Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Len Wein is Back!!

Well well well...

I was already pretty stoked for DC's CONVERGENCE, if only for the fact that it isn't the New 52.
Sorry - that sounded mighty negative ...instead I'll say that it will be wonderful to see a LEN WEIN Swamp Thing story again - that's right - THE CREATOR OF SWAMP THING HAS WRITTEN A NEW STORY.
It's been a long time, and having met the man I can say he's as nice a cat as you'd hope - humble, cool and funny - fact is, it's a dream to have him on Swampy again...

and just to put this in perspective...

Yes, it would be nice to have Bernie Wrightson back but in a nice allusion to his extraordinary style Kelley Jones will handle the art chores, and I couldn't think of a better "relief-pitcher".
The Return of Swamp Thing's Papa

Kelley's 1st ...not bad
This isn't his first time drawing Swampy but I bet it will be the best. Len Wein just seems to have that effect on people, and this "event" already seems to have a really good energy - there's a lot of anticipation and a lot of online chatter.

As a frustrated long term fan of this particular publishing company, I think they've lost a few of the old-time-readers with the ultra-confusing New 52 and Convergence may just be what DC comic fans really need right now.
I have no doubt this'll be a very enjoyable read - BIG thanks to those smart enough to bring it together.

Now, you go right out and get the latest issue of Swamp Thing so we can talk all about it.

But you'll have to wait a couple months for this issue - it'll be worth it.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014


It's funny - some people "get it" and some don't.
Charles Soule is a smart cat, and his grasp of Swamp Thing storytelling is just getting better and better.
This issue is part of DC's "Future's End" stories, which left me trepidatious to say the least - most of both DC and Marvel's "event series" are usually messy junk, with even junkier tie-in-stories. Not here - this is an excellent issue that has a mission, much like the one Swampy is on within, to deliver a final solid punch to one long standing Swamp Thing storyline, and I LOVED it. The last page/panel of this book is goddamned gorgeous, and you can feel it's link all the way back to "Rite of Spring" from Swampy's #34 in the '80s - arguably the single most beautiful story of Swamp Thing's incredible history.

This was one of the few Futures End one-shots to read like a natural extension of the main series. It's so nice to have a writer who obviously cares, and to see Charles Soule building connections to both that issue and the recent Annuals #2 and #3 - everything is coming together as we build up the conflict between Swamp Thing and the Machine Kingdom and moves toward what is presumably the climax of Soule's run. It's shaping up to be the most solid and memorable storyline since the series began in the New 52.

The Machines make for an excellent addition to Swamp Thing's growing rogues gallery, and Soule gives the mechanical creations a distinctive voice and tone so that they both fit in naturally with the concepts of the Green, Red, Rt, etc. and also feel like a wholly unique faction. None of this feels forced or derivative - the two elements so many other writers just couldn't get around.

Jesuz Saiz does a great job of bringing the Machine Kingdom to life. Their clean, elegant, orderly designs(iSwampThing) clash with the organic power of our hero and his allies. He brings a great sense of mood and emotion to every page in addition to the impressive level of detail - very stylish artist, without being too showy.
Again, the art and story mesh perfectly, and I'll never tire of Saiz's amazing visuals - honestly the best Swamp Thing has looked since Bissette and Tottleben. He does a great job of bringing the Machine Kingdom to life - with their clean, elegant, orderly designs clashing nicely with the organic beauty of Swamp Thing and his world. Saiz brings a great sense of mood and emotion to every page in addition to the impressive level of detail.

I do miss the fog/mist of '80s Swampy, but that's just nitpicking really. Maybe he just needs to go deeper into the swamp.

This issue also finds Soule tackling the long-awaited reunion between Swamp Thing and Abigail Arcane. It's a mature and heartfelt acceptance of two lovers doomed by fate and circumstance to remain forever apart. It feels worthy of the best stories it took to get to this point and Soule does a great job of capturing their emotional bond and the sadness that comes from their newfound distance. The book takes on a new level of emotional resonance in embracing it's own tragic history. Swamp Thing met Abigail Arcane in 1972 - that's a long time, and this is a beautiful end.

This mix of fantastical adventure with very grounded human drama gives Swamp Thing its true appeal, and it's something Charles Soule is really good at. I'll miss him a lot when he leaves, but I'll wish him well and thank him.

