Last month, Wolverine co-creator Len Wein tragically passed away at 69. A prolific figure in comics who also edited Watchmen and served as co-creator of Swamp Thing, at the time of his passing Wein was working on a brand new Alec Holland story with artist Kelley Jones. While that series will no longer see the light of day, DC plans to release a Swamp Thing Winter Special on January 31st, 2018, that collects what would have been the first issue of that series alongside a brand new Swamp Thing story written by Mister Miracle writer Tom King and illustrated by his collaborator on “The Button,” Jason Fabok.
As per the EW article that broke the story and previewed several interior pages, Jones described his collaboration with Wein as a “straight horror title. He kept stressing that angle to me — that bringing up a lot of those DC horror characters was what would make the book more unique.” This story will pick up from Wein’s and Jones’ 2016 Swamp Thing miniseries which saw the avatar of The Green, a force that connects all plant life on Earth, reestablishing control over swamps in Louisiana. At the start of this new story, Solomon Grundy arrives in Swamp Thing’s domain with an infant he kidnapped from Gotham City, the Dark Knight close in tow.
Here’s some art from Wein’s and Jones’ story:
And then, in the Tom King and Jason Fabok tale, we see a much different Swamp Thing. He’s more haggard here, struggling to survive in a frozen tundra with a young lost boy under his wing.
According to King, “this is not a story about hope. This is a story about anxiety…You’re going to get close to the darkness so that when you come out you can smile at the light. So, that’s what I want them to get from it. I want them to be cold enough that when they put it down, their house feels warm and it feels like a relief.”
According to the EW piece, the King/Fabok tale will stretch more than 40 pages. Fabok considers the issue to be “one of the best single issues I’ve ever worked on in my career.” He also said that with this story, he and King “want to honor Bernie Wrightson and Len Wein, who we lost recently, with this story. We want them to be proud of the work that we’ve done on this story. We want to present a classic Swamp Thing tale that people are going to love, and we also want to introduce the character to maybe a new generation of readers who’ve never seen Swamp Thing.”
Here are preview pages from King’s and Fabok’s story:
It’s interesting to see how much Jones’ and Fabok’s takes on Swamp Thing compare and contrast. Both artists heavily emphasize the brutish musculature of the character– just look at how Jones puts intense focus on defining Swamp Thing’s body in his pages and the way Fabok gives density to his thighs on the first preview page from his story. Yet on the other hand, Jones’ take on Swamp Thing renders his green growth as sinew and webbing, weaving and interconnecting into one coherent structure. Meanwhile Fabok’s Swamp Thing dangles and hangs every which way, a central structure blossoming into a messy tangle of vines. And yet, in the end, both are equally evocative of this magnificent force of nature.
Swamp Thing Winter Special releases January 31st, 2018.