Swamp Thing has long been one of DC's most enigmatic characters. From his debut in 1971's House of Secrets #92 through Alan Moore and Steve Bissette's iconic '80s run all the way to his upcoming DC Universe series, there's no one quite like Swampy. But behind every slimy-yet-sensual elemental plant creature is a strong woman, and in Swamp Thing's case that woman is Abigail Arcane. As we move ever closer to the May 31st debut of DC Universe's newest series, it's the perfect time to explain just why we love Abby so much...
She's Been a Key Part of Swamp Thing's Story For Over 40 Years
Abigail Arcane was first introduced in 1973's Swamp Thing #3, written by Len Wein and illustrated by Bernie Wrightson, making her one of Swampy's longest-standing allies. Though it would take a while for the pair to become romantically entangled, from her very first appearance she was intrinsically connected to the monster who was once Alec Holland -- launching a relationship that would span decades. In her first appearance, Abby is introduced as the niece of the nefarious Anton Arcane. Her selflessness and courage are established when we first meet her, running a medical clinic in the small Transylvanian village where she was born. But after she's kidnapped by her father -- who has become the monstrous Patchwork Man -- she's saved by Swamp Thing, who follows her and her future husband Matt Cable, with all three ending up stranded in the Scottish Moors after a plane crash. It was a vital arc that gave Swamp Thing a mission and a reason to escape his imprisonment in Transylvania.
Abby's Love for Swamp Thing is Transformative... Literally
In one of the strangest and most romantic comics in DC history, Abby took the leap and made the ultimate commitment to Swamp Thing by imbibing a part of the mythical creature that she loves. Issue #34 of The Saga of Swamp Thing -- written by Alan Moore and penciled by Steve Bissette -- is widely-known amongst comic fans as a truly psychedelic experiment. It finds Abby eating a tuber grown on the body of Swamp Thing and the pair sharing an erotic, hallucinogenic experience that transforms them both. It's a vital moment in both of their lives, as it's the first time Abby reveals her feelings to Swamp Thing; and she's the one who takes the first step in telling him how she really feels. Moore and Bissette do a brilliant job of showing how much this moment changes both of them. The intimacy is seen as a marriage between the pair, similar to ancient handfasting ceremonies, and the sprawling technicolor visuals do a great job of demonstrating that, after Abby tells Swamp Thing she loves him, neither of their lives will ever be the same.
She's a True Survivor
Abby's backstory is one drenched in trauma and loss, but that's only made her stronger. Born in a small Transylvanian village, Abigail lost her mother at a young age after her evil uncle Anton Arcane stoked the fear and paranoia of the townspeople and had her mother burnt at the stake as a witch. Despite that terrible act, Anton played a big part in Abby's life, even splitting custody of the young girl with her father Grigori. Sadly for Abby, her often absent father would later become one of her uncle's terrifying experiments, and eventually try to hunt her down in a tragic story echoing the horror of Mary Shelley's classic novel, Frankenstein. This sad altercation led to her first meeting with the mysterious Swamp Thing.
Chlorophyll Is Thicker Than Blood
Though she shares a name and bloodline with one of Swamp Thing's most nefarious enemies, Abby has chosen to fight for good rather than following in the family business of sinister scientific experimentation. Her dedication to Alec and their love was cemented when the pair sired a child together in a most unusual series of events. Though Swamp Thing possessed the human body of the blue-collar warlock and troublemaker John Constantine, who made love to Abby and impregnated her with Swamp Thing's essence, creating something entirely new and different. This unexpected origin gave their daughter Tefe -- who first appears in Swamp Thing #90 -- elemental powers just like her spiritual father, and her birth created an even deeper connection between Abby and her lover.
She's a Powerful Hero in Her Own Right
From childhood, Abby has been a powerful empath. She's hyper-sensitive to the feelings and thoughts of others, which is part of why she's always found it easy to connect with Swamp Thing. This has also helped her battle monsters, save Swamp Thing on multiple occasions, and get inside the mind of villains like Jason Woodrue, A.K.A. the Floronic Man. But Abby isn't the typical superhero, as she's never taken an alias. Instead, she's remained herself, proud of her powers and her love for the elemental being with whom she had a child.
The DC Universe is filled with amazing women, and Abby Arcane is no exception. Though as much as we love her comic-book iteration, we can't wait to see actress Crystal Reed portray her when Swamp Thing arrives on DC Universe on May 31st!