For years, when people asked me why I bothered reading comics, I would point them in the direction of Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing. Not only is it a beautifully illustrated and powerfully written work of counterculture storytelling, it’s also a testament to the true potential of the graphic novel medium. For many people – myself included – this comic came with a moment of awakening, in the style of: ‘Whoa, I had no idea comics could do that’.
A brief synopsis. Our hero is Swamp Thing, an elemental representative of ‘the green’ – the hive mind of all plant life on Earth. In Moore’s editions, Swamp Thing takes the human form of Alec Holland, a plant scientist who suffers a terrible tragedy and goes on a series of spine-tingling, occasionally psychedelic and deeply moving adventures, mostly set in a swamp. The stories are characterised for being highly philosophical and politically challenging, very much in line with the rest of Moore’s oeuvre, such as ‘Watchman’ and ‘V for Vendetta’.
I recommend The Saga of Swamp Thing to anyone yearning for a modern-age Green Man to come and protect our wild world using only the power of vines and roots, weeds and blooms. – Philip Webb Gregg