Monday, August 10, 2009

Saga of Swamp Thing #32: The Greatest Comic Book Story Ever Told?

Download Saga of the Swamp Thing #32

I once gave up on my beloved comic book collecting hobby for girls in my teen years. After I graduated from high school, I became curious as to the state of the comic book medium and Swamp Thing had been an old childhood favorite. So, I snapped up an issue of Saga of the Swamp Thing off the racks in a liquor store. If not for this fortuitous encounter enabling me to discover the genius of Alan Moore, I might not have had a second love affair with comic books—at all. I mean, how many bad comics, such as Saga of Crystar and ROM: Spaceknight, can one take? Those were horrid, wretched magazines, to be blunt. However, by the time I read the excellent Swamp Thing #24, I had been hooked on my collecting hobby all over again. Things hadn't changed: one simply had to look for the good stuff as Sturgeon's Law is impossible to escape.

There was no doubt that Moore deserved a reputation as a master wordsmith, which he soon went on to earn. While I thought that most of Moore's work on Swamp Thing had been very good up to that point, this particular issue deserved to be called a masterpiece. Simply put: it was a work of creative genius that was unparalleled in quality. Perhaps the only comic book story that rivals this one in quality is a Warpsmiths of Hod story published in the British magazine Warrior, which was reprinted in Axel Pressbutton #2 by Eclipse Comics called "Cold War, Cold Warrior." The beautiful art was by guest illustrator Shawn McManus and the entire thing was a brilliant pastiche of Walt Kelly's Pogo.

I have decided to add the Warpsmiths stories I mentioned above in this post, which includes the stories "Cold War, Cold Warrior" and "The Yesterday Gambit" by Alan Moore. The Warpsmiths are fictional aliens in several science fiction comics created by Alan Moore when he was a teenager for a small publication by an arts lab in his native Northampton, England. He and artist Garry Leach expanded on the characters for the UK magazine Warrior, and figuring into a fictional timeline and universe developed by Alan Moore and Steve Moore (no relation), the Warpsmiths only appeared in two stories before the end of Warrior. The first appearance of a Warpsmith was in the 1982 'Summer Special'. Leach retained ownership of the characters, and lent them to Moore's series Miracleman (which Leach had illustrated earlier in Warrior) in which they became a major part of the story, with art by John Totleben based on Leach's designs. In 1989 Leach began a new anthology title, A1, the first issue of which included the Warpsmith short story "Ghost Dance," which was written by Alan Moore. Subsequent issues would feature stories by other writers.

Download Warrior #4
(AKA Warrior Summer Special 1982,
which contains "The Yesterday Gambit")

Download Warrior #9

Download Warrior #10

Download Axel Pressbutton #2
(Contains some pages cannibalized from Warrior)
Click here to read "Cold War, Cold Warrior" online

Download A1 #1 "Ghostdance"

Click here to read "Ghost Dance" on my other blog.

Surprise bonus download: Hellfire #1, which contains a six-page interview with Gary Leach and Alan Moore.

Download Hellfire #1

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