Are you ready to visit the swamp? With the premiere episode of DC Universe’s Swamp Thing arriving on May 31st, it’s a great time to familiarize yourself with some of the greatest stories starring the Muck-Encrusted Mockery of a Man from the dark waters of Louisiana. From horror film homages to mystical mythology, Swampy fans have enjoyed decades of masterful storytelling. Here are 7 essential Swamp Thing stories -- just click on each title to read it on DC Universe...
THE STORY: Read the storyline that birthed a legend as Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson combine comic book storytelling with classic horror. Alec Holland and his wife Linda were government scientists working on a bio-restorative formula when a criminal group known as the Conclave tried to buy their miraculous remedy. The Hollands refused, and were murdered in retaliation – or so it seemed. After Alec Holland’s burned body dove into the swamp, a humanoid creature covered in moss emerged in his place. Swamp Thing’s early adventures took him around the world as he encountered demonic creatures inspired by Universal monster movie. Writer Len Wein and artist Bernie Wrightson collaborated on the first 10 issues, creating the gold standard for Swamp Thing adventures as they launched a classic.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Swamp Thing (1972) #1-10
THE STORY: In 1984 Alan Moore teamed up with penciller Steve Bissette to change Swamp Thing forever. Avery Sunderland has finally succeeded in killing Swamp Thing and has hired Jason Woodrue to perform an autopsy. Woodrue uncovers the shocking truth: Swamp Thing had never been Alec Holland and was just a plant mimicking the human consciousness. If Swamp Thing was never human, it means he can’t be killed by traditional means, which Sunderland learns as Swamp Thing's "corpse" awakens to attack him, in one of the story’s most terrifying sequences. The revelations don’t end there, as Swamp Thing communes with the Green for the first time, giving the first hints to his larger destiny. This story kicked off Alan Moore’s legendary run, and planted the seeds for stories that would sprout for years to come.
WHERE TO FIND IT: The Saga of Swamp Thing (1982) #21-24
THE STORY: How far would you go to save the person you love? A revenge scheme from Anton Arcane condemns his niece Abby to Hell, and Swamp Thing will stop at nothing to get her back. He journeys through the afterlife and along the way runs into Phantom Stranger, the Spectre, Deadman, Etrigan and even the spirit of Alec Holland. Before Swampy returns Abby to life, he’s going to have to get through Anton Arcane, who won’t let death stop him from getting his ultimate revenge. Alan Moore pens a story of true love and loyalty against the backdrop of pure horror as Steve Bissette illustrates the afterlife with all the beauty and terror our imaginations can conjure. Anton Arcane’s twisted scheme is presented with body horror not unlike that of director David Cronenberg’s terror flicks. Afterwards, the creative duo take readers on a psychedelic journey, as Swamp Thing and Abby begin their romance with a mind-bending experience in the erotic tale "Rite of Spring".
THE STORY: What would happen if Swamp Thing unleashed his full elemental powers on humanity? What if he wasn’t on our side? These questions are explored when Abby Arcane’s relationship with Swamp Thing is exposed, and she’s arrested for crimes against nature. Abby is held in Gotham, and Swamp Thing uses his full abilities to bring the city to their knees. Trees are sprouting everyone, buildings and infrastructure are collapsing, and locusts fill the streets. Have you ever heard people say that Batman can beat anyone with enough prep-time? That theory is severely tested as Swamp Thing beats the Dark Knight, leaving the city without any option. Swamp Thing has finally learned the extent of his elemental powers, and he’s unleashed the full fury of the Green on Gotham. Alan Moore writes Swamp Thing as he’s never been seen before, lashing out at society as a monster.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Swamp Thing (1982) #52-53
THE STORY: Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing run takes an interesting turn as Swampy tries to solve a problem involving his heir Sprout. Sprout was a seed containing the essence of the Green, which needed to find a host body so it could grow up to become the next elemental. Swamp Thing and John Constantine search for solutions until arriving at an unusual one: Abby Arcane could bear a child. Since Swamp Thing doesn’t have the necessary reproductive organs, he uses the powers of the Green to possess the body of John Constantine. Now Swampy craves nicotine and has all the limitations and impulses that come with humanity, but will it be enough? Will Abby accept Constantine as a sexual partner, even if it's Swamp Thing is behind the metaphysical steering wheel? Veitch dives deeper into Swamp Thing’s mythology as he pens a story that will affect the characters for years to come.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Swamp Thing (1982) #71-76
THE STORY: Alec Holland has been given a second chance at life, and he doesn’t want anything to do with Swamp Thing. But when the Green comes calling, Alec finds that the elemental force is hard to ignore. The Green is fighting a war against the Rot, an elemental force that represents death and decay. Can Alec Holland sacrifice his newly recovered humanity to save the forces of nature that once empowered him? Scott Snyder combines the horror of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s run with the supernatural elemental nature of Alan Moore’s work, creating a Swamp Thing classic that introduces the character to the next generation of DC readers.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Swamp Thing (2011) #1-7
THE STORY: The world has been blanketed with endless winter and Swamp Thing’s connection to the Green has been severed. With memories fading, all Swamp Thing knows is that he must protect a young boy at all cost. The blizzard continues to drain Swampy’s powers, but he uses his limited energy to defend the boy from cannibals, wildlife and frostbite. As the duo make their way through the harsh environment, the boy starts to look to Swamp Thing as a father. Eventually, the true cause of the new ice age is revealed, and Swamp Thing must decide how much he’ll sacrifice to bring the Green back. Tom King writes a heartwarming story that breaks Swamp Thing down to his bare essentials, as Jason Fabok’s illustrations enhance the emotional punch. This comic was written as a tribute to Swamp Thing’s co-creator Len Wein shortly after he passed away. As a bonus, the comic contains a backup story featuring a never before published tale from Len Wein and penciler Kelley Jones.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Swamp Thing Winter Special (2018)