...a long, mournful wail that writhes through the gnarled cypress branches like a breath of Hades' wind, skipping over the placid surface of the stagnant mire below... That's the first sentence of Swamp Thing #1, by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, all the way back in November of 1972. The character has been almost continuously published since that date, and has germinated (HA!) two films, two TV shows (live action and animated, the latter of which had a spectacular theme song) as well as tons of toys, fan art, cosplay and so on. The comic has been written by some of the most spectacular talents in the business, including Alan Moore, Rich Veitch, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughan, Joshua Dysart and Scott Snyder, to name a few (and I put those names in publication order - not trying to imply any preference). Swamp Thing has always been a home for incredible, mind-stretching ideas. At its most basic level, it's a story about a man turned into a plant-based swamp monster, who is also a sort of champion of the environment, specifically its vegetation. But in the hands of those very talented scribes, Swamp Thing became much more than just a spookshow. Swamp Thing has covered virtually every aspect of the human experience (despite having a giant lettuce as its main character.) It's an incredible book, and well worth your time if you haven't read it.
So, it is incredibly humbling to be the guy taking over the writing reins for the next little while on the title. First of all, I'm not sure that I'll ever come up with something that will beat that first sentence I included up above. On the other hand, I don't think the point of writing a book with a long history like Swamp Thing or any other DC character is to compete with or try to duplicate what's gone before. I have an opportunity to write Swamp Thing the way I want to write him, and that's exactly what I plan to do, come what may. I hope people enjoy my take on the character, but even if they don't, I know I'll have written scenes and lines I think are cool. And really, isn't that the point? That's why I've worked as hard as I have to get an opportunity like Swamp Thing. I hope it's the first of many, but even if this is the only title I ever work on for DC (or Marvel, for that matter), it's still amazing that it's happened at all.
The response to the announcement has been incredibly gratifying - the worst thing I've seen on message boards and Twitter is "...who?", and that's been intermixed with tons of support and folks wishing me well (from people I know and people I don't). We'll see how it goes, but it definitely seems like people will be reading. In particular, I'd like to single out Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette, the book's current creative team, who have been super helpful both behind the scenes and in public. It's a big deal to be taking over a title from two such brilliant fellows, and their support means a ton.
Now, as far as what I'm going to be doing on the book... well, I don't want to get too specific, because I think a lot of the joy in experiencing entertainment in any medium is coming to it as fresh as possible. If you want a few hints, though, you can read the interview I did over at i09 to coincide with the announcement that I'm the new writer. Another, more general indication, can be seen here:
That lovely tweet pretty much sums up what I want to do. Anything and everything goes, except a boring Swampy.
The interior art on the book will be handled by Kano, and I'll tell you, from what I've seen he's going to absolutely KILL it (in the best way.) Covers are by Andy Brase, and... likewise. The first piece of art from my run to be released is the unfinished cover you can see below:
Beautiful, no? Just wait until you see the final version.
My first issue will hit in April 2013, probably the first week. If you want to stay up to date on Swamp Thing and other things I have going on, the best way is to follow me on Twitter, or keep checking this space. See you in the funnybooks!