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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Swamp Thing Key Issue Comics Part 3

We definitely see quite a bit more exciting Swamp Thing keys in terms of possible comic investments. In Part 2, we left off with Alan Moore's 1st Swamp Thing work, and now we'll be seeing some of the contributions he made to the character.

Quite a few of these are over-looked Swamp Thing key issue comics worth snagging from a comic investment vantage. They haven't quite fully caught on in the market with the exception of one most definitely.

So click this Part 2 link if you missed it, or scroll down to see more Swamp Thing key issues in Part 3 of this series. Enjoy!

New origin
Death of General Sunderland
2nd Alan Moore Swamp Thing

This may be the 2nd Alan Moore Swamp Thing work or script, but here's where he changes things around that I've been talking about prior. So, before it was thought that Alec Holland had transformed into the monstrous Swamp Thing.

Not so much according to Alan Moore's tweak. Swamp Thing #21 tells a new origin for both Alec Holland and the creature known as the Swamp Thing. Instead of being one entity, they are in fact two.

Swamp Thing is truly a monster, and somehow after Alec Holland's death, he absorbed Holland's psyche. This is found out when General Sunderland arranges for Jason Woodrue, also known as the Floronic Man, to examine the captured Swamp Thing in this very issue.

Sure, General Sunderland does die in this issue, but no big deal since the fool ends up returning as something or someone else. Moore does bring the Sunderland Corporation back into the forefront of Swamp Thing enemies during his tenure on the comic series, and this is an over-looked key issue over-all (over-all market) currently. CGC 9.8s are still selling under the $200 mark, meaning it's not that highly sought after for a pretty important key.

If Alan Moore's 1st Swamp Thing work is starting to get recognized by fans as a possible comic investment, this new origin that totally establishes Alan Moore's take on the Swamp Thing should be on that want list as well. Swamp Thing #21 volume 2 has the cover date of February, 1984.

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1st cameo of John Constantine

Before Swamp Thing #37, John Constantine was supposedly shown in one panel in this issue. He was shown unnamed or unidentified, but the industry recognizes Swamp Thing #25 as a cameo and not a brief appearance.

However, some fans are toting this as Constantine's first appearance, and this issue in the future may be recognized as a first brief appearance. It also may not be as well.

Those in the industry need to clarify what constitutes the difference between first appearances for comic books or comic fans will continue to perpetuate misinformation about them and spread what they believe should be a first appearance.

When I first wrote about this, it was not yet determined whether this was truly a cameo or not. Some just thought that it was a panel with Sting in it since Constantine is modeled off the singer.

However, Overstreet does now note it as a 1st cameo of Constantine. So, whether or not you agree or disagree, it is what it is and people are snagging up this book.

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1st full appearance of John Constantine
1st appearance of Sister Anne Marie
1st appearance and death of Emma
1st appearance of Ben Cox
1st appearance of Invunche

Regardless of what's being debated out there, this issue is officially recognized as the first full appearance of John Constantine in comics. There are other important first appearances in this comic within the world of John Constantine also.

Sister Anne Marie becomes one of the spirits that ends up haunting John Constantine in later stories. Her first appearance is shown in this issue. Also, Emma, an early girlfriend of John is first seen and dies in this issue. Why is she important then? She ends up one of the spirits who also haunts John's conscious in later stories as you'll soon see in this key issues list.

The Invunche is a demon that kills Emma in this story. It is unnamed in this issue. It's also the creature that would rape Ben Cox, kill Sister Anne Marie and many more of John's earlier friends.

The NBC television was cancelled last year and prices for this comic did drop in value from 2014's prices for CGC slabbed copies. They are now sustaining within the $400 range for 9.8s, but slowly on the move up.

With the Justice League Dark movie underway, this comic may pick up when more movie and casting news is leaked to the world, but who knows? Still one of the best key issues to have in the volume 2 Swamp Thing series.

Swamp Thing #37 from the 2nd series has the cover date of June, 1985.

2nd appearance of John Constantine
First appearance of Frank North

When I featured this comic in the Hellblazer key issues or Constantine key issue series, I wasn't sure whether this was his 2nd or 3rd appearance of Constantine. 

