The other day, I blogged about the Five Best DC Vertigo Titles, listing the top five comics in that soon to be defunct label’s history. One reader responded that I’d forgotten about Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets. Well, that would have been my number six choice. However nobody spotted the most glaring omission: Swamp Thing.
Was Swamp Thing one of the best Vertigo titles? Under Alan Moore, it was actually one of the best DC books. Period. Hence, why it was omitted from my Vertigo list. Swamp Thing’s comic history is a blip in the Vertigo output, it deserves to be mentioned in its own category (that and the fact that its strong influence on Vertigo stories is represented in my previous post by the Hellblazer run- effectively an Alan Moore era Swamp Thing spin-off).
In many ways, DC still under-uses their monster from the Swamp. This comic and character are, at this point, a staple of the DC Universe, but currently Swampy has no active monthly series of his own and is used mainly as a guest star to push the plots forward on other DC books. That seemed to be changing when the DC Universe launched the James Wan’ directed streaming series, but then – as everybody knows- the ‘Swamp Thing’ live action series was abruptly cancelled.
Even with its cancellation, however, the sales on the premiere issue of the original Swamp Thing title (and its brilliant and iconic Bernie Wrightson cover) are still going strong.
What’s more surprising, given the quality of the writing and art on this and later Swamp Thing series, is that subsequent issues in the run are not selling for stronger prices. And now there are rumors that there’s a movie in the works (see here).
It’s definitely time to again pay attention to these stirrings from the swamp….
There are actually some criminally under-valued Bernie Wrightson covers out there, many of them from the original Swamp Thing series and we can start by mentioning the classic cover to this book. Swamp Thing #1 has been hot over the last few weeks. How hot? Well, in 9.8 grade it currently has a FMV of $2, 500.00. The last 12 weeks have been mixed for owners of this book: cancelled series will do that, but it’s still managing to show strong positive returns in both 9.2 grade with positive +17.8% after 3 sales (last sale, eBay 06/17/2019 for $460.00) and 8.5 grades, with positive returns of +11% after 7 sales (last sale, eBay on 06/02/2019 for $275.50).
Here’s another underrated book from the Lein-Wrightson run: ST #3 is the first appearance of Abby Arcane. Arcane is played by actress Crystal Reed on the recent TV show, and this comic was ignored for a long time but has really been picking up in recent years. With only 330 copies on the CGC census it currently boasts a FMV of $1, 150.00. Long term returns since 2000 are very strong but the last 12 weeks (with the rise and fall of the TV show) have seen it sell for below FMV. As, for example, can be seen in the case of the 9.4 copy that sold on Heritage for $216.00 on 04/14/2019. That’s far below FMV for that grade which currently stands at: $375.00. My take on this: I think now is a good time to buy this issue.
House of Secret’s issue #92 is the very first appearance of Swamp Thing and this Alan Moore script with art by Ron Randall is a celebration of that comic. The original debut issue of ST needs no promoting, its returns are still strong but this homage has been silently appreciating over the years. Today it is worth around $300.00 in 9.8 graded condition. Returns have more or less remained steady over the last 12 weeks, but the only sale has been an 8.0 that went for $40.00 as a best offer on eBay on 06/09/2019 – well above current FMV of around $22.00 for that grade.
If DC is smart they will do with Swamp Thing, what Marvel recently pulled off with the Incredible Hulk. Embrace the history of the character and revamp it to make it come alive for a new generation. In this way, they can show that Swamp Thing is an exciting part of the DC universe; as we know he is. If they do that, they’ll also, of course, want to include John Constantine. The two recently meeting up in Brian Azzarello’s Batman Damned was a highlight of that series, and John’s first appearance is also a comic that should be on your radar if you don’t have it already. With a current FMV in 9.8 of $625.00, long term returns are again very strong. Last three months have seen a similar pattern to Swamp Thing #1, mixed with strong positive numbers on 9.0, 9.2 and 9.4 grades. The best returns over the last 12 weeks have definitely been on 9.0 with a positive +46.8% after 5 sales. Last sale: eBay fixed price on 06/26/2019 for $249.99.