Monday, November 27, 2006

Having One's Head Up One's --

I reckon I'm just too distracted with the house & moving chores to keep my own head straight. Ah, leave it to Bob Heer (thanks, Bob!) to remind me of the particulars of my own career:

"Actually, there's still the stories you wrote in ANNUAL #4, which could be in the next volume, plus the handful of pre-Alan Moore stories drawn by you and John Totleben that still haven't been reprinted. Plus the first Moore story without you but with Totleben. Not sure if those will ever see reprinting, but a few years ago I wouldn't have thought the Veitch run would be available again (I wonder if they've decided how to handle the end of Veitch's run)."

That's right, actually -- how is it I forgot completely the "Fungus Amongus" Batman crossover story (my sole Pat Broderick collaborative effort) and the rather sweet little backup story Mike Hoffman illustrated? Stupid, stupid Bissette creature! [Stupider still, I originally misidentified the artists in this post -- Bob cleared me up on that, too, see comments -- stupider, stupider Bissette creature!]

As for the earlier work -- I doubt any of that will ever see light of day, but you never know. Actually, John started working on SOTST with Yeates with issue #2 -- uncredited -- and did some later credited work on the series. I laid out SOTST #8 uncredited (though Tom snuck my signature under the tail of one of the battling dinos on the splash page -- turn it upside-down, and there's my sig) and worked on one later one (#13, I think), credited. John and I began doing the art chores from Marty Pasko's scripts with SOTST #16, and it was Dan Day who pencilled Alan Moore's first script with John T. inking (and redrawing) much -- all that in SOTST #20, which paves the way for the historic #21, "The Anatomy Lesson." (Alas, though there's some solid work there, those first 20 issues just aren't particularly good reads as a whole, but you never know what DC might decide to do down the road.)

Bob continues:

"On the other hand, next year they'll be reprinting their WHO'S WHO series, which will include most of the other stray published Swamp Thing drawings you did."

Cool, I had no idea that was coming up. Reckon that leaves our promo work -- just a couple of pieces, though those were solid (one of which I scripted) -- and our Comics Journal cover, which led to all the painted covers that followed.

Thanks for the corrections (and trip down memory lane), Bob!

The move, the house, the house, the bank, the realtor -- the process!

Process uber alle, and no time to do much of anything else here today.

One item of note:
My final contribution to the Saga of the Swamp Thing series is now out in graphic novel format as DC approaches the end of reprint volumes covering Rick Veitch's tenure on the series. Book 9 of Vertigo/DC's ongoing compilation series, Swamp Thing: Infernal Triangles, is just out, collecting Rick Veitch's penultimate arc of Swamp Thing stories and art (reprinting Saga of the Swamp Thing -- hereafter SOTST -- #77-81, 1988, and Annual #3, 1987). These also include Jamie Delano's guest-scripting the book's title story (for SOTST #77) and my rebirth tale "To Sow One's Seed in the Wind" (SOTST #78, November 1988) -- and yes, the masturbatory reference was deliberate. Swamp Thing organically gives 'rebirth' to himself, a conceit that allowed me to phantasmagorically vent/reinvent my own impressions of homebirth (both daughter Maia and son Daniel were born at home) and bid a fond adieu to Abby and Swamp Thing that felt correct at the time. It was also a valentine to my son Dan, reflecting the experience of his birth three years earlier.

The story was conceived in part as an answer, a companion and an inversion of my prior Swamp Thing script effort, "Reunion" (SOTST # 59, April 1987, with art by Veitch & Alcala; reprinted in Swamp Thing Book 6: Reunion, 2003). That script, written to my daughter Maia (now old enough to appreciate it, I hope), presented a first-person view of aging, death and bidding life and one's loved ones farewell via the return of Abby's father Gregori Arcane -- aka The Patchwork Man, victim of brother Anton Arcane's Frankensteinian experiments in the original Len Wein/Berni Wrightson series -- just in time to bid his daughter farewell before he disintegrated completely. That story was set in part in a nursing home that consciously echoed my own teenage years in Colbyville, VT, living between two nursing homes.

If anyone cares, I might also mention the final entry in what became a meditative trilogy on birth and death: my one-shot script for Dark Horse's Species mini-series, which I don't have right at hand at the moment; that experience proved unsatisfactory (due primarily to publisher Mike Richardson's eleventh-hour edit of a key story point), though it was a hoot to at last work with my pal Mark Nelson on something. "To Sow One's Seed in the Wind" allowed me to collaborate with fellow Kubert School alumnis Tom Mandrake, and that was fun. Tom's art arguably wasn't up to the high standards of his later Spectre work (which was, to my mind, real breakthrough stuff), Tom did a nifty job, as did series inker Alfredo Alcala. Of course, all these birth/life/death/parenting concerns were ultimately channeled into Tyrant, as well as -- well, life. The Ultimate comicbook.

In any case, nice to see the story again. This also means that everything I did for DC on the character (save for the art I did for the DC indexing miniseries and various promotional art and art & text; all the narrative work is what I'm referring to) is now back in print in the US. I believe Midnight Days (featuring John Totleben's and my own farewell to the character, via Neil Gaiman's script "Jack-in-the-Green") is still available and in print; correct me, please, if I'm wrong. It's all in reach at last!

More later -- on something else -- time permitting --