This  issue and Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 do have the character in them and both comics have the same cover date. However, Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 hit the stands earlier in April than Swamp Thing #38.

Still, although that is true, a 2nd appearance also depends on how much a character is in that actual issue. Constantine is only in 4 panels and one page in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4. 

Brief appearances or cameos have been noted for more panels than that, so I'm still going to say that Swamp Thing #38 has the 2nd appearance of John Constantine since he appears well beyond 6 panels and is in this story a lot more than one page and 4 panels.

This issue does have the first appearance of Frank North, who was part of the Newcastle Crew, an occult group that John associated with in his early days. Later on, Constantine feels tremendous guilt for the fates of many within the Newcastle Crew. Either way, I think this is still a sleeper comic for now and extremely affordable

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1st appearance of Chester Williams

For some reason, Alan Moore would introduce the character of Chester Williams as a supporting character to Swamp Thing and Abby Holland. He is a naturalist and hippie and sometimes drug dealer as well.

Liz Tremayne and Chester would eventually meet during Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing. They would also become a couple.

Chester Williams would be a loyal and great friend to the Hollands in the comics, so a pretty important supporting character for Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing #43 has the cover date of December, 1985.

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1st appearance of Parliament of Trees

Alan Moore bringing more mythos into the world and character of Swamp Thing. As Moore revamped the character and made him a product or monster created from Alec Holland's Bio-Restorative formula, he continued to add more aspects to the character.

Enter the Parliament of Trees. These are plant Elementals that have long existed on Earth before us puny humans. Oops, sorry, Hulk reference there.

The plant Elementals are born when a being dies and merges with the Earth to become protectors all plant life on Earth. According to Alan Moore, there have been hundreds of these plant Elementals and Swamp Thing is just one of the chosen.

When their tenure as protectors were finally completed, the Elementals would merge or join the Parliament of Trees, which is basically a collective mind of past protectors of plant life throughout history. The Parliament were located in a grove south of the river Tefe in Brazil.

The Green, which is an Elemental force that connects all vegetation and plant life through the collective minds or consciousness of the Parliament of Trees, what they are dedicated in protecting. Thus, the Parliament choose their protector and grant him or her powers derived from The Green.

There's also The Red (animals), The Grey  (fungus), The Clear or sometimes called the Blue (aquatic life), and The Rot (decay). Not sure who created the other colors but The Green and the Parliament of Trees were definitely conceived from the genius mind of Alan Moore.

Swamp Thing #47 volume 2 has the cover date of April, 1986.

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1st meeting between Zatanna & Constantine

Ah, this comic is talked about a lot in the comic forums. However, it's talked about for being the 1st appearance of Justice League Dark.

I've already stated my position on that subject matter, but this comic is also the 1st published meeting of Zatanna and Constantine. It may be confusing since Constantine visits both Zatara and Zatanna, and it's revealed that the two share a romantic past.

However, this romantic past was not seen nor discussed in both character's prior appearances. Apparently, it's not the 1st canonical meeting of the two but the first time they are seen and interact in a comic book, at least publishing date wise.

So still might be one to consider even if it doesn't end up being the 1st Justice League Dark or whatever. Swamp Thing #49 volume 3 has the cover date of June, 1986.

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Death of Zatara
Death of Abnegazar

Might as well put this one here in since this is a Swamp Thing issue and since this issue does see the death of Zatanna's father, Giovanni "John" Zatara. Zatara 1st appeared in Action Comics #1, the same issue that introduced Superman, and the character was created by Fred Guardineer.

Swamp Thing #50 also sees the death of  Abnegazar of The Demons Three. He along with his demonic brothers Rath and Ghast 1st appeared in Justice League of America #10 during the Silver Age.

The Demons Three was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky and this classic Swamp Thing story was written by Alan Moore. This Swamp Thing #50 volume 2 has the cover date of July, 1986.

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Once again, for all those pimping that Swamp Thing #50 is the 1st appearance of Justice League Dark, I do not think that is when the team forms or if the actual Alan Moore story line is connected to the team whatsoever.  For one, just because characters from the team just happen to cross over into a comic does not mean they form a team or the team.

