Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Saga Of The Swamp Thing #21

It's that time again.  Time for a another comic book history lesson.

Since I've seriously curtailed my new comic book purchases I thought it would be interesting and informative to go back over the last few decades and write about certain comic books that changed people's perceptions of comic books, pivotal moments and first appearances of key characters.

Back in the early 1980s DC Comics'  bigwigs decided that they needed some new blood and talent to shake up DC's titles and boost sales.

One of the key factors was to travel to the British Isles and draft a whole slew of new writers.  Alan Moore was one of those.

Moore had garnered a name for himself with his stories in British comic books.  His quirky, insightful and unique scripts were just the thing DC Comics needed.

Moore accepted DC's offer and after a few random stories he was offered the writing reins on The Sage Of the Swamp Thing beginning with issue #19.

Issues 19 and 20 saw Moore getting his creative writing feet under him-sort of feeling out the character and then came issue #21!

In that one issue Moore set the entire world of The Swamp Thing on its collective ear and totally shocked the comic book fan base as well as many of the professional employed by DC, Marvel and a handful of other publishers.

In the story a captured, and supposedly dead Swamp Thing has been taken back to a laboratory for study by Dr. Woodrue (astute comic book collector's should recognize that name).

While there The Swamp Thing's body is frozen, preventing it from defrosting and springing back to life.

In an orchestrated 'accident' The Swamp Thing revives and discovers that it is not a man who turned into a plant but a plant that thought it was a man!

For years it was thought that Dr. Alex Holland's consciousness had been transferred to swamp plants after his body was consumed in flames and chemicals that somehow let the transference happen.

When The Swamp Thing discovered who he really was, his reaction was not pleasant, especially toward the man who was responsible for his capture.

After issue #21 hit the stands and the fan base and comic book creators took notice, a notable change occurred in the quality of stories found in comic books. 

Other British writers were drafted and encouraged to follow their own muse and before long an entire industry changed.

Moore would later go on to write his ground-breaking Watchmen series, several key DC issues, his own imprint: America's Best Comics, and successfully pave the way for the 'Dark Age' of comic books along with his fellow British scribes and another writer/artist who managed to shake things up: Frank Miller.