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August 12, 2007



Oh my God, I was totally unprepared for Moore's Swamp Thing when I tried to pick it up at the tender age of 13. It disturbed me terribly.

Thankfully, I read those stories either in trade format or through Vertigo's black and white "absolute" reprints. And yeah, there's nothing like it. Great page you posted.

Mark Engblom

Heck, I was eighteen when I read it, and I was creeped out as well! One of Moore's creepiest is still the "Monkey King" story just a few months back in issue #26.

Tom Richmond

Ahhhh. That was one of the runs I went in search of after Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" dragged me screaming back into the world of comics in 1986. Moore's stories scared the crap out of you, and Bissette/Totleben's art were perfect matches. I think this is the most amazing reinvention of a comic book character in comic's history. Miller's take on Batman was revolutionary in it's own way, but he had a good character to work with. Swamp Thing had always been one of those also-ran characters that never really worked. Moore turned him into a highlight of the comic medium.

That series got me looking for other Moore work, and the discovery of "Miracleman" (aka "Marvelman" in the U.K.). Another masterpiece of reinvention.

Mark Engblom

Hi Tom! Yeah, I remember the impact the Moore stories had on you back then. He certainly kicked down the door to the trend of good writers "rescuing" so-called "lame" characters. Though there are still a handful of characters nobody can make entertaining or interesting, the trend of 2nd and 3rd tier characters finding an audience certainly proves the old saying "there's no such thing as bad characters in the hands of a good writer". Taking a look around at the current comics market confirms that notion, as an astounding number of obscure Marvel and DC charcters have found new life in the hands of today's most creative writers and artists (such as DC's recent "52" series and stuff like Marvel's "Annihilation", which highlights their long-neglected space-faring cosmic characters). In every sense, they're carrying on the legacy started by our old pal Alan Moore, who was one of the first creators to ask "why CAN'T Swamp Thing be cool?"

Tom Richmond

Moore's knack for reinventing musty or lame characters did get copied a lot... for good and ill. The Grant Morrison "Animal Man" reboot never resonated with me. That seems to follow the lame character + dark, adult themes = revival formula. A lot of characters got the "Dark Knight" treatment after Moore and Miller did it so successfully.

BTW, I still have the copy of "The Watchmen" soft cover you gave me for being a groomsman in your wedding. It's dog-eared, much read and well loved.

Mark Engblom

Glad you've enjoyed it so much over the years. I recently bought an oversized "Absolute Edition" DC came out with last year. The art is closer to original size and it's been recolored in places by Dave Gibbons himself (such as more of a "comic booky" screen pattern added to the pirate sequences to aid in the shift of context). They also included some modest "extras" (the usual behind-the-scenes type stuff). If you're looking for a better copy that your beat-up paperback, you might want to consider this one. I believe they've also got an Absolute edition of the original Dark Knight Returns.

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