I thought it odd that two years' worth of recent DC Comics climaxed (yesterday) with the return of the character Swamp Thing (as satirized in this cartoon noted by Jacob Levy). Furthermore, I always thought Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing were a bit too similar (their births, unlike Obama's, remain mysterious -- yet they would make better presidents than Donald Trump, with Man-Thing likely a Republican, Swamp Thing obviously Green).
But Michael Malice told me neither Swamp Thing nor Man-Thing was a rip-off of the other. Rather, both were heavily influenced by the earlier character the Heap, who was also a man-shaped pile of villain-fighting vegetation.
The weirdness doesn't end there: Malice told me this two weeks ago while were on a train bound for the HQ of the Foundation for Economic Education (a.k.a. FEE, which, alas, moves fully to Atlanta in a few months), and FEE may be best known for their periodical The Freeman, which had at one time been produced by the publisher Hillman…who also published, yes: the Heap!
As meditation-practicing, pencil-contemplating FEE president Leonard Read knew so well, the universe is all connected -- from the most dastardly crimes to the rotting plants of the deepest swamplands.
As for Swamp Thing, his return to DC Comics proper means an end to his two-decade stint at DC's crime/occult/hipness imprint Vertigo (which has no connection to the Hitchcock movie, but I liked the picture above). So, in a way, the publishing implications of this week's climax are more interesting than the fact that Swamp Thing is back to restore balance to nature and all that other elemental stuff he does.
(And if he can't bring harmony to nature soon enough to stop the weather's attacks on the South, we're going to have to call in Thor -- but that's next week. )
P.S. In other news: Reid Mihalko tells me Superman renounced his U.S. citizenship in the comics.