There’s an intriguing dissonance between the simplicity of Swamp Thing’s creation (big ol’ fun bronze age horror monster created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson) and the character’s influence on the entire superhero comics medium. In many ways The Saga of the Swamp Thing is the godfather of the mature readers targeting Vertigo movement that swept the late 80’s and 90’s, perhaps unsurprising when you consider Watchmen writer Alan Moore was on the book for well over 40 issues.
Alongside artists like Stephen Bissette and John Totleben, Moore transformed Swamp Thing into the kind of critical darling publishers dream of today. Far from standard superhero fare, Saga of the Swamp Thing became thoughtful, contemplative, philosophical, and yes, horrifying.
Perhaps because of this long shadow, Swamp Thing has been used with surprising restraint in modern DC Comics, and features a genuinely approachable collection of available comics.
Below you’ll find a complete guide to Swamp Thing comics throughout history, from the Alan Moore written run through Scott Snyder’s time writing in the New 52, to present day. I’ve highlighted my personal favorites with the Comic Book Herald logo next to each recommended series title.
Swamp Thing Comics Reading List
Collects: The House Of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing #1-24, The Saga Of The Swamp Thing #1-19 And The Saga Of The Swamp Thing Annual #1
Collects: Saga Of The Swamp Thing #20-27
This is where Moore’s time writing the title begins with the iconic “Anatomy Lesson.” Absolutely deserving of all the accolades the series has received.
Collects: Saga Of The Swamp Thing #28-34 And Swamp Thing Annual #2
Collects: Swamp Thing #35-42
Collects: Swamp Thing #43 To #50
Collects: Swamp Thing #51-56
Collects: Swamp Thing #57-64
Swamp Thing After Alan Moore
Collects: Swamp Thing #65 To #70
Comics creator Rick Veitch had the unenviable task of following up Bissette, Totleben, and Moore (of course he would know, having contributed to their run himself!). It’s an earnest, strong work though and significantly underrated due to its predecessor.
Most notably, Veitch left Swamp Thing following issue #88 and arguments with DC over the use of Jesus Christ in the content of the book.
Collects: Swamp Thing #71 To #76
Collects: Swamp Thing #77 To #81
Collects: Swamp Thing #110-139 and Swamp Thing Annual #6 and #7
Collects: Swamp Thing #140-150
The creative partnership of superstar comics writers Grant Morrison and Mark Millar jumped on Swamp Thing in the 90s, with Millar continuing work on the title for a decent chunk of time below.
Collects: Swamp Thing #151-160
Collects: Swampg Thing #161-171
Collects: #1 To #5
Miniseries for completists only!
Swamp Thing Reborn in the 2000’s
Collects: Swamp Thing (2000) #1-10 And A Story From Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #3
As big and excellent as writer Brian K. Vaughan has become (on comics like Runaways, Saga, or Y: The Last Man), his relaunched Vertigo Swamp Thing is far from his best work. More interesting historically than anything, given Vaughan’s present day status as a living legend.
Collects: Swamp Thing (2000) #11-20
Collects: Swamp Thing #1 To #6
Following the run by Vaughan, Swamp Thing relaunched yet again, this time under the pen of Andy Diggle and then Joshua Dysart.
Collects: Swamp Thing #9 To #14
Collects: Swamp Thing #15 To #20
Collects: Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search For Swamp Thing #1 To #3
I’d note these issues detailing the return of Swamp Thing to the DC Universe will make more sense with the complete Brightest Day reading order.
New 52 Swamp Thing Comics
Collects: Swamp Thing #0-18, Animal Man #12, 17 And Swamp Thing Annual #1
At the launch of DC’s New 52 Scott Snyder made himself into a superstar with an all-time great run on Batman (with artist Greg Capullo). Looking back now it’s almost easy to forget that Snyder also kicked off the New 52 with a highly enjoyable short run on Swamp Thing that subsequently transitioned into high quality work from writer Charles Soule.
Collects: Swamp Thing 19-23, Swamp Thing Annual 2
Collects: Swamp Thing #24 To #27
Collects: Swamp Thing #28-34 And Pages From Aquaman #31
Collects: Swamp Thing #35-40, Swamp Thing Annual #3 And Swamp Thing: Futures End #1
Collects: Convergence: Swamp Thing #1 To #2
DC Rebirth Swamp Thing Comics
Collects: Swamp Thing: Dead Don’T Sleep #1 To #6
Collects: Batman #23
In “The Brave and the Mold,” creative team Tom King and Mitch Gerads (of Mister Miracle fame) tell a one and done Batman and Swamp Thing team-up story. One of the most likely instant classics from the DC Rebirth era.
Collects: Swamp Thing Winter Special 2018 And Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Giant
Collects: Cave Carson / Swamp Thing #1
Unless you’re on board for the entire Young Animal Milk Wars experience this one-shot isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense.