Saga of Swamp Thing Book One HC Hardcover – Feb 17 2009
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"An influential fantasy author for almost a quarter century."
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The Marvel and Other Short Stories is a collected anthology of six short stories written by the winners of the Austin Macauley World Book Day short story competition. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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This volume has two major boons over the previously released paperback version of the TPB from 1998:
1. The obvious one: the hardcover is nice for damage mitigation, and is a nice presentation.
2. The important one: the hardcover version contains issue #20, which is actually the first one written by Moore (but illustrated by Dan Day not Stephen Bissette), the *previous version* of the TPB does not.
That being said, I was disappointed that they didn't go with a higher grade paper for this hardcover volume, something glossy would have been nice. Unfortunately it is the same newspaper-print stock type paper that was used in the paperback (were it not for this I would have rated it 5 stars easily).
Another issue, probably due to the fact that I pre-ordered the book and it was shipped the day it was released: the cover feels sticky, like the ink isn't completely dry. We'll see if that goes away after a few days.
All in all a great book. If you don't already have the paperback TPB definitely pick this up. Even if you do, you will probably want to get this version for issue #20 if you are a die hard Moore fan.
*edit* Decided to update this based on a user comment. I noted that the previous version of the TBD does not have issue 20. The new version, basically the same as this hardback, does contain that issue.
I know it sounds bizarre, but as Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. You can read about it elsewhere on the web, including the blog of artist Stephen Bissette and the DC message boards.
Having said that, yes these are absolutely great stories. (The dream sequence in one of the chapters brought tears to my eyes.) I wouldn't tell you not to buy the book because of those missing words...especially now that you can put them in mentally yourself. But you might want to wait until they do a second (hopefully corrected!) printing...or look for one of those first paperback editions (which won't have issue #20, though).
Imagine my disappointment when I took the plastic wrapping off the volume.
First, the pages are printed on the same paper stock as the tradepaperback editions. I know the price of the volume reflects this low-quality paper, but I would have been happy to pay extra to get a high-quality product. Isn't that the point in buying a hardback of something you can get in a paperback for significantly less cost?
Second, the dustjacket was obviously designed by someone unfamiliar with the limitations of offset printing. As I know from my profession, you do NOT print on wax paper type paper. The ink will never completely dry on this type of paper. Unfortunately, that's the material they decided to use for this volume's dustjacket. It's sticky because of the wet ink, and a moderately-pressured wipe of the dustjacket will result in a black smudged finger or cloth. I have yet to risk placing it in my bookshelf with the rest of my volumes, for fear of it leaving ink on the volumes that sandwich.
All that said, would I buy future volumes of this hardback series? Absolutely...but only because I'm such a hardcore fan. And these issues ARE completely amazing. However, unless you're also a hardcore fan, I would have to recommend the tradepaperbacks as a more reasonable option for the money-versus-quality rationale.
What Alan Moore did was look at Swamp Thing and find that his origin made no sense so he completely reinvented the character. At the time I wasn’t super thrilled but looking back it was absolutely the right thing to do. Swamp Thing was no longer a man turned into a monster, he was a plant who thought he was a man. One of the most indelible moments in a sea of indelible moments was when the Swamp Thing fully accepted who he was. During a battle between The Monkey King and Ertigan the Demon, Abigail Cable urges Swamp Thing to flee as there are two monsters and Swamp Thing replies ‘Three Monsters… Run’. 33 years after that line was written I’ve always remembered it. I can remember so many specific lines and particular pieces of art and I’m the type of person who can barely remember comics I read a month ago. That is how hard these stories hit.
It would be a terrible miscarriage of justice to not include Stephen Bissette and John Totleben along with Moore as the reasons for success. Alan Moore’s writing is so good that even when paired with artists of modest skills *ahem* Eddie Campbell *ahem* he can still produce a masterpiece but in this case he couldn’t have asked for better artists. Not only are Bissette and Totleben fantastic artists they’re skills perfectly match Alan Moore’s horror writing. Dare I say they outdo even the legendary Bernie Wrightson? There is such an incredible creepiness and otherworldliness to the art and again they shine no greater than in the Monkey King story line. The Monkey King is meant to be the literal embodiment of fear and if you’ve ever read this story you will never forget the image of true horror.
If you’ve never read Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing do yourself a huge favor and read every issue. There is NOTHING like it being produced today and Moore puts to shame any modern writers. In fact Alan Moore today cannot match the work he produced in the 80’s. It can be argued whether or not Swamp Thing is his best ever but I would definitely say that this was written during Moore’s peak. This is the greatest era of comic’s greatest writer. Read Swamp Thing, read Watchmen, read Miracleman and prepare to be changed. These are life altering comics and I was privileged to read all of them when they were first published.
Let me finish off with a brief rant. What do Green Arrow by Kevin Smith, Identity Crisis and All-Star Batman and Robin have in common? They all have Absolute Editions. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing does not have an Absolute Edition. Swamp Thing does not have an Omnibus Edition and currently no hard cover edition being sold on Amazon. How is that right? Swamp Thing deserves the royal treatment not some afterthought effort. Swamp Thing is not some historical DC footnote. It is a series that has continued off and on for over 40 years including up and until today. There IS an audience. Do it DC and make it right.