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Swamp monsters
Alec Holland (Swamp Thing 1990 TV Series)
Swamp monsters

Swamp monsters are creatures that are born, bred and/or otherwise connected to the swamp. Though not always the most dominating form of monster in horror fiction, they have sloshed their way through the muck of time since the 1940s.

Comics Edit

One of the first notable swamp monsters was a creature called The Heap, who was actually a German World War I flying ace named Baron Eric von Emmelman, whose plane was shot down over a swamp in Poland in the year 1918. Clinging to the smallest shred of life through sheer force of will (and, as it was later revealed, with the mystic help of the nature goddess Ceres), through the decades his body decayed and intermingled with the vegetation around him, becoming one with the marshland itself until at last it arose from the muck during the early years of World War II as The Heap.

1971 was a big year for comic book swamp boogers. Marvel Comics presented tortured scientist Ted Sallis, who was working in the Florida Everglades trying to duplicate the Super Soldier Serum that once turned scrawny Steve Rogers into the patriotic war hero Captain America. Sallis' experiments were compromised by agents of A.I.M. and he was exposed to his own untested formula while trying to escape into the nearby swamps. The formula reacted with his body on a physiological level, transforming him into the lumbering marshland brute known as the Man-Thing.

Coincidentally, DC Comics followed Marvel's example that same year, playing it uncomfortably close to the vest. In House of Secrets #92, a turn-of-the-century era Louisiana scientist named Alex Olsen created his own experiment, which was sabotaged by a jealous rival named Damian Ridge. Alex's work literally exploded in his face, killing him. Ridge dragged Olsen's remains out into the swamp, where the murky waters interacted with the deceased's body chemistry, transforming him into a creature known as the Swamp Thing. This character was created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. Len Wein would work on both Man-Thing and Swamp Thing projects over the years for both companies. The Swamp Thing concept was revisited a year later in the pages of it's own ongoing comic book series, Swamp Thing, Volume 1. Wein and Wrightson re-imagined their concept for a modern setting and Alex Olsen was replaced with Alec Holland - a man whose origin story is extremely similar to that of Marvel's Ted Sallis. Due to the numerous similarities between the two characters, Marvel contemplated suing DC, but as both characters were very similar to that of the Heap, the matter was dropped.

When Malibu Comics created their Ultraverse superhero line of comics in the early 1990s, they decided to add their own counterpart to the muck man craze called the Sludge. The Sludge was actually more of a sewer monster than a swamp creature, but the visuals and physical characteristics were very similar. The character was created by writer Steve Gerber, who wrote many of the Man-Thing tales of the 1970s. The Sludge was a man named Frank Hoag, who was a corrupt police officer working for the mob. Hoag eventually decided to betray his mob contacts, who reciprocated this act by bombing him and gunning him down in a hail of bullets. The criminals dumped Hoag's body into the sewer where the sewage interacted with the chemical components from the bomb, transforming him into the Sludge.

Swamp monsters in film Edit

Swamp monsters in television Edit

Swamp monsters in comics Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

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