This book collects the first 13 issues of the 24 issue first volume of Swamp Thing. The stories were all written by Len Wein with the first 10 illustrated by Bernie Wrightson and the rest by Nester Redondo.
While not in the same league as the later Alan Moore era, there is enough in these stories to keep a Swamp Thing fan entertained giving an introduction to a lot of the elements that Moore later reused for his own take on the character.
The remaining 11 issues in volume 1 have not been reissued in book form and having continued on from this book to read the single issues it is clear to see why. They are not of the same quality as the Wein stories and the writers don’t seem to have any clear idea what to do with the character.
So if you are interested in exploring the earliest roots of the Swamp Thing then this volume contains all you need.
You’re all looking for something to blame when you should be looking out the window.
This comic is an collection of short stories from various Vertigo titles including Strange Adventures, Weird War Tales and Flinch. However, the reason I picked it up is that it features a previously unpublished Hellblazer story from the Warren Ellis run on the character.
The story, Shoot was written round about the time of the Columbine High School tragedy and was felt, probably rightly that it was too sensitive a story to print at that time. However, it is an excellent story featuring Constantine at the fringes of a series of pupil-pupil shootings across America. The story has John railing against the congressional advisor as the demons the children face are ones created by society rather than the Hellish forces that he is comfortable with.
This is story is the kind of horror that really scares me. Never mind scientists shooting corpses for some perverse pleasure or people sodomising the decayed carcasses of dogs (both of which were featured in the last comic I read), what scares me is the horror that could be all too real. So while I love the supernatural horror genre the ones that truly get to me are films like slasher movies where there is no supernatural element only the cruelty of fellow humans. [EDIT: I found a blog entry from Warren Ellis on the release of this story today (23/4/12). He certainly succeeded in his intention with me.]
The other stories feature a heavyweight roster of writers and artists from Vertigo past and present. They include Brian Bolland, Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Garth Ennis, Peter Milligan, Eduardo Risso and Bill Willingham. These stories are of variable interest as they are playing second fiddle to the Constantine one but are mostly entertaining. One of the best features art by Bernie Wrightson in a classic horror tale. It has been a while since I have read any stories featuring Wrightson art and has made me move Roots of the Swamp Thing up in my to-read pile. Bill Willingham’s story, which he wrote and drew, is a good one featuring a nice flip on the trope of the enraged villagers of classic horror movies.