|By AL J. Vermette
On a dark lonely night, you enter the bog knowing of all the terrors that lie within could at any moment
take your life, and yet you proceed within. Leaving your logical side behind you as you search for a
creature that the locals say lives in the deepest parts of the swamp. As your boat moves through the
murky waters, you wonder to yourself if the stories are true or are the townsfolk are nothing more than
pulling your leg. And yet you go on thinking that the discovery of this creature could win you the long-
awaited recognition you crave in your career in cryptozoology.
Suddenly your boat is capsized by something large as you are flung into the cold muddy water. As
your head breaks the surface, you see the source of the attack, an enormous alligator is coming directly at
you with his killer jaws open wide. As you beg for a quick and painless death something suddenly
emerges from out of the swamp and attacks the giant reptile. Clearing the dirty water from your eyes, you
spot a large man-shaped creature lift the gator over its head and throw the beast across the swamp. As
the reptile swims away, the thing that just saved you leers down upon you forcing you to fear it more than
the beast that just tried to kill you.
A moment later, the immense creature turns your boat back over and points for you to get in. As you
do, you realize that this is the monster everyone is talking about, his body is covered in green vines and
muck as though he is made of the very environment from where he lives. Then in a deep somber voice, the
creature spoke to me.
“Leave this evil place and never return.”
With my heart pounding, I realized that I just met the Swamp Thing.
Created for the pages of DC Comics, Swamp Thing was the brainchild of artist Bernie Wrightson and
writer Len Wein and made his comic debut in House of Secrets Number 92 in July of 1971. Swamp Thing
then got his own series in October of 1972 in Swamp Thing Number 1. The creature is a self-aware being
that was once human by the name of Alex Olsen in the original story and later renamed Alec Holland for
further incantations. Holland was a scientist who while working on the genetic sequence of plants was
accidentally turned into a creature born from the swamp.
Much like his green Marvel Comics counterpart The Hulk, Swamp Thing is the hero of his story and not
a monstrous villain to be feared. Although sadly unlike The Hulk, poor Alec Holland cannot return to his
human form ever again and must remain the rest of his life looking like a monster. His motivations are
simply to protect his new home, the marsh area surrounding a Louisiana town. Protect the innocent
people who enter his domain and rid the region of evildoers.
Swamp Thing first stepped off the pages of DC Comics in 1982 in his own feature film directed by
Wes Craven. Released on February 19th with a budget of 3 million, Swamp Thing the movie stared
Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise playing the creature in his human form. But it was stuntman/ actor Dick
Durock in the rubber suit as Swamp Thing that stole the show. Somewhere between a horror movie and
comedy, there was the story of a man who turns into a monster and must become the hero to save the girl
and beat the villain, Anton Arcane, played by former Dracula actor Louis Jourdan.
In 1989 fans of the swamp monster got a sequel in The Return of Swamp Thing starring the always
lovely Heather Locklear and returning as the beast to her beauty, Dick Durock returning in the role of
Swamp Thing. The sequel would also see a new creature suit design for the actor Dick Durock to perform
in. This new suit looked much more like a creature who was made from the swampy environment from
where he was created and was a much step up in design and function. Unlike the latex suit from the
original film, this new design didn’t just look better, but also didn’t leak when the actor was filming scenes
where he had to be in the water. This suit would also carry over to the live-action TV series a year later.
On July 27th, 1990, the USA Network premiered Swamp Thing the series with Dick Durock reprising
his role as the title character. The 30-minute series would follow its human cast (mostly of kids and young
adults) who would get into trouble in or near the swamp and have to be saved by the creature who is very
much the hero of the series. By this point, his third outing as the swamp monster, Dick Durock truly out
does himself and performs it to the fullest. Each episode he would face off with human villains, monsters,
eco-terrorists you name it, and although the show was a little silly at times, it was a bunch of fun. In fact, the
series was far better than both films and ran 3 seasons with a, impressive episode count of 72 shows.
Interesting to note here that actor Dick Durock also played in an episode of The Incredible Hulk TV
series as another hulk-like creature before becoming the Hulk’s counter monster in the first Swamp Thing
movie. It seems Durock can’t stay away from big green monsters apparently.
Swamp Thing even had his own animated TV series also in 1990 that made its debut on Halloween of
that year. The Animated series although sadly short-lived was produced by none other than Swamp
Things creator Len Wein and was broadcasted on Fox. Because of its nature and is aimed mainly at kids,
any violence was toned down and the creature himself less scary to please its younger viewers. Toys and
action figures soon came on the scene as a tie-in to the animated series as well. Even though the Swamp
Thing cartoon series only lasted 5 short episodes, they were re-shown on CBS, NBC, the Sci/Fi Channel,
and a network in the UK.
The next 19 years for Swamp Thing would be quiet with only appearances in comic book formats until
in 2019 when an all-new TV series emerged from the depths and brought the big green guy back to the
world of live-action. Debuting on the DC Universe streaming service on May 31, 2019, the new series ran
for 10 episodes before surprisingly being canceled. However, the CW Network has picked up the show
and re-running all 10 episodes on their channel into the end of 2020 with a possible new order for more
shows by the producers in 2021. I personally hope that this is the case and The CW orders new episodes
to be shot as this is a really good show.
Sadly since Dick Durock has passed on in 2009, actor and stuntman Derek Mears best known for
playing Jason Voorhees in the 2009 reboot of Friday The 13th stepped in to play the title swamp monster.
Crystal Reed known for her role in Teen Wolf TV series plays Doctor Abby Arcane (and no it’s not what
you think) who comes home to her childhood small town in Louisiana working for the CDC and tries to
discover the source of a wave of murders caused by a living plant-like living entity. The entity is also
responsible for turning Doctor Alec Holland into the creature known as the swamp thing.
The suit used in this new series is spot on to that of Swamp Thing in the comics and looks amazing.
With a combo use of an actor in a suit combined CGI enhancement, the new creature looks most
impressive and as Derek Mears portrayal stands out and is every bit as good as the man who originally
wore the costume nearly twenty years earlier.
At the time of this article, it is still up in the air if The CW will bring back Swamp Thing for a season two
but we can only hope. As far as a comic book, movie, and TV hero goes, Swamp Thing has everything a
comic book fan can ever want. He is fun, cool, and the hero despite being a monster himself. One can
easily see his appeal the fans have for this character and I’m sure we have not seen the last of Swamp