Justice League Dark was created by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin, not Alan Moore. Moore just used these characters for the plot line.

Not to say that Peter Milligan was not influenced by these Swamp Thing issues that Moore wrote. Most likely he was and that's obvious.

However, the origins of the team point to Flashpoint in interviews with Peter Milligan, not Swamp Thing #49, #50 or any Swamp Thing issues in the volume 2 series. Also, the character of Steve Trevor was instrumental in the formation of the Justice League Dark as depicted in the splash page, and it's Madame Xanadu who is the key character that  gathers the members of what would become the team, not Constantine.

I consider the discussion pretty much over concerning that, but still some out there are pimpin' Swamp Thing #49 and #50 as the team's 1st appearance. Both are great issues to have no doubt, and that story line should be considered a classic story arc.

In terms of Constantine's 2nd appearance, I am still calling Swamp Thing #38 the one that has it. Industry isn't noting anything just yet, I don't think.

I'm not a big supporter of how industry handles brief appearances, but Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 does not have enough of Constantine in it to constitute what other comics have been already been noted as a 1st brief appearance. In terms of Constantine's 1st cameo, I have no clue whether that's just a pic of Sting or the actual character or if he was retconned to be in Swamp Thing #25 later, nor do I care. Overstreet notes it as such.

Anyways, some good Swamp Thing key comics related to John Constantine in this here Part 3 Swamp Thing key issues, and there's even more of Moore's contributions to the comic series and character featured in this part as well.

There's a few more Swamp Thing key issue comics in Part 4. See you when I see you.


  1. Nice lineup! However Saga of the Swamp Thing 20 & 21 are actually no sleepers any more so I' m concentrating on the whole Alan Moore run, starting from 22. I just snagged Nr. 26 for 9 $ and I can only recommend those as investments because right know they are cheap and they will stay classics of comic history.

    Max Rebo

    1. Heya Rebo, well maybe not sleepers any longer, but they aren't extremely valuable just yet. Both 20 and 21 are still under the $200 mark for CGC 9.8s, which I think in my humble opinion is still relatively cheap.

  2. Hey Buddy,

    good job. Would be nice if you could also put a key issue focus on significant artists and authors for swampy. I mean, besides Mr. Moore. For instance, first work from Bissette, Wrightson and Veitch on the book. Unknown to many is the fact, that Mark Miller debuted as a writer in the pages of Swamp Thing.

    That' s all for now

    Speculation Jones

    1. Finding keys for B. Wrightson is pretty easy but the others are probably more of a challenge. As some of B. Wrightson's best art are issues of House of Mystery, House of Secrets and Detective Comics.

  3. Sorry, spelling error. I meant MARK MILLAR the writer of Wanted, Kick-Ass and Authority, among others

    S. J.

    1. Hiya S.J., I got Mark Millar in the next part.

  4. A great list so far , not many surprises. The Alan Moore issues are so important to the character of the Swamp Thing and really made the character popular again with readers and collectors.

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't count on many surprises involving keys that are worth mentioning in the later volumes. Many seem to be one-off characters or characters that show up briefly during a story arc.

      The main supporting cast for Swamp Thing was established quite early with the exception of maybe one that has become a major supporting character. Her 1st appearance is still a bargain bin buy though.

  5. hey TCM love the key swamp thing list. going have to get the first meeting with bats. was wondering some one posted awhile back about which key issue to get asm AF 15 and one other I cant remember. what was your take on that if you had one. you still plan on coming out here in june for heroes con. take care man JW

    1. Heya JW, how goes it, bro, and good to hear from ya. Hope all is well with you and yours down yonder.

      In terms of Heroescon this year, I have to apologize and postpone it for possibly next year due to financial reasons. However, I do have certain plans that involve Heroescon really, really soon, just takes quite a bit of dough to finance plans for this project that I think you guys might like.

      I've slashed my comic budget in half this year as this project requires, which is painful but the project will be fun and a lot of work. I'll give you a involves video.