The Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing – by Charles Vess

I have always been obsessed with mythology and stories, and the Green Man has always been an especially powerful symbol for me. Plants that think they might be human appear often in my artwork, and the Green Man will still drop by from time to time in my drawings to say “hello”.

Maybe this is why I was so fascinated by Alan Moore’s run on the Swamp Thing. Alan Moore can be a little hit and miss at times, and the Swamp Thing is no exception (some of the story arcs can be a little tedious), but the way he developed this character was incredible.

The Swamp Thing is the most recent in a long line of  earth elementals in charge of  “the Green”. He is made up of vegetable matter, and in tune with all plants. He can even grow whole new body for himself from, say, a flower or chickpea… even if that chickpea is on the other side of the world, he can still sense its potential in the Green and transfer his consciousness there! Oh Yeah! Sometimes he was at odds with “the Red” (Meat), but always understands that everything is connected.

When Swamp Thing was asked in Murder of Crows the purpose of evil, I knew I loved this character.

“Q: Little thing, will you tell me the purpose of evil?”

A: I have seen evil, it’s cruelty, the randomness with which it ravages the innocent and guilty alike. I have not understood it.

 “I asked the Parliament of Trees, whose knowledge is older and greater than mine. They seemed to insist that there was no evil. But I have seen evil, and their answer was incomprehensible to me.


“And yet, they spoke of aphids eating leaves, bugs eating aphids, themselves finally devoured by the soil. Feeding the foliage. They asked where evil dwelled within this cycle, and told me to look at the soil. Black soil is rich in foul decay, yet glorious life springs from it. However dazzling the flourishes of life, in the end, all decays to the same black humus.

“Perhaps evil is the humus formed by virtues decay, and perhaps it is from that dark sinister loam that virtue grows strongest? I do not know…”

YAY Swamp Thing!

Saga of the Swamp Thing

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