Love & Death

Landing #96 in Top 100!

SwampThingBook2hccvrI mentioned two days ago the release of the new DC/Vertigo Swamp Thing hardcover collection, which happens to include the so-called “Love and Death” stories (or at least part of them; I still haven’t seen the collection myself).

Coincidentally, Shannon Weathers, bless him, emailed me the following link yesterday:

  • Comic Book Resources post from Brian Cronin of the “TOP 100 COMIC BOOK STORYLINES #100-91″ — with over 850 votes cast, at #96 is Swamp Thing: Love and Death (the second DC/Vertigo paperback collection) by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, Rick Veitch and John Totleben (Saga of the Swamp Thing 28-34 & Annual #2)!
  • We scored “101 points (2 first place votes),” which is pretty amazing to me.

    For a change, John Totleben and I aren’t ignored, either. Brian Cronin concludes his writeup, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben are almost shocking at the level of excellence they reach on this storyline – from the darkness of the early story (Bissette‘s zombies are gruesome) to the tender euphoria of their love-making (like a kaleidoscope has exploded), they master it all.” Thanks, Brian (and thanks again, Shannon, for bringing this to my attention).

    Note, however, that Rick Veitch is uncredited, which is unfair.

    Rick is also uncredited in the first Swamp Thing hardcover collection (I’ve pushed for Rick getting credit for his part in pencilling various pages from SOTST #21 up for literally decades now, but DC won’t acknowledge it), and more unforgivably in the initial DC/Vertigo Swamp Thing second hardcover promotions, though Rick pencilled his first solo issue (SOTST #31, December 1984, “The Brimstone Ballet”) in this run.

    That was the issue in which Saga of the was dropped from the title masthead, too, and we were in our “Sophisticated Suspense” phase, with our work no longer submitted to the Comics Code Authority — the birth, in hindsight, of Vertigo.

    So, why no credit or byline for Rick on the book or in the promo? Shawn McManus is (rightfully) referenced in DC‘s promo for the second collection. What gives?

    John and I long ago gave up the hope of ever being credited for co-plotting some of our run on the series. That was a Faustian bargain struck in 1984 to ensure DC reimbursed us for our massive phone bills (calls to the UK and Erie, PA weren’t cheap, and our collaboration predated FAX and the internet, folks). At the time, Alan usually made sure John and I were acknowledged for our efforts in interviews, and Alan has always acknowledged Rick‘s work on the series (as have John and I and editor Karen Berger, in interviews); of course, that has changed over the years for a variety of reasons I won’t go into here.

    But this latest ignoring of Rick‘s key role in the series — even on issues he’s always been properly and fully credited for in the comics themselves — is curious indeed.

    There are other, related omissions I should mention here, too.

  • I have to forgive Greg Plantamura completely ignoring my many Myrant posts on Swamp Thing (nary a mention of my extensive SOTST #20 analysis earlier this year, for instance); his Annotations for Swamp Thing are so comprehensive, he even caught the ‘missing page’ from Alan and Rick‘s SOTST #31 reprint in the Love and Death paperback collection — click this link, then click on #31 in the “ALAN MOORE ERA Issues” menu at the top of the page.
  • Greg writes, “In 1990, DC Comics collected/reprinted issues 28-34 and SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2 in a book titled “Swamp Thing: Love and Death”, but excludes page 9. That page was included in the September 1997 reprint, but only in black and white.”

    As I said in my earlier post, DC/Vertigo have made more than a few errors over the years with the reprints, and to my knowledge have never asked for input from any of the creators involved.

    That wasn’t sour grapes from me, just stating the facts. C’est la vie. Again, I’m hoping this second hardcover collection isn’t plagued with such omissions or errors.

    Anyhoot, cheers to Comic Book Resources and Brian Cronin; cheers to the voters who voted our Swamp Thing story arc into the Top 100 (read the comments on that post, too, for more on that process); and cheers again to Shannon for bringing this to my attention.


    Colleen Frakes’ New Graphic Novel Online!

    The Trials of Lady Colleen Yields New Invention:
    National Graphic Novel Creation Month!!!

    When I think about how much time, blood, sweat, tears and multiple hands (from Alan, John, Rick, Tatjana etc. to Karen Berger and the DC staff involved) went into our serialized SOTST ‘graphic novel’ (Eddie Campbell will take me to task for that reference one day), I’m eternally astonished at how completely graphic novels are ingrained in the creative lives of the new generation of cartoonists — like, for instance, the Center for Cartoon Studies students and alumni.


    CCS Pioneer Class Alumni and 2009 Ignatz Award winner Colleen Frakes just this week completed her latest graphic novel.

    After 30 days of work.

    How does she do it?

    By just doing it.


    It’s a new mindset, the new paradigm, the new reality; post-24 Hour Comics (which, remember, Scott McCloud invented as a challenge for yours truly originally), we’re in a new era of whirlwind graphic novel creation – the 30-day, 100-page graphic novel! – and amazingly enough good work is coming out of it.

    Right out of the starting gate, in fact.

    Only time can prove what of this will stand the test of time, but I wanted to be sure to bring to your attention Colleen‘s November 2009 accomplishment, The Trials of Sir Christopher – and, furthermore, what this portends.

    Colleen has invented National Graphic Novel Creation Month.

    She has done so without fanfare, and is no doubt cursing my name as she reads this. Sorry, Colleen, but somebody has to say it, and recognize what it is you’ve done here.

  • Here’s Colleen‘s announcement on her blog, that she was going to adapt the popular National Novel Writing Month to her own needs — and thus invented the first-ever (to my knowledge) National Graphic Novel Creation Month.
  • TrialsSirChris1aNow, this is major. This is, I believe, right up there with Scott inventing the 24-Hour Comic — and hey, I was there for that, first in line after Scott.

    At the time, it was a private challenge, just something we were doing, for ourselves.

    And the 24-Hour Comic grew from there.

    Similarly, this was just something Colleen was doing. A private challenge. And she’s done it.

    This is history in the making, folks. Colleen invented this (correct me, please, if I’m wrong).

    In her unassuming blog post, Colleen wrote:

    “Questions Nobody is Asking:

    Q: Only 100 pages? That’s not a real graphic novel.

    A: That’s right. And 50,000 words isn’t much of a novel.

    But, there are plenty of novels out there that are only about 50,000 words (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Great Gatsby, so Wikipedia tells me), and there are plenty of comics out there that are under 100 pages and calling themselves graphic novels (Houdini the Handcuff King and George Sprott are both 96 pages).

    Q: Hasn’t this been done?

    A: Probably. Hasn’t everything?

    Closest examples I can think of are Far Arden, which was more a series of 24 Hour Comics done over a year (it’s pretty amazing, you should read it and buy it).

    I know there are other cartoonists out there doing their own NaNoWriMo-like challenges as well- Hey Pais is the first one that comes to mind.

    Q: Are you going to set up a website for this and invite other people to take on the challenge?

    A: Nope, can’t be bothered.

    I’ll post the pages on the blog, or you can see them on flickr.”

    And so she has –

  • – the completed graphic novel is here, fresh and still hot from the ove — uh, drawing board.
  • I’m not the first to congratulate you, Colleen, I know. But, CONGRATS, and let me make sure, to the best of my ability, this accomplishment is recognized.

    Hopefully, this blog post will be read and spread the news. 

    Kudos to you, Colleen, and what an inspiration…

    Take a breather!



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