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Volume One
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Steve Bissette & John Totleben
Barry Marx, editor
Paperback: 176 pages
DC Comics
ISBN: 0930289226
The Comic That Spawned the Vertigo Line!

What Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Totleben accomplished during their time on the comic book series Swamp Thing shouldn't be underestimated in the history of comics and, specifically, the history of horror comics. The modern comics landscape has been changed by the Vertigo line of books--an imprint that traces its roots back to this version of Swamp Thing

By taking a horror character fully entrenched in a superhero world (as silly as that might seem), this creative team put a new face on horror comics and on horror in general.
Volume Two: LOVE & DEATH
Written by Alan Moore
Art by Steve Bissette, John Totleben,
& Shawn McManus
Paperback: 208
DC Comics
ISBN: 0930289544
Swamp Thing: Love and Death is the second collection of the team's work on the series, presented here in full color. Don't let the mediocre Swamp Thing movies fool you, this book is filled with sophisticated suspense and terror.
Volume Three: The CURSE
by Alan Moore, Ron Randall, & Rick Veitch
Paperback: 189 pages
DC Comics
ISBN: 1563896974
This collection reprints the best issues of Swamp Thing. For those not at all familier with the character, it is an excellently written and drawn comic about a good swamp monster battling evil (and is much better than that description makes it sound).

Notable in this third volume of the series, which reprints the beginning of the "American Gothic" story arc, is Moore's greater use of social critique, elevating these stories above mere entertaining, well-written horror stories. By combining fantastic horrors to such real-life horrors as racism and sexism, these stories are far more effective than any in the earlier collections at terrifying the reader.

In "American Gothic", Swamp Thing is sent scurrying to different parts of the U.S. by a manipulative figure (Jon Constantine) to battle all of the classic horror figures (vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc.), but each are handled in an absolutely brilliantly unique and new manner. For example, there is a whole town of vampires living underwater, completely shielded from the sun, in the process of, for the first time, living communally and cooperating to breed a second generation of vampires that are more powerful and horrific (the dedication of the vampires to family is contrasted by the dysfunctional families of the normal humans). The title story, "The Curse", is a unique Werewolf story, tying in the monthly transformation according to the phases of the moon to the menstrual cycle. The Curse was controversial due to its misinterpretation by illiterate readers as being a sexist comment on PMS when in reality it is an extremely feminist story condemning society for its male-driven fear and shunning of the feminine, and the subjugation of women into sexual objects or housewives.

The American Gothic story arc does not conclude in this issue (although the individual stories can be enjoyed on their own) so hopefully a volume 4 will follow.

By this point, Moore was also using word games in his text more frequently (read carefully) adding an extra level of enjoyment. This collection also contains the first appearance of Jon Constantine, and it is a period I miss. Here Constantine is a totally mysterious, manipulative character whose only real power is his mysteriously obtained knowledge and who always adds an element of dark humour (he is still a great character, but far less mysterious, and he now has magical skills, the extent of which appear to change from appearance to appearance).

This collection represents, if not Moore's best, then the best of Swamp Thing.

Volume Four: A Murder of Crows
by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, & John Totleben
Paperback: 192 pages
DC Comics
ISBN: 1563897199
How did the DC character most noted for simplicity handle the hyper-complexity of the Crisis on Infinite Earths? In the ever-able hands of Alan Moore, Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows rises above the mid-1980s corporate reorganization to grant our hero his apotheosis into his current plant elemental form. Fans of John Constantine will eat up the smart-aleck astral con man's performance throughout, and the central struggle--uniting good and evil against something much bigger and older than either--is classic Moore. The art is bold and beautiful, organic by necessity, and contributes as much to the reader's suspense as the script. It seems that Moore et al. have spent so much time transcending their medium that they may have created a new one of their own. --Rob Lightner
Book Five:
Earth to Earth
by Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, John Totleben,
& Alfredo Alcala
Paperback: 160 pages
DC Comics
ISBN: 1563898047
Abby Cable, after being accused of "hugging vegstibles" flees to Gotham City. There she is picked up again and put on trial. Swamp things returns from the "American Gothic" tour and looks everywhere for his beloved. When he finds out she's in jail in Gotham needless to say he's [angry] and rips Gotham a new one.
Now Swamp Thing is the agressor terrorizing all those innocent mortals untill he gets his love back and not even Batman can stop him (Yeah, Batman can beat anyone, but swampy is now on a God level. He turns Gotham into a jungle on a whim). One of the best Swamp Thing stories in the book (perhaps the whole series) is "My Blue Heaven". It's a beautiful, exotic, weird and engrossing tale. It's about the human condition set in a weird alien world.
Dimensions (in inches): 0.30 x 10.20 x 6.68
(April 2002)
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