’s 70s issues generally; Alan Moore’s run is mentioned; Charles Soule’s run (#19-40 of Vol. 5); and the 2016 mini-series.
Ray, Steve J. “DCN Exclusive Interview: Ram V.” DC Comics News, 20 Nov. 2021, https://dccomicsnews.com/2021/11/20/dcn-exclusive-interview-ram-v/.
An interview with Ram V. Topics include: how he became the writer for Swamp Thing; the influence of classic 1990s Vertigo comics on his run; his approach to horror; and what is planned for Swamp Thing in 2022.
Scope: The Ram V run (Vol. 7) generally, with the interview conducted at around the time issue #9 was released.
Film & Television
References are listed on the relevant film or television series page. See the ‘Film & TV’ section of the main menu.