Seduction of the Innocent: Gruesome Magazine’s Horror Comic Reviews
Swamp Thing #1 – DC
Hello, all you Grue-believers out there! Your old buddy Chad here to welcome you to an all new Gruesome Magazine segment lovingly called Seduction of the Innocent! If you don’t get the reference, just Google it. (Suck it, Wertham!)
Our goal here is to bring you the best in horror comics by way of reviews and recommendations. And hopefully, I’ll be able to bring attention to some blasts from the past as well.
Another goal is to expose horror fans who may not read comics to some new ways to get their scare fix.
I love comics. Always have, always will. Comics taught me to read as a child, inspired me as a teenager, and drawing them for a living as an adult. So, they’ve always been a big part of my life. I’m a big fan of of almost all comics, including superheroes, but my roots are nestled firmly in the horror comic genre. And I want to share that with you guys. And feel free to share with me as well! Let me know what you guys are reading horror-wise, and we can discuss it right here!
Now, on with the show!
SWAMP THING #1
Written by Len Wein. Art by Kelley Jones
When I first saw this series was coming out, I think I actually started slobbering. But let’s go back in time a bit. I’m very much a child of the ’70’s. At the young age of seven, I was already deep into the horror game. Peter Cushing and all his Hammer cohorts, Kolchak the Night Stalker, and Legend of Boggy Creek. I was particularly fascinated with swamp creatures and the like.
Rummaging through an old box of comics at a thrift store one day, I happened upon a comic that would literally shape the way I saw horror comics from then on out. Swamp Thing number one. (1972). I literally had the feeling that this was the horror comic I’d waited for all my life. The incredible art of Bernie Wrightson’s Swamp Thing rising from the swamp to the chagrin of the criminal type menacing a damsel in distress just leaped out at me. I plunked down my shiny two dimes immediately. I took this comic home and devoured every word and every beautiful drawing again and again. (Still have it.)
Swamp Thing‘s story involves a man called Alec Holland, who invents a bio restorative formula that could make plants more aggressive and grow anywhere, making famine a thing of the past. Of course, greed and general no-goodness come to play, when a mysterious man who wants the formula for himself has his agents blow up Holland’s lab with him it. Covered in the burning formula, Holland seeks relief by diving into the nearby swamp to put out the flames. A humanoid, hulking figure emerges soon after. Swamp Thing!
Swampy went through many changes over the years, all of which I’m a fan of, but those original stories by Wein and Wrightson were my favorites.
This week, I’m happy to say Swamp Thing is back in a new series by original co-creator LenWein. With art by the great Kelley Jones.
This first issue is absolutely amazing. Old school horror comics at its finest, yet still has a contemporary feel to it. It took me right back to when I was reading that first issue all those years ago. In other words, they don’t make ’em like this anymore, folks.
Wein weaves a tale of a couple who come to the swamp actually looking for to help them find their son, who has volunteered for a weird experiment that leaves him a little……changed. And when Swampy encounters him, well, what he finds is a little more than he bargained for.
Kelley Jones. Kelley Jones. Kelley Jones. If there is one artist who was born to do this book, it is Kelley. The true heir to Bernie Wrightson if there ever was one. In future articles, you will hear me talk about how the artist for a horror book needs to know how to set mood and shadow. And Kelley knows in spades how to do it. Horrific imagery, sometimes very disturbing, sometimes very humorous. But always affecting. This is a beautifully illustrated book. Some of his best work yet in my opinion.
I highly recommend this to any long time Swamp Thing fan and especially new readers. This is the first issue in a six issue series,and it has me hooked. Just came out this week at your local shop and digitally. Go get it and come back here to talk about it!
Swamp Thing #1: The Dead Don’t Sleep.
I’m happily giving this one (4.5 / 5) Bumps in the Night.