From the Dungeon: “Swamp Thing” edition

Since it’s Earth Day I thought I would spotlight the ultimate environmental crusader, Swamp Thing.

Swamp Thing has been one of my favorite characters since I was a little kid. “Swamp Thing” the movie, (directed by Wes Craven and starring the Adrienne “Barbeu-bot” Barbeu), like Star Wars, Goonies, & Ghostbuters, was one of the many movies I grew up on. The sequel, “The Return of Swamp Thing” starring Heather Locklear, later became a childhood favorite as well.

As I grew older I learned that Swamp Thing originated in DC Comics, and was a friend of Batman, which made me love him even more!

My love of Swamp Thing compelled me to collect all things Swamp Thing, and I’ve amassed a good amount so far. In 1991 there was a short lived animated series. There were only five episodes but plenty of licensed merchandise to go with it.

Swamp Thing: Battle for the Bayou board game (RoseArt 1991)

They don’t make board games like this anymore. It seems a little over-complicated for a kids game. I had to read the instructions a few times, and I’m still not sure I understand how to play. But it was the bright, colorful artwork that really caught my eye.

Swamp Thing action figures (Kenner Toys 1990)

In the 80s and 90s Kenner was the king of action figures, producing some the most iconic toy lines like Star Wars, Super Powers, Ghostbusters, and numerous Batman lines. Swamp Thing got the typical action figure treatment; multiple variations of the main character with specialized accessories and/or appearance to handle any situation imaginable. “Bio-Glow Swamp Thing” is my favorite.

Swamp Thing's human buddies. The Native American fellow on the right is named Tomahawk. I don't think you can get away with that today.

Swamp Thing and the Unmen, San Diego Comic-Con exclusive (Mattel 2011)

To me the bane of the toy collecting world is the convention exclusive. The last thing I want to do at Comic-Con is wait in a line for an overpriced toy that I may or may not be able to purchase once I get to the front of the line. Luckily in recent years Mattel has made exclusives available for pre-order before the convention, which eliminates the waiting in line for the toy and ensures that you’ll get one. Unfortunately the high price tag still applies. But I was happy to pay the high price for last year’s exclusive, Swamp Thing!

DC Comics Library: Roots of Swamp Thing (DC Comics 2009)

This year at C2E2 I had the honor of meeting one of the creators of Swamp Thing, Len Wein. He was kind enough to sign my “Roots of Swamp Thing” collection which includes Swamp Thing’s first appearance and adventures. I hope to meet artist Bernie Wrightson some day.

From the Dungeon: “Emerald Twilight” edition

“From the Dungeon” features artifacts from the past including things I’ve owned or made, memories & moments in history. This first edition showcases the very first “custom” action figure I ever made, which I found in a bin amongst piles and piles of various action figures in the basement.

I was 13 years-old-when I started buying comic books on a regular basis. My parents gave me an allowance of one comic book a week. Aside from several X-men comics, which were all the rage in the early 90s, Green Lantern caught my attention and I was instantly hooked. When I started reading Green Lantern, Hal Jordan had gone evil and became the villain Parallax in the story “Emerald Twilight.”

At the time (1994), there really weren’t any DC Comics action figures on the market, aside from those based on “Batman: The Animated Series” and the Batman movies. Being the Green Lantern fanatic that I am, I wanted some Green Lantern toys! So I took it upon myself to make my own.

The first and only Green Lantern action figure I ever made was former greatest Green Lantern in the Universe turned evil villain Parallax, Hal Jordan.

I started with this Sectaurs action figure:

With determination and a few layers of paint I ended up with this:

my Hal Jordan Parallax. (1994)

The shoulder pads and cape are made out of felt, which I sewed together myself. The head was taken from some random action figure, and I used hot glue to “sculpt” the hair.

A few years later, toy company Kenner (now Hasbro) eventually got around to making DC Comics action figures. They made their own Parallax figure so I didn’t have to play with my silly looking hand-painted one anymore.

Kenner's Parallax from their "Total Justice" line. (1996)

But how many people can say they made their own Green Lantern toys when they were a kid?