Monday, January 29, 2007

Mystery of the Swamp SOLVED!

It's been a long-standing and accepted mystery as to who copied who in the case of Swamp Thing vs. Man-Thing. In 1971, Marvel came out with the Man-Thing only one month before DC put Swamp Thing in House of Secrets, but both are green swamp monsters made of vegetable matter who came into being when a scientist doused in chemicals fell into the muck. Real close, right? Industrial espionnage (i.e. comics creators being loud and drunk in a New York tavern)? Simple synchronicity? Jung's Archetype Revenge? We would never know.

And then, while I was rummaging through Airboy covers (based on the strength of his bulldozing a mammoth, I finally solved it*: Neither of them were first!!! In December 1942, Hillman Periodicals introduced the Heap! Now tell me he doesn't look familiar!
I mean, come on. That little root for a nose makes him a direct precursor to the Man-Thing, and I think that Eclipse Comics wasn't in the wrong in pointing it out in their revamped Airboy series as much as they possibly could. You'd swear this was the worst comics crossover of all time:

In your face, Marvel!I guess you could say Swamp Thing is the more original character because he is more generic. Oh, the irony! So you can keep fighting boys...

The Buyer's Guide #439 (April 16, 1982) - art by Nestor Redondo

We all know who's really at the top of the Heap.
*I am not the first to solve the mystery**, as any small amount of Googling will prove, but I'm definitely the first person to point it out to myself... umm... yeah.**In fact, Todd MacFarlane currently holds the license for the Heap, but he totally chickened out on making the Heap anything like Man-Thing.

6 comments:

Mark Engblom said...

Now you just need to solve who came first:

1. The X-Men or the Doom Patrol? (collection of freaks and outcasts headed up by a man in a wheelchair)

2. The Vision or the Red Tornado? (two android assassins sent to infiltrate the target super-team, then rejected their programming to join said super-team...with near-constant whining about being not-human ever since).

Siskoid said...

Ahhh the great Angst Mystery and the great Emo Mystery!

Do I even dare open those Pandora's boxes?

Mark Engblom said...

Why in God's name would Todd MacFarlane buy the license to the friggin' Heap? To satiate that demand for swamp monster comics? The next smash-hit action figure? Chia Pets? What?

Fortress Keeper said...

Some of those Golden Age Heap stories a pretty great, if you ever get a chance to read one.

Siskoid said...

Why in God's name would Todd MacFarlane buy the license to the friggin' Heap? To satiate that demand for swamp monster comics? The next smash-hit action figure? Chia Pets? What?

A Heap, Swamp Thing or Man-Thing chia might find its way to my Christmas wish list, but apparently, MacFarlane purchased all of Eclipse's assets. The only reason we haven't seen the return of Airboy yet is that he's more difficult to over-render.

Some of those Golden Age Heap stories a pretty great, if you ever get a chance to read one.

I wasn't really thinking about it before, but now, you've planted that desire in my head. Damn you, Mr. Keeper!!!

The Dude said...

I think Swamp Thing would have won in a show down. the Man-Thing's burn touch wouldn't have really harmed swampy much and once swampy gets pissed off enough the bad vibes would have "over loaded" man-thing. something similiar to that happened when man-thing when up against the She-Hulh.