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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Swamp Thing Key Issues

When it comes to the Swamp Thing and key issues, the character actually does have an interesting mythos. Even more so, the character has deep supporting cast and even an arch nemesis and recurring villains.

So, it's about time we mush through a Swamp Thing key issues series. You might think this will be a short one, but it won't be that short.

There are quite a bit of significant key issues in the Swamp Thing mythos. Quite a few are over-looked as well.

Alright, let's get this on!

1st appearance of original Swamp Thing

I've talked about this one here and there, and I've revealed that although this is the 1st appearance of the character of Swamp Thing, the original incarnation only lasted one issue before he was revamped. This not the Alec Holland version that most fans are familiar with.

House of Secrets #92 is the 1st appearance of the Alex Olsen Swamp Thing. The character was a success and DC wanted creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson to give the character a more heroic spin and star Swampie in his own comic series.

Not sure why Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson decided to revamp the character into Alec Holland with a different origin story of sorts, but it stuck. The revamped Swamp Thing was very similar to Marvel's Man-Thing, and despite Man-Thing being created a year earlier by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, Marvel never took legal issues with it because both characters were similar to The Heap.

So, yes, this is the 1st appearance of the Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92, fast becoming an important early Bronze Age book and one of the best and most valuable horror key issues from that era. It has the cover date of July, 1971.

1st appearance of Alec Holland Swamp Thing
1st issue to 1st self-titled comic series 
1st cameo appearance of Anton Arcane
Origin of Swamp Thing

Well, if we're talking about Swamp Thing keys, this one should definitely not be ignored. If we're talking about Justice League Dark member's 1st appearances, then this key issue here is a must-have.

As I said before, this is the version that most comics fans are familiar with when speaking of the Swamp Thing. The Alec Holland version is also the one that is an associate and on and off again member of the Justice League Dark.

Much like the original origin in House of Secrets #92, Alec Holland was mutated into a hideous Swamp-like creature. However, writer Alan Moore would later revamp this and have Swamp Thing actually be an elemental creature that somehow absorbed Holland's memory after his death.

Also, this issue is important because it has the 1st cameo appearance of Anton Arcane, and rumors are going around that Anton may be one of the villains for the Justice League Dark flick. The character is a huge nemesis for Swamp Thing, and his 1st full appearance is in Swamp Thing #2 of the same series.

More knowledge about the importance of this comic. Not only does it tell the origin of how Alec Holland becomes Swamp Thing, it also has a few other important supporting characters such as the wife of Alec Holland - Linda Holland - and Nathan Ellery.

Nathan Ellery is known simply as Mister E and is the master mind behind Alec Holland's unfortunate accident. He is the leader of Conclave, an organization that was searching for a Bio-Restorative Formula.

Also, not noted above is the 1st appearance of Mathew Cable, who was assigned to protect Dr. Alec and Linda Holland. He does end up a recurring character throughout the series and the Swamp Thing mythos as well.  

So, House of Secrets #92 is one to get and Swamp Thing #1 volume 1 is surely one to get also. After all, we're talking about the 1st appearance of Alec Holland as the creature since this version is the one in Justice League Dark. 

I suppose you could say this is also the 2nd appearance of the Swamp Thing character over-all in comic books as well but that's kinda unnecessary. November, 1972 is the cover date for this 1st appearance key issue comic, and Swamp Thing #1 of the first series is still pretty over-looked in certain high grades.

2nd appearance Alec Holland as Swamp-Thing
3rd appearance Swamp-Thing character
1st  full Anton Arcane & brief Patchwork Man
1st Cranius

So the original and first Swamp-Thing was Alex Olsen, and it's his version that appears in House of Secrets #92. Allec Holland was an updated version, and surprisingly he is the next to appear as the Swamp-Thing immediately in terms of publishing dates.

So Swamp Thing #1 sees the first appearance of Alec Holland as the Swamp-Thing, and is the 2nd appearance of the actual Swamp-Thing comic character. Thus, Swamp-Thing #2 is the 2nd appearance of Alec Holland as Swamp-Thing and the 3rd appearance of the creature ever.

This issue also sees the first full appearance of Anton Arcane and his brother Patchwork Man. Anton Arcane is a major Swamp Thing villain. 

