Arguably the most famous and respected graphic novel writer in the history of the format, Alan Moore is a legend in the field. His works have been hailed as brilliant, and over the past quarter century, the prolific writer has managed to create some of the most memorable works in comics history.
All of which started with this work here. Moore first made a name for himself in the American comics market with Saga of the Swamp Thing. Within the pages of this monthly comic book, which he began writing in 1984, Moore took an underdeveloped monster comic and transformed it into a creepy, surreal horror series. But more than that, it was a brilliant, cerebral, and challenging piece of art.
Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book One reprints the first books in Moore’s impressive run on the series, and it begins with the never-before-reprinted issue #20, wherein Alan Moore takes over the series from its previous writer and has to tie up the story lines left dangling. Appropriately titled “Loose Ends,” it leads into the definitive “Anatomy Lesson,” in which Swamp Thing learns the truth about his elemental nature (previously, he had believed himself to be a human being who had been turned into a swamp monster). The simplicity of his naïveté and the pain and hurt he feels in reaction are just part of the special touches Moore gives; ironically, it makes Swamp Thing more human. And that’s just one of many, many gifts Moore possesses as a writer.
From there, Moore launches into one of the most chilling and spine-tingling runs in comics history. In these pages, Moore shook up an entire industry and showed everyone what the form could deliver. If you haven’t seen it yet, you owe it to your self to check it out. It’s that good.
Reviewed by John Hogan on February 10, 2009
Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1