Move over anime! Graphic novels here I come!
Blame it all on a walking vegetable from the swamps of Louisiana and the guy who made him famous, Alan Moore. I've been a huge fan of the guy ever since I read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen a few years back. Since then I've read a few other of his GN's like V for Vendetta and Watchmen, which erased all doubt in my mind that when it comes to comics, he's the... how do I put it... best.writer.ever. (I've been wanting to do that "period after every word for emphasis" thing for while now, hehe.) Still, my appreciation of his work never really got to the level fanaticism I had for the Sandman series. I didn't get the "Gee whiz!" feelings I got from Gaiman's tales of the Dream King. That was until I got my hands on the Saga of the Swamp thing, which some say is Moore's breakthrough work. The Swamp Thing sparked my interest while reading Jae's "DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore" where a story had the Swamp Thing save Superman from certain death. Here and in many of his cameo appearances in the different comic books, he was often a sort of deus ex machina character, always calm and wise. I even read a comic where Batman talked about him with huge respect. So naturally I was intrigued as to why a character from what I always thought was a cheap horror comic (made into cheap B movies) was so special. Fast forward to a month ago, while I was browsing the comics section at Fully Booked Gateway, I saw the first of the 6 book collection of Alan Moore's run on the Swamp Thing, I looked a bit closer and lo and behold! All 6 books were there! So 2 paydays later, my meager Alan Moore collection grew into this...
It's all mine!!*
* the "Stories of Alan Moore" collection is actually Jae's but I figured I'd use it as a placeholder for Watchmen, which I've yet to buy. Ibabalik ko na tlga next time..hehe.
So how did I find the series? These stories of Mother Nature's golden boy that drove me to my most expensive impulsive buying spree? (which isn't really that much, but for someone like me who needs 3 weeks to decide if anything over a thousand bucks is worth buying, it's a LOT)
It was absolutely f#$kin worth it! (Disclaimer: expletive for emphasis only and not in anyway an indication of my real personality)
Sure it isn't as deep, insightful and disturbing as Watchmen, but as a showcase of Moore's imagination, it was incredible. This is the best example of how a writer can single handedly turn around a little known title and turn it into a critical favorite. It was cool how in his first issue alone he totally reinvented the swamp thing from a creature with superhuman strength who only wanted to find a way to regain his old life as a human to something so much more. The stories are so varied, ranging from old fashioned horror stories about haunted houses, to interstellar travels to the ends of the universe. There's so much to describe that I don't even know where to begin. There's the story arc where he meets John Constantine (who makes his first appearance here) learns of his true nature (a plant elemental with the power to control ALL plant life on earth) and proceeds to save creation itself (with the help of various DC heroes) by an simple act of reasoning. It even ties up nicely with the DC milestone event Crisis on Infinite Earths (for those not in the know, it's a major DC comics storyline back in the 80's where they killed off hundreds of heroes to clean up the continuity mess resulting from all those parallel universe stories writers love, like Superman-1 from this version of earth and Superman-2 from another version, etc...)
Another story arc I love is one where the Swamp Thing's beloved is arrested in Gotham City for having intimate relations with the Swamp Thing. Simply put they arrested her because she was having... well.. sex with a vegetable (it involves sweet potatoes, go figure). Enraged he invades Gotham city, showing just how powerful one can get if controls all plant life (he turned Gotham into a jungle, he handed Batman a big can of Whoop-ass, and killed a man by making the lettuce in the poor guy's sandwich grow into a tree). Later on, a ten-minute consultation with Lex Luthor worth a million dollars resulted in the Swamp Things defeat. He ended up being sent to another galaxy and on his journey home he encountered another plethora of DC heroes and villains (I love it when heroes make cameo appearances) like... ok I think I'm starting to give the summary of all 6 books so I'll stop now.
Anyway, the bottom line is that Saga of the Swamp Thing is now currently ranked #2 in my all time favorite comics right after Sandman. If you like comics, you really should give it a try.