WILD THINGS

THE BEST OF THE SWAMP MON­STERS

Comic Heroes - - Front Page - First ap­pear­ance: Franken­stein # 16 ( 1948) Cre­ated by: Dick Briefer First ap­pear­ance: Marvel Team- Up # 91 ( 1980) Cre­ated by: Steven Grant and Pat Brod­er­ick First ap­pear­ance: Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles Vol. 2 # 4 ( 1994) Cre­ated by: Ryan Brown First

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.

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