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Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben

Written by Arion on Tuesday, July 22 2014 and posted in Blog
Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben
Sometimes it’s quite difficult for me to imagine how DC Comics survived. As most of you might know, DC went through a rough patch in the 80s, the so-called “implosion”, instead of launching new titles each month they had to cancel them due to low sales and the readership’s absence.
Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben
Adam Strange attacks Swamp Thing /
Adam Strange ataca a la Cosa del Pantano

And I say it is hard to envision such moment because DC, just like Marvel, has a rich legacy of heroes and characters that defy our imagination. The problem, as usual, comes from shortsighted editors, from censorship and from lack of innovation. In other words, a fruitful land had become a barren and deserted wasteland.


And that is exactly what we can observe in “Mysteries in Space” (published in Swamp Thing # 57, February 1987). Swamp Thing arrives to Rann, a planet plagued by famine, by the extinction of vegetation and all life forms, not only the world is sterile but also the people who live in it. This is why, years ago, earthman Adam Strange was regarded as a hero and as the savior of this alien civilization. 


Adam Strange naively thought that his contribution was limited to wearing a jet pack and shooting down monsters with his laser gun. He was wrong. His first and foremost duty was to impregnate princess Alanna, in order to give millions hope. Because if only one child was to be born, then all the people of Rann would understand that the situation wasn’t so desperate.


Adam Strange was the kind of hero that I never considered exciting. And he wasn’t interesting because most writers would only see him as the classic sci-fi hero that could solve the galaxy’s problems with laser rays. Alan Moore proves that the gaudy costume and accessories were only that, an ancillary aspect of this unassuming champion.

Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben
The betrayal of Thanagar / la traición de Thanagar

In “Exiles” (Swamp Thing # 58, March 1987), an amazing parallelism takes place between Rann and Alanna, heir of the throne. Authorized by Sardath, the most respected scientist, Swamp Thing decides to get in touch with this strange planet, and while doing that he resuscitates biological life forms; he turns dusty deserts into lush forests. Even though, in the process, Swamp Thing and Adam Strange must fight to the death with their former allies: two agents from Thanagar, home planet of Hawkman and Hawkwoman from the Justice League of America. 


Rann is made fertile again and Alanna discovers that she is at last pregnant: “She’ll return to her chambers through spotless, childless palace halls, maybe considering what to tell our offspring, if it should ask, about its father, so far away… who visits only sometimes”. And, in a way, DC learns how important it is to let the garden grow free of editorial intervention or censorship. And thus one of the most fruitful eras for DC is consolidated in this two-part story.


Parental issues are still present in the following two issues. Certainly, in “Reunion” (Swamp Thing # 59, April 1987), Abigail must deal with old men and women in a retirement home; she feels compassion towards them but at the same time she feels scared, scared of death, scared of the impending disappearance of her own father. It’s only at the end of this chapter, when she finds the putrefied remnants of his progenitor that she understands her fear. “Reunion” was written by Stephen Bissette, who proves to be not only an amazing artist but also a wonderful and very gifted storyteller.


Finally, “Loving the Alien” is the strangest love story I’ve read. Swamp Thing lands in a living spaceship, a spaceship bigger than a planetoid, with enough life and energy to sustain countless species. This entity doesn’t want to die alone, it wants children, and it seems only a creature like Swamp Thing can survive the brutal mating process. Alan Moore creates a story that truly feels like something out of this world. And the extraordinary art comes from John Totleben, his visual experimentation and unconventional graphics are the fundamental key of this episode.

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Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben

A veces es bastante difícil imaginar cómo DC Comics logró sobrevivir. Como muchos de ustedes sabrán, DC pasó por una etapa difícil en los 80, la denominada “implosión”, en vez de lanzar títulos nuevos cada mes, tuvieron que cancelarlos a causa de las bajas ventas y la ausencia de lectoría.

Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben
Abigail and her father / Abigail y su padre

Y digo que es difícil visualizar semejante momento porque DC, al igual que Marvel, tiene un rico legado de héroes y personajes que desafían nuestra imaginación. El problema, como siempre, viene de editores cegatones, de la censura y de la falta de innovación. En otras palabras, una tierra fructífera se había convertido en un terreno baldío y desértico. 


