Saturday, March 02, 2013


Comic Art

Swamp Thing is one of those comics that you either get or do not get. The Len Wein psychedelic comics of the 70's and 80's are revered by many in the comic book world and other read them and go "WTF?!" The Swamp Thing character has been all sorts of things - straight heroic, mystic, earth saving avatar and sometimes comic relief. When a hero has that hard a time finding his identity, so often does his arch-nemesis - never has that case been plainer than in the case of Anton Arcane - arch-nemesis of the Swamp Thing.

Arcane has been man and monster - he is both sorcerer and scientist (which makes him Doc Doom, funny how he has not achieved the same levels of success) and in movie form he has been very, very funny.

There were two Swamp Thing movies in the 1980's. One with Adrienne Barbo and the other with Heather Locklear. Neither were attempts at great film making and the second was made for about $1.50 - but it is highly entertaining. Both movies take the jumbled mess that is the Swamp Thing legend and chuck all the pretension and just have fun.

Generally comic movies suffer in comparison to the comic books because the medium does not allow for the depth of character development nor plot development that the books do. But in this case I think the movies are better than the books - they are straightforward story telling, tongue-in-cheek and highly camp. The movies are well served by Louis Jordan in the role of Arcane.
Jordan clear "got" that the movies were intended to be silly and he went for broke. He must have needed the payday to begin with becasue these movies were way below where his career had previously been, but he did not let that deter him from performing well, and in the absolute spirit of the piece.

I cannot begin to tell you how to enjoy the Swamp Thing comics without the use of mind altering substances, but I can tell you to enjoy the movies and especially the role of Arcane as portrayed by Jordan.
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