You should be reading this book.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

REVIEW: Swamp Thing #34 Oct//2014

"The Wolf and the Lady: Pt.2"

Really good issue, and(without ruining anything) a good wrap-up to that particular ongoing story I would call the "Lady Weeds" saga. It was great, and as I've been saying - the supporting cast is really strong and it's a smart way to be doing the comic.
This issue is gorgeous art-wise with a story that reads like a good movie. Action - love- death - and I did not see that end coming. Again - love Cappucine, and would love to see back-up stories in Swampy like they used to do with The Phantom Stranger way back. And boy can Javier Saiz ever draw Swamp Thing - really groovy facial expressions - excellent figures and heroic action that feels like Swamp Thing directed by Steven Spielberg or something - just a bloody good comic book. I will confess that I was sad to see a certain someone go ...such as it is when you start really liking the supporting players - ahh, well - I respect a writer with the balls to kill good characters.

It's been since Chester and Liz in the swamp that anyone has created a new world for the Swamp Thing that I've given a shit about. From the Moore days on too many writers have felt they needed to be messing with the character constantly and it is mighty refreshing to be reading actual storytelling again - I dig it.
This is another Charles Soule issue that feels like a comic book - a good comic book, which is strong art and a page-turner of a story. comic book character, not some deeply soulful demigod who loses his wife and child - ugh.
The '80s run had evolved into very much a Vertigo book with each subsequent offering just that much closer but, with the character having been definitively put back into the DCU as a "comic book", it is extremely fun to see him written as a
Soule isn't trying to emulate Alan Moore or redefine Swamp Thing - he's trying to entertain - to create some stories we've never read before and it is truly the best the comic has been in decades.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

REVIEW: Swamp Thing #33 Sept//2014

"The Wolf and the Lady: Pt.1"

I am loving Swamp Thing again.
"Holy shit, I look good today."
I think Charles Soule and Javier Pina are an incredible team, and are finally putting out a comic book truly worthy of it's title. We have an extremely interesting supporting cast, and a storyline that is not only engaging but well-paced too. I care about Cappucine, and I'm intrigued by "The Wolf" and "Lady Weeds" while scared of what they might do to poor Swampy.
This Alec Holland Swamp Thing is a different cat than we've seen before - or is he?
I find the character to be closest to the version Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson created. He's sarcastic, emotional and occasionally naive - having not actually done any of this before, and he's making for such an interesting hero. I adore this character more than any other fictional character ever created, but even I was getting tired of the heavy-handed-eternal-avatar persona. I like this new Swamp Thing a lot and what a pleasure to see him under the pencil of Javier Pina...

Now don't get me wrong - I still HATE the f'ed up continuity of DC's New 52, but this is truly the best Swamp Thing comic book since the glory days in the '80s.

Swamp Thing #33 will most likely have the same effect on you it had on me - where's #34?

Cheers, AC

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Study in Swamp Thing

Got up early - decided to draw a picture of myself thanking all of those who wished me a happy birthday a couple days ago..
..drew this instead.

In case you can't tell, I'm not a professional artist.

But I have always enjoyed drawing Swampy - he's very open to artistic interpretation.

Fact is - I've wanted to get a Swamp Thing tattoo for years but I just can't settle on an image.

I might bring a good representative variety of his comic books to my tattoo artist(when I find one) and get him to design one.

Or maybe I'll get my courage up to ask Steve Bissette - we'll see we'll see..


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Swamp Thing - The Motion Picture(1982)

My love for this film only increases every time I kick back and fire up the ol' VCR.
It's not a great movie, don't get me wrong. I'm a filmmaker, and I can see the low-budget decisions and "who cares?" compromises that left it what it is..
But...  I like the goofy B-Movie that we did get. I like the tone of it, and it's earnest intentions. Then there's Adrienne Barbeau. I grew up in the 70's with Maude, and I love Adrienne Barbeau.
"I should rub those - you'll feel better.."

Back to the movie, it was some thrill for me as an eleven year-old boy, who had just discovered his new favorite comic book character(#1 of Saga of the Swamp Thing), to discover he had his own movie too. Keep in mind, this was 1982, and at this point, not even Batman had a movie(that took him seriously), leaving Swamp Thing and Superman as the two DC comic characters with films. By it's simple fact of existing, it was pretty special. Then we watched it - sure it's got bad decisions, goofy writing, and a whole ton of reasons not to like it but how could we not like it? It was a Swamp Thing movie, for better or worse - and we just loved it. My buddy Bill Murphy and my brother Pad and I all watched it together - damn fun day, with giddy laughs and mad love for Adrienne Barbeau's "Cable". I was sad ARCANE wasn't an evil old man but Louis Jordan's presence does make it deliciously "B", as movies go. At least he's European.