Y eso es exactamente lo que podemos observar en “Misterios en el espacio” (publicado en "Swamp Thing" # 57, febrero de 1987). La Cosa del Pantano llega a Rann, un planeta plagado por la hambruna, por la extinción de la vegetación y todas las formas de vida, no sólo el mundo es estéril sino también la gente que vive en él. Es por ello que, hace años, el terrícola Adam Strange fue glorificado como un héroe y como el salvador de esta civilización alienígena. 


Adam Strange pensaba inocentemente que su contribución se limitaba a usar una mochila propulsora y a disparar monstruos con su pistola láser. Él estaba equivocado. Su primer y más importante deber era embarazar a la princesa Alanna, para así darle esperanza a millones. Porque si tan sólo un niño llegase a nacer, entonces toda la gente de Rann entendería que la situación no era tan desesperada. 


Adam Strange era el tipo de héroe que nunca me pareció interesante. Y no era lo era porque la mayoría de escritores sólo lo veían como el clásico héroe de ciencia ficción que podía resolver los problemas de la galaxia con rayos laser. Alan Moore demuestra que su vistoso traje y sus accesorios con sólo eso, un aspecto secundario de este modesto campeón. 

Swamp Thing # 57, 58, 59 60 - Moore, Veitch Totleben
Inside the alien spaceship / al interior de la nave alienígena

En “Exilios” ("Swamp Thing" # 58, marzo de 1987), hay un asombroso paralelo entre Rann y Alanna, heredera del trono. Con la autorización de Sardath, el científico más respetado, la Cosa del Pantano decide entrar en contacto con este extraño planeta, y mientras lo hace resucita las formas de vida biológicas; convierte un desierto polvoriento en bosques tropicales. Aunque, en el proceso, la Cosa del Pantano y Adam Strange deben pelear hasta la muerte con sus antiguos aliados: dos agentes de Thanagar, mundo hogar de Hawkman y Hawkwoman de la Liga de la Justicia de América. 


Rann es fértil de nuevo y Alanna descubre que por fin está embarazada: “Ella regresará a su recámara, a través de pasillos sin manchas, sin niños, quizás considerando qué debería decirle a sus hijos, si acaso llegasen a preguntarle, sobre su padre, que está tan lejos... que sólo los visita de vez en cuando”. Y, en cierto modo, DC aprende lo importante que es dejar que el jardín crezca libre de intervención editorial o censura. Y por lo tanto una de las eras más fructíferas de DC se consolida en esta historia de dos partes.


El tema paterno sigue estando presente en los dos números siguientes. Ciertamente, en “Reunión” ("Swamp Thing" # 59, abril de 1987), Abigail debe lidiar con ancianos en un asilo; ella siente compasión por ellos pero al mismo tiempo se siente asustada, le teme a la muerte, le tema a la pronta desaparición de su propio padre. Es sólo al final de este capítulo, cuando encuentra los restos putrefactos de su progenitor que ella entiende ese miedo. “Reunión” fue escrita por Stephen Bissette, quien prueba ser no sólo un asombroso artista sino también un narrador maravilloso y lleno de talento.


Finalmente, “Amando al alien” es la historia de amor más extraña que he leído. La Cosa del Pantano aterriza en una nave viviente, una nave más grande que un planetoide, con suficiente vida y energía para nutrir a incontables especies. Esta entidad no quiere morir en soledad, quiere hijos. Y parece que solamente una criatura como la Cosa del Pantano puede sobrevivir al brutal proceso de apareamiento. Alan Moore crea una historia que se siente de veras como algo fuera de nuestro mundo. Y el extraordinario arte es de John Totleben, su experimentación visual y sus gráficos poco convencionales son la clave fundamental de este episodio.


Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2014/07/swamp-thing-57-58-59-60-moore-veitch.html


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About the Author - Arion


Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog -  http://artbyarion.blogspot.com – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.

 


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