Swamp Thing annotations to Greg Plantamura

Agora há pouco, enviei este texto ao Greg Plantamura. Estou dividindo com potenciais googladores. Não é necessariamente com você.

Hello. I keep on perusing your Swamp Thing pages. Quite a job, may I insist.

Earlier today I was reading New Titans from 1993. There is a sequel to Swamp Thing #60 there!!!

Cyborg went catatonic some ten or twelve issues before New Titans #103 (Nov 1993), losing his memory and, in fact, all ability at communicating. In this issue, he is at the S.T.A.R. Labs, where Team Titans’ Prester Jon is attempting to interface with his inner circuits. Late in this issue, the cause of tampering is found to be a group of aliens who are the avatars of beings from a machine planet.

In New Titans #104 (Early Dec ’93), the Titans are brought to the aliens’ planet — lo and behold, that’s the machine planet from “Loving the Alien” (Swamp Thing #60). It transpires that Swampy’s visit, years before, brought the planet out of a stagnation state. Some of its “life” forms learned then of new ways and became curious about this “life”. As a consequence, they left their cradle and went out into the stars, seeking understanding, which ultimately led to Cyborg being hacked. I am still at this point in my reading, so I do not know where this leads, but there you have it.

In NT #104, Marv Wolfman attempts to describe the machines’ world in much the same way as Alan Moore had, but fails. Just as in ST #60, panels are disjointed from one another, and the text floats in off-narration with sentences that are not to be much understood. Anyway it lacks Moore’s spark (which, it is my feeling, was also missing from the original #60, which was very poor in my own POV — still, that was Moore, for better or for worse).

In fact, NT #104 has a two-page spread panel where the Titans arrive at a gate to the machine planet’s core. It pretty much imitates Spock’s venture into V’Ger in Star Trek: the Motion Picture — and, instead of a fixed, aloof Ilia figure, what do we have? Four Swamp Thing figures, which I believe correspond precisely enough with the Green’s four avatars selected by the Parliament of Trees for the Regenesis/Spontaneous Generation storyline — you know, Ghost Hiding In the Rushes, Kettle-hole Devil and their likes.

In my opinion, NT #104 sucks. Still, I think it a worthy reference and one you might like to purchase from online second-hand retailers such as Mile High Comics, My Comic Shop etc. etc. so you can check it for yourself. And you will have the benefit of checking the original, for I have so far only had access to Brazilian translations, which leave out some of the text.

On another note, I made a mistake years ago when I wrote to you on Swamp Thing #70. You wrote up an annotation and credited it to me (thank you), but in fact I should have referred to issue #71, and so should you. Please check! The annotation is part of the issue #70 annotations and goes like this:
“PAGES 22-23:3 João Paulo Cursino pointed out to me that the sound effects “SHLOEL BSSTTE TTLBN” sound like the artists names Bissette and Totleben. But who is Shloel?”
… except I should have referred to issue #71, where those pages were printed.

On a third note, please check Swamp Thing #34, included in the beautiful storyline of volume 2. Page 20 (to be sure: I refer to the page with text “With me.”, “With him.”, “…”) — does page 20 not depict a woman’s vulva, very clearly in front of you? You can clearly distinguish the labia, the clitoris, there’s even a lot of hair around it. I think this was the intent there. It is a beautiful piece of art by Bissette and Totleben, who managed to disguise it from moralists by making it look like a piece of plant. The things those guys managed to get away with, the madness of Moore, the best hiding of things in plain sight…

Another vulva, I think, can be found in issue #70 (“The Secret Life of Plants”), in page 17 (the one where Abby lies down on some orchids), albeit in a more symbolic sense. Please take note of the orchid’s shape.

And issue #65, page 14, panel 5 — Take note of a tire at the bottom right corner. Is the brand not “Alcalá”? :-)

Issue #66, page 2 — “Len and Berni were here 1972”. Indeed. Len Wein and Berni Wrightson created S.T. in 1972. Apparently they did so as they sat in Arkham Asylum. That explains it. :-)

Would you please check these and add them to your notes?