Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Decent Comics: "The Conqueror Worms!" by Wein and Redondo

Check it out, Groove-ophiles! A lot of fans think that DC's original Swamp Thing run ended with ish #10. Why? Because the first ten issues by co-creators Len Wein and Berni Wrightson have been lauded (rightfully so) and reprinted so many times. It's doubtless one of the crown jewels of the Groovy Age, but Swampy's story did not end with "The Man Who Would Not Die!" Nossireebob! Writer Wein stayed on until issue #13, working with the great Nestor Redondo, and as far as yerz trooley knows the only time those mags have been reprinted was in 2009's Roots of the Swamp Thing tpb. Writer David (Claw, Iron Man) Michelinie joined Redondo for issues 14-18,  to be replaced in the writer's chair by Gerry Conway for two issues (19-20). Michelinie came back to write issues 21-22, then Conway came back with #23, plotted the final ish, #24, which was scripted by David Anthony Kraft and illustrated by Ernie Chau (Chan) and Fred Carillo. Now, naturally, the post-Wein/Wrightson issues don't have the stature of the first ten issues, but they do have a certain charm (especially the Wein and Michelinie authored stories), and Redondo's art, while lacking the unique and quirky character of Wrightson's style, was lush and classical--very different, but a nearly perfect fit in its own right. Oh, and Swamp Thing did run for a respectable 24 issues before being cancelled with the May 1976 issue, so somebody thought DC was doing something right. But hey, you don't have'ta take Ol' Groove's word for it...
Cover art by Luis Dominguez





















12 comments:

  1. Always curious about the post- Wrightson/Wein stuff; and Redondo always seemed overlooked in spite of his rich detail. Guess it makes sense for him to be put on Swamp-Thing, since it seems like he did a lot of horror comics for DC. I actually would've expected a lot more detail form him in this book. His worm creatures are great, but I suspect they were intended more to be Cthulu type critters rather than crazy B grade sci fi look. I like that the story ties in with a Phantom Stranger story, so its not out of the blue as it were. Kinda think they coulda did more here with the material though. Underground bio-dome in the swamp is kinda cool, good enough for an ongoing thing like Arcane was. Now I gotta find out what that seven pointed jewelstar thing is all about!

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    1. Stay tuned, M.J.H.--the answer may turn up soon!

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  2. A somewhat scary and well-done tale! Swamp Thing more like man..Man-Thing more like swamp! Thanks Groove!

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  3. Great comic! Wonderful art , as usual, from the great Nestor Redondo. He was perfect for this title.
    M.P.

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  4. Hey Groove, I see you are doing replies today. As an aside to the usual cool posting you did, have you ever posted stickers? My friends and I were nuts about "odd rod" stickers from the 60s and 70s! Also, one day my little brother ditched Sad Sack to buy something called Cartoons, which was a mag full of car related comics. Any chance you can post any of that? CHeers, CHarlie HOrse 47

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    1. I have done a post about the Marvel stickers of 75/76, but I dig your idea. Those Odd Rod stickers you mentioned are really cool; my friends and I were big into Wacky Packages. I remember occasionally flipping through CarToons in the barber shop. Haven't thought of those in years...hmmm...Ideas for thought, CH47!

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    2. GA - I forgot about the Wacky Packages! If I recall we were all gaga over Odd Rods in the late 60s (?), then Odd Rods stopped production (?), and then Wacky Packages came along and were the rage. We weren't big into cars but for some reason the Cartoons resonated with the gang. I think it was quite a bit more than a 12 to 15 cent comic so we only bought a few. As I troll ebay they were a shocking ("Don't take less!") $.50 per!

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  5. Has there been another character with as many reboots of their series who has fared as well as old Swampie? This classic first run, then volume 2 with Tom Yeates turning into Alan Moore's incredible run, then ably continued by Rick Veitch- it seems like he's always attracted the best writers and artists.

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  6. Redondo drew beautifully, but I always felt Alfredo Alcala would have been a better choice right after Berni left because his work was SCARY looking (whereas Redondo was classical and lovely, especially on RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL and THE BIBLE treasury edition).

    Regards,

    Chris A.

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    1. You're right. Alcala would have been a much better choice. But I think he was toiling away at Marvel by this time.

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  7. Swamp Thing was never the same after Bernie Wrightson left. What we were witness to was a sad decline of a once magnificent title, mercifully culminating in its cancellation after 14 issues.There's a reason the Wein/Wrightson collaboration has been reprinted multiple times: quality like that is rare and all too often short-lived.

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