This is a horror comic book from DC Comics created originally by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. The main character Alec Holland, a scientist working on a bio-restorative formula, who was caught in a fire from a sabotage attempt in the Louisiana Bayou. His burning body falls in the swamp and he later emerges as a creature of plants.

The initial run was short lived and then when it was revived it still did not seem to catch the public imagination until a young british writer called Alan Moore took it over. His second issue (#21) "The Anatomy Lesson" turned the entire series on its head. With the original writer Len Wein editing the book he proceeded to totally change both the premise of the book and its atmosphere to create a phenomena.

Rather than a man who had been transformed into a plant (and could hope to be restored to humanity) the Swamp Thing was revealed as a plant that thought it was a man. In later issues it becomes even more complex and it is revealed that he is not the first Swamp Thing and that the Swamp Things are earth elementals.

The stories became very dark and strange. There is an entire sequence called "American Gothic" that is full of very eerie and unsettling stories (including one about the house built by I think Colt where the sound of the carpenter's hammer should never stop). It was part way through this sequence that the Comics Code Authority actually read an issue (after spying a particuarly graphic page) and demanded in effect a total rewrite. DC in reponse instead removed the CCA stamp from the cover and stopped even submitting issues for certification.

There were also a series of B-movies based on the comic book. However my limited experience of them suggests that the less said the better (maybe someone else with more knowledge of them can add a node)

"Definitely one of my favourites from everything we did. I'd had the chords of the chorus, which Dave had come up with, running around my head for some time and knew, when the time came, what I'd sing to it. John and Reg meanwhile, had jammed out what were to be the verses and, not knowing what to call it, had named it 'Swamp'. When it came to working it out I started singing over it and then suggested we switch to the chorus idea. It was one of the quickest songs we ever did. It was recorded some months earlier in London and remixed for the album. I was dissatisfied with my own voice and it was suggested I stop smoking for a couple of days. I did and didn't light up again for about a year. Lyrically I regard it as a true prophesy." - Mark Burgess - The Chameleons UK (

This song saw me through some tough times when I needed a reminder that, no matter how bad it seemed, it could be worse, and that I could make it better just by keeping things in persepective. Though not the most uplifting song, I seem to return to it whenever I need something to push me over the edge into action. I first heard it on a tape a friend made for me to lift my spirits during my escape from a very bad situation. The tape started with "I'm Going Straight to Heaven" by MC 900 Foot Jesus (also a great song), followed by this track.

An instrumental intro takes up fully a third of the song. It starts with an upbeat undulating guitar riff and ambient keening sounds similar to a train in the distance. These are soon joined by a tight slighty menacing bass line, and finally a driving drum beat as well. These four elements swirl forward in various permutations - unhurried but unflagging - inexorable as the tide. Eventually, they reach a moderate crecendo, fall back to drum and guitar for moment, and then quickly regroup, coming together to lead in the the vocals.

I can already hear your tune
Calling me across the room
When the world and his wife
Are on my back again
Not enough pleasure
Too much pain


When the world is too much with me
Please leave, just go away
Before I lose my mind completely
Please leave, just go now
In the sidestreet something's moving
Look around, look around
All around you
Walls are tumbling down
Stop staring at the ground


I can practically see your face
And another revolutionary falls from grace
Hear the thunder in your brain
Not enough sunshine
Too much rain


When the light of life has gone
No change for the meter
Then the king of spivs will come
Selling blood by the litre
When nothing's sacred anymore
When the demon's knocking on your door
You'll still be staring down at the floor

Not too many hours from this hour
So long?
The storm comes
Or is it just another shower?

Picking up the pieces
Half alive in a nine 'til five
Vacant eyes
Is it any wonder?
Primal scream at the TV screen
Close your eyes


Now the world is too much with me
Please leave, just go away
Before I lose my mind completely
Just leave, please go now
Now nothing's sacred anymore
When the demon's breaking down your door
You'll still be staring down at the floor

Not too many hours from this hour
So long?
Now the storm has come
Or is it just another shower?

Lyrics by The Chameleons (c) 1998 - 2003 (Reprinted by permission of Mik Foggin of

Sources: (26 Jan 2003) (26 Jan 2003)

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