Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saga of the Swamp Thing # 21

Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: Stephen Bissette, John Totleben, Tatjana Wood
Publisher: DC
Published: February 1984

The last few years I've been guilty of buying comics based on art alone. Story was always important, but art became even more important. Often the artwork or cover art will dictate if I buy a comic. If the story's good, then that's just a bonus.

After reading a recent 5 issue mini series, which I bought based on the cover art, I was forcibly reminded of how important, nay, vital, story is. Directly after finishing reading the last issue of this mini series, I picked up my Vol 1. Saga of the Swamp Thing and broke into the first issue of this collection. Reading it was like a fresh rain during a drought.

The art is fantastic, and I love it, but in one small paragraph, Alan Moore reminded me of how great prose can be. Below is an excerpt:

(Setup - Swamp Thing origin: Alec Holland is working on a top secret bio-plant formula. The experiment is sabotaged, with Holland and his wife killed during an explosion. Alec flings himself into the swamp, covered in his formula. This transforms Alec into the Swamp Thing. He then tries to restore his humanity. Swamp Thing is later killed, frozen, and in the possession of the Sunderland Corp. The excerpt is regarding Swamp Things rebirth and anger at the person who has held him captive.)

The old man shouldn't be in any real danger at all... long as the creature hasn't read my notes.

But if he has read my notes...

You see, throughout his miserable existence, the only thing that could have kept him sane was the hope that he might one day regain his humanity...the knowledge that under all the slime he was still Alec Holland. But if he's read my notes he'll know that just isn't true. He isn't Alec Holland. He never will be Alec Holland. He never was Alec Holland.

He's just a ghost. A ghost dressed in weeds. I wonder how he'll take it? And I wonder how the old man will take it...when the doors won't open?

He'll pound. He'll hammer. He'll wheeze and he'll scream and he will not be able to comprehend how this could be happening to him...the old reptile.

And will there be blood? I don't know. I don't know if there will be blood. It isn't important. It won't spoil things if there is no blood. The blood doesn't matter. Just the dying.

The dying's all that matters.

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