HALLOWEEN’ING Day 25: The Anatomy Lesson

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Utter the name of Alan Moore, and usually the first things to spring to mind is his seminal works Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke. (Utter the name of Alan Moore three times into a mirror, and he will appear behind you with a pint and a grumpy British disposition) Maybe the last Silver Age Superman story, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” There’s no denying that Alan Moore’s work on DC titles had a kind of magic to them. One particular character in DC’s stable that he managed to reinvent–and do so convincingly–was Swamp Thing.

Originally, Swamp Thing was a scientist that, due to sabotage, mutated into a plant-based swamp monster. When the first proper Alan Moore-penned Swamp Thing story was published in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #21, it was revealed that, rather than being a mutated version of the scientist, instead Swamp Thing was a plant elemental that absorbed the memories and personality traits of the dying scientist, and since then actually believed itself to be the scientist. After discovering the truth in this issue, well…he’s none too happy about the reveal.

My copy of this issue is the Millennium Edition reissue on the Vertigo label that was reprinted in black and white in 2000. That was during my Collecting All Things Alan Moore era. I would advise, my tender dumpling, to get the trade paperback collecting Alan Moore’s entire Swamp Thing run.

SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING, Book 1

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HALLOWEEN’ING 2016: Day 25 – House of Secrets: Foundation (Vertigo)

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During the heyday of the DC Comics imprint Vertigo, there was a short-lived but rather intriguing title House of Secrets that ran from 1996 through 1998. While it shared the same title as that of the long-running Silver Age anthology comic, it really was its own entity.

The first five issue of the Vertigo series was collected in a trade paperback in 1997, which is the format I bought in 2000 after reading about it in an issue of Wizard Magazine. I miss Wizard Magazine. Anyway, the story follows disaffected Gen X Grunge trope Rain Harper as she arrives in Seattle (of course) and eventually holes up in a derelict house with another street waif, a house that has the tendency to transform into a haunted mansion presided by the ghostly, otherworldly Juris, which is like a supernatural courtroom for souls who are harboring secrets.

This being a Vertigo series, obviously this isn’t for the squeamish. This is really more dark, psychological horror than visceral body horror, which goes more for a slow cold crawl into the psyche. Think Turn of the Screw for the Nirvana crowd.

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