Only as an adult did I understand the decision to change Linda Holland to a sister, and Cable to a female love interest. It works for me now, and the movie is ultimately another version of Beauty and the Beast. That's cool.
We even liked the rubber suit. Yup.
"I think I look great, and you can all fuck yourselves."
Sure it's wrinkly and obvious a couple times but that's Swamp Thing running around - and in a real swamp!! The cinematography is actually pretty good, and some of the far-off scenes of Swamp Thing roaming the shadowy bayou are really impressive. It's just fun to think of Wes Craven and his gang fighting to get great shots of that rubber suit by day - I wish I could go back in time and join the shooting crew. I bet they cursed a lot, and laugh plenty looking back.
I'll watch the sequel again soon, but that one's a trickier sell, even for this Swampy-Super-Fan.

Swamp Thing's co-creator, Len Wein has written a really cool reboot film script, and if the property ever escapes development hell, it'd be a blast to see him up there for a third time. I had a great chat with him in New York about the script, and do really hope it happens, as it could generate a new TV show or groovy sequels.
I see a lot of CGI in any future Swampy iteration - which might be bloody amazing, but I do love my cheapy analog mockery of a man movie. It takes me back to boyhood, and a very different filmmaking climate.

Simply put, Swamp Thing is a really charming little monster movie. You'll smile if you watch it - trust me.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Justice League of Bloggers - Steve Garcia's SWAMP THING: "Creation"

Today TWENTY-TWO Bloggers have come together to bring your attention to the work of a brilliant artist - Steve Garcia.
I love good clean design - strong lines and silhouettes are an instant moment of recognition, and a cleverly simple way to present a visual character.
Swamp Thing is a messy vision and whereas a lot of Swampy art has been down and dirty ..mucky wet marshes and rotting monsters, SG takes his shape and makes it clean and perfect, while maintaining the "muck encrusted mockery".

There's a nobility in the work - like Alex Ross' best stuff, but this is more accessible. I love his style, and not just for comic book characters either - he is incredibly talented(Go to his site below) and an inspiration for someone like myself who makes movies - very visual movies. Fact is, creation is my singular raison d'ĂȘtre, and I'm happy Mr.Garcia attached that word to my green friend.

Tell me that wouldn't make a brilliant teaser film poster(in 50 shades of green, of course) - Love it, and I just want to say Thanks to Steve Garcia for the obviously affecting work, and Shag Mathews for bringing us all together again.

These CROSS-BLOG-ADVENTURES are a lot of fun, and here's the full gang of us JUSTICE LEAGUE OF BLOGGERS celebrating the work of one really groovy artist.

Can't forget about these cool "Posts from the Past" on Steve Garcia too - good stuff, and well worth a look...

And one last thing - Go check out his page on DeviantArt, and just try not to drool too much...


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Swampy and the New 52 - Yay or Nay?

Well, it's been over 2 years since DC ripped up it's continuity and started everything over ..almost.

I got the impression at the time that DC had not really planned the New 52 as exhaustively as they should have, and two years in it feels like fact.
I'm really enjoying Swamp Thing as a monthly and as a comic book again - it was sad to watch so many artists and writers, in the various series since the 80's, trying to recapture that magic that had its day.

The book is a blast, but it's that damn continuity that messes it all up. Why is an Alec Holland SwampThing dealing with a young Jason Woodrue when Moore's Swamp Thing battled an older version 3 decades back?
Why did Batman, Green Lantern, Swampy and only a handful more KEEP their old continuity, when all of the supporting players would not?
My problem while reading these issues(and I'm about to sound like a codger) is that none of it makes any sense. DC's world is an effing disaster, and I finally can say that I wish they would scrap the New 52 - no offense to Swampy and the creators making the comic - I love it, and will continue to buy it - I just wish I knew what the hell DC is thinking - where is it going, and is there a solve?
Maybe we need another earth for continuity, or have DC simply abandoned the one thing they sooo embraced all these years?

We will see.
Sadly, my vote at this point is NAY.