THE BEST OF THE SWAMP MONSTERS
Frankenstein (okay, pedants, Frankenstein’s monster) starred in an eponymous humour title from Prize Comics, characterised as a big, wellmeaning lunk. In this short, one-off tale, the creepy radio show which Frankenstein and his friend Roger Rodgers co-present is broadcasting live from Borgo Swamp. Their plan is to record an encounter with a shuddersome inhabitant the Swamp Spirit.
The creature attacks, and Frankenstein, in the process of defeating it, gets so covered with mud that locals mistake him for the bog beastie. When the truth is revealed, Frankenstein and Roger are accused of perpetrating a hoax, and their show is cancelled. Moral of the story? Don’t mess with swamp monsters unless there’s a shower handy.
9Muck Monst er
The Muck Monster – a dead ringer for a certain Man-Thing – makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo appearance in issue #91 of Marvel Team-Up as part of a carnival sideshow. Among the audience is one Peter Parker, who then, in the guise of his arachnid alter ego, joins forces with Ghost Rider to combat the soul-stealing menace of Moondark the Magician. The Muck Monster gets a larger role in 1991’s Marvel Tales #256, which reprints the Team-Up story and adds a brand new back-up feature. The latter strip, written by future Spider-scribe supreme Dan Slott, pits the quagmire Quasimodo and a couple of his fellow carny freaks (six-armed Six and apelike Gorilla Girl) against Hulk foes Hammer and Anvil. There have been no further sightings of the character in recent years. Maybe Man-Thing sued over copyright infringement.
7Bog, Bog, Swamp SWAMP DEMON
Beginning life as a back-up feature in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bog swiftly graduated to his own title, published by indie outfit Hall of Heroes. Bog’s true name is Bauggroth and he’s a lesser demon who inhabits a body made of earth, weeds and wood, having clawed his way up out of Hell by means of… But let Bog himself explain how he managed it: “Through an ancient, twisted alchemy, I conjured forth a force rooted deep in the Chaldean enchantments! And mingling it with the sorcerous soup in this Circean swamp, I’ve become what I am today…!!”
Bog is, clearly, more verbose than the average gloop golem, but that and a dollop of religious angst aside, his adventures are fairly – wait for it – bog-standard. 8It!
It! is the seminal swampmonster short story by SF grandmaster Theodore Sturgeon. First published in a 1940 issue of pulp magazine Unknown, the tale centres on a plant-based monstrosity which has coalesced around a human skeleton and terrorises a backwoods community before being destroyed by water.
The comics adaptation, in the debut issue of Marvel’s principal Bronze Age horror anthology series Supernatural Thrillers, is faithful to the source material. Writer Roy Thomas reproduces plenty of Sturgeon’s lush and measured prose, to the accompaniment of sumptuously detailed art by Marie Severin and Frank Giacoia.
6Bog BOG Beast BEAST
The Atlas Comics line was never slow in cribbing from its competitors. At a time when swamp monsters were all the rage, an Atlas version was inevitable, and thus was born Bog Beast.
Bog Beast differs from his inspirations in that he is an explorer from a subterranean realm who has come to the surface world. His mission is to study humankind and save his own race, who are being killed by gas seeping from the Earth’s core. The mute Bog Beast is a sensitive soul, as appalled by our capacity for violence as the people he encounters are appalled by his hideous appearance.