Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age—Volume 1

swamp thing the bronze age volume 1 cover trade paperback bernie wrightson len wein
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Classic comics, good horror

Doesn't flow as well as later issues and modern comic

Comic Info

Comic Name: House of Secrets (Volume 1)/Swamp Thing (Volume 1)

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Len Wein

Artist: Bernie Wrightson/Nestor Redondo/Michael Wm. Kaluta/Luis Dominguez

# of Issues: 14

Release Date: 2018

swamp thing #1 cover bernie wrightson art

Swamp Thing (1) #1

Reprints House of Secrets (1) #92 and Swamp Thing (1) #1-13 (July 1971-December 1974).  When Dr. Alec Holland is targeted by a nefarious organization for his new formula, he finds his life destroyed, his wife Linda dead, and himself transformed into a hulking human-vegetation hybrid called the Swamp Thing.  Hunted by his former friend Matt Cable who suspects Swamp Thing killed Alec and Linda, Swamp Thing finds himself caught in a web of mystery and horror…and desperate to cure himself from his curse!

Written by Len Wein, Swamp Thing:  The Bronze Age—Volume 1 is a DC Comics horror collection.  Featuring art by Bernie Wrightson, Nestor Redondo, Michael Wm. Kaluta, and Luis Dominguez, the volume contains Swamp Thing’s first appearance in House of Secrets (1) #92 (July 1971) and Swamp Thing (1) #1-13 (November 1972-December 1974).  Issues in the collection were previously collected as Swamp Thing:  The Bronze Age Omnibus, Roots of the Swamp Thing, Secret of the Swamp Thing, and Swamp Thing:  Dark Genesis among others.

To me, Swamp Thing was Wes Craven’s film.  I started reading comics during Alan Moore’s run on the series which was not kid friendly, nor very accessible for infrequent readers so I gravitated toward Man-Thing (which premiered in slightly before Swamp Thing in Savage Tales (1) #1 (May 1971)).  Swamp Thing may have had more range than Man-Thing, but the series especially in their onset had a lot of similarities.

The comic is primarily a horror book.  Swamp Thing does encounter Batman in one issues and fights a villain of Dr. Thirteen, but the series doesn’t feel very attached to the DC Universe.  Swamp Thing primarily encounters monsters and all sorts of demonic creatures.  There is some nice creeping horror in the volume and some nods to writers like H.P. Lovecraft (but to be fair, Man-Thing was also doing this).

swamp thing #9 cover bernie wrightson art

Swamp Thing (1) #9

One of the interesting aspects of Swamp Thing is that the first issue had some clean-up to do.  The character that premiered in House of Secrets #92 wasn’t Alec Holland (it was Alex Olsen).  Holland and his origin didn’t premiere until the series launched.  This little aberration was cleaned up by Alan Moore’s run in Saga of the Swamp Thing #33 (February 1985) which cleaned up the issues with the “two” Swamp Things.  Here, it is an odd read without the retcon-read of the Moore story.

The series owes a lot to Bernie Wrightson in the early issues.  His illustrations on Swamp Thing gets the monstrous feel that they need.  The creature is both a hero and a horror and Wrightson seems to get that he doesn’t necessarily need to make Swamp Thing look like the classic superhero (though he does have the physique of a superhero under the vegetation).  It helps make Swamp Thing feel different than a lot of DC’s comics at the time.

Swamp Thing:  The Bronze Age—Volume 1 is a good read.  It may not flow and connect as well as modern comics, but it shows a different type of hero from DC Comics who was trying to play catch-up to Marvel’s more grounded and rounded characters at the time.  Though I still love Man-Thing, Swamp Thing over the years has been better told and better developed.  He has “grown” in ways you’d never expect.  Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age—Volume 1 is followed by Swamp Thing:  The Bronze Age—Volume 2.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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