Anton's Reviews > Swamp Thing, Vol. 1: Saga of the Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
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's review
Mar 15, 2010

really liked it

Alan Moore's psychedelic philosophical literary reinvention of DC comics classic Swamp Thing book. By most accounts, Moore reinvented the comic book with this series from the 80's, defying the prudery of the stultifying Comics Code with sexual candor and unrestrained grotesquery. More important, he prepared the way for high-minded graphic novels (not least of which being his own The Watchmen): works of art that seized fully the narrative potential of mixing the textual and the visual.

The first four chapters of this particular collection (there are six trade paperbacks collecting Moore's version of Swamp Thing in all) form one story-line, and it illustrates the intellectual heights to which Moore quickly takes the series. It begins by revisiting the genesis of Swamp Thing, a shambling, heroic mound of vegetable matter, who had presumably once been a scientist named Alec Holland. Holland--according to the original series pre-Moore--mutated into the Thing after his laboratory was blown up by villains. The issue of Swamp Thing's origins, however, turns out to be far from this simple, and Moore uses them as a pretext to explore the nature of being human, of identity, and of nature itself, in the process unsettling the comfortable answers we often tell ourselves in response to such questions. For example, take what might be considered two default popular philosophical positions respecting the question of nature: 1. we are all part of or "one with" nature 2. the human and the natural are by their very definitions distinct. Moore at once entertains and challenges both positions through the use of a clever foil--The Floronic Man, another DC character revitalized by Moore--seeming to acknowledge the necessity of both views, the naive simplicity of holding either alone, and finally settling--if settling it can be called--with an answer that better reflects the mutative, dynamic, messy nature of nature itself: namely that at any given moment the answer to the question of what is nature can change, along with our relationship to it. According to this tale, dealing with that dynamism is the very point of human consciousness: to adapt to that change, to continue to define and redefine oneself to it. Which is what Swamp Thing wrestles throughout the book to do, making him thoroughly human, or thoroughly natural, or both.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Cori (new)

Cori so... are there pichers or is it just writin?

Anton oh, there are pichers. and the pichers are great.

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