Dec 29, 2014
I can’t possibly explain why I loved Marvel’s “Man-Thing” comics of the 1970s so much. The closest I can get would be to say that writer Steve Gerber – creator of the immortal Howard the Duck – had a flair for crazy and leave it at that.
JON B. COOKE podcast excerpt: "Swamp Thing or Man-Thing? Definitely Swamp Thing. He's resonate. It's a romance about a monster and a woman. It's just been transcendent. After all, that's what Alan Moore's version of the character is. And the origin of the character was based on one of the creators who was rather forlorn at the time and it was a perfect project to work out his sadness. The argument is, was it (writer) Len Wein or (artist) Bernie Wrightson? Len says it was Bernie; Bernie says it was Len!"
And while Marvel had its Man-Thing, DC Comics had its “Swamp Thing” – similar to the naked eye, but completely different in style, execution and tone. Both characters were once humans whose lives went horribly wrong, but only Swamp Thing retained enough of his humanity to think like a man. As for Man-Thing, he operated entirely on emotions. Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing’s touch! When I heard that my old friend Jon B. Cooke had put together an entire book, Swampmen: Muck-Monsters and Their Makers, I knew it would be of interest to only a narrow audience. But so what? If Cooke shares my appreciation of the genre enough to gather supporting creator interviews and representative artwork, who am I to deny him the opportunity to spread the word to the faithful?
JON B. COOKE podcast excerpt: "There is a humanity that seems to be intact in the Swampmen characters. There is a distant memory within Man-Thing that he wants to help the young people in the swamp."
Cooke, incidentally, is the editor of two prominent magazines, Comic Book Artist and Comic Book Creator. He and I first were introduced almost a dozen years ago when we were working on complementary Will Eisner historical projects. He and his brother, Andrew, produced the documentary film, Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist, and I wrote the only authorized Eisner biography, Will Eisner: A Spirited Life, which is being re-released March 25 in a deluxe format for the first time. (Hint, hint.)
Jon B. Cooke Website • Facebook • Goodreads • LinkedIn • Order Swampmen: Muck-Monsters of the Comics from Amazon.com