Never Iron Anything – Episode 65 with Eamonn Clarke.
In the new episode Tony sits down with returning co-host Eamonn Clarke and discusses one of the best comics series out there! Alan Moore’s work on this series was transformative for the industry and lifted it above the crowd at a real sweet spot of the medium.
Issue 28 of this run was by all accounts a quickly written retelling of the origin story that allowed for the regular team to carry on with their next arc. Shawn McManus stepped in with his cleaner line and along with Moore elevated what could have been a simple ghost story into something much, much more. The character of Swamp Thing by this period had discovered that rather than being a transformed Alec Holland he is in fact something more connected to the planet with only Holland’s thoughts and memories.
In the story Swamp Thing finds the skeleton of his past both literally and figuratively and after facing the reflections of his past self buries his remains and marks them with a crossed root he plucks from his own body. Meanwhile Abby begins to foreshadow the creeping horrors she will encounter in the next arc.
In this story the foul rotting and fly-infested nightmares are paused for an introspective episode. Swamp Thing strides out through his environment and takes control. He buries his past along with his uncertainty and shows that he can progress in his role as the guardian of this world. This is great writing by Moore where he makes use of narration to tragically chilling effect.
Shawn McManus works brilliantly as a fill-in artist and lends a cleaner and more straightforward style to this interlude. The colours by Tatjana Wood are more delineated than in her work with Steve Bissette and John Totleben but nonetheless capable. In fact Wood really doesn’t get enough credit for her DC Comics work – she’s quite the character!
Eamonn and Tony also talk about the backgrounds and craft of Moore, McManus and Wood along with others involved in the series. They recount the impact that this run had on them as younger men and how they continue to return to it regularly in the original and newer/different formats. Will anyone take make a Swamp Thing like this again or reach the experimentally creative heights. Let’s see shall we.
Have a listen for more conversation and examination of this series.
Tony also poses an interesting question about our comics obsession and art in a wider context. Maybe we are all just a little bit mental…..
Many thanks for listening.