So here's a new fact I've yet to cover when this issue was written about in other key issues lists: The 1st appearance of Cranius is also in this issue.

Cranius is a Swamp Thing villain and was the first ever Un-Men created by Anton Arcane. These Un-Men are artificial creatures created from spare cadaver parts and brought to life with a mix of science and magic.

Swamp-Thing #2 from the first series was published January, 1973.

3rd appearance of Swamp Thing
1st appearance of Abigail Arcane (Holland)
1st full appearance of Patchwork Man

At first glance, this 3rd issue to the very 1st Swamp Thing comic series may not seem all that important, but it is. This issue has the 1st appearance of Abigail Arcane.

She is, perhaps, the longest supporting character for the Swamp Thing and his love interest as well. Actually, she would later become the Swamp Thing's wife.

Abigail is the niece of Anton Arcane, Swamp Thing's long time arch nemesis. Anton Arcane also turned his brother Gregori Arcane into Patchwork Man.

Abigail Arcane is one of the few surviving supporting cast of the Swamp Thing when Alan Moore got hold of the character and revamped the series. Needless to say, she is a major supporting character and her 1st appearance just might be one to really consider as a future comic investment for Swamp Thing fans.

Although Overstreet does not note her 1st appearance, CGC does. Both Overstreet & CGC note the 1st full appearance of Patchwork Man, though.

Pretty overlooked Bronze Age key issue currently. Swamp Thing #3 from the very 1st series has the cover date of March, 1973.

4th appearance of Swamp Thing
2nd appearance of Abigail Arcane (Holland) 

4th issue to the comic series and 4th appearance of Swamp Thing. Pretty clear cut when it comes to early Swamp Thing published appearances as the character does stay in his own titled series for quite a while before venturing out into other titles.

Abigail Arcane has her 2nd appearance in this 4th issue as well. A little more about Abigail Arcane in her early comic career is that she was married to Mathew Cable before she ever married Swamp Thing. Mathew Cable's 1st appearance is in Swamp Thing #1 of the titled series.

Swamp Thing #4 has the cover date of May, 1973 for this early Bronze Age key issue, and it is an over-looked one. Both CGC and Overstreet have yet to bother noting this issue for it's key issue comic goodness.

5th appearance of Swamp Thing
1st appearance of Timothy Ravenwind

I'm not sure if Timothy Ravenwind has been a prominent character in the Swamp Thing mythos or even the DC Universe as a whole. He seems to have connections to the Homo Magi and Zatanna, but I'm not sure to what degree.

He is one of the last of the Ravenwind Witches of Divinity, Maine; where he 1st met Swamp Thing in this issue a long with his sister. He has appeared here and there and even in stories featuring Constantine.

All-in-all, I don't really consider his 1st appearance a big deal, but it is a Swamp Thing key no matter how minor. Swamp Thing #5 has the cover date of August, 1973.

When it comes to Swamp Thing key comics, there are quite a few that are over-looked. For instance, Swamp Thing #1 of the 1st series introduces a completely different character than the single appearance of the original Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92.

Yes, HoS #92 is the 1st appearance of the comic character Swamp Thing for sure. Nobody is disputing that, but Alec Holland is the character that the Swamp Thing is most associated with to comic fans of Swamp Thing.

Very much like how Earth Two and Earth One Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman are perceived as different characters in today's market, the same thing could be applied to the original and 2nd Swamp Thing, Alec Holland. So, I do believe that Swamp Thing #1 is a tad under-valued, at least according to Overstreet Guide.

When it comes to completely over-looked sleepers, Swamp Thing #3 and the 1st appearance of Abigail Arcane, who later becomes Abby Cable and then Abby Holland, is a really over-looked and important supporting character in the Swamp Thing mythos throughout. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mayhem,

    thanks for doing that key issue list. Not that I requested it, but right now I' m investing a lot in DC bronze and silver age comics. I think there is still room for growth, while many Marvels from that era have allready peaked in my opinion. I followed your suggestion and immediately got Swamp Thing 3 for 22. I thought, what the heck, I just read Nr. 2 and really enjoyed art and story. It builds up a nice atmosphere and didn' t let me down. Just plain good ol' comics you have here. Nothing wrong with that.