Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!
Today we look at one of the seminal moments in 1980s comic books, Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette and John Totleben’s “The Anatomy Lesson” from Saga of Swamp Thing #21…
I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Alan Moore’s FIRST issue of Swamp Thing, #20, where he comes on and resolves pretty much all of the plots of the previous writer, Marty Pasko, all within one issue – and it actually kinda/sorta WORKS as a story. That, just in and of itself, was a fine early sign of how good Moore was. That issue ended with Swamp Thing apparently dying.
So that led into the new creative team’s first REAL issue together (Bissette did not pencil #20), the legendary “The Anatomy Lesson.”
Moore cleverly uses Jason Woodrue, the long-time super-villain, the Florenic Man, as a consultant for the General who has Swamp Thing “killed” the previous issue.
Check out Woodrue’s introduction from page one of the issue…
Wow, Moore sure knows how to set a mood!
Of course, when you’re working with one of the very best horror art teams of all-time, well, setting a mood can be quite easy.
Check out the introduction of the “dead” Swamp Thing.
That’s awesome, huh?
So is the scene where Woodrue first performs the “autopsy” he was hired to perform.
Of course, as you all know by now, what Woodrue discovers is that this is NOT a man transformed into a “Swamp Thing,” but rather a “Swamp Thing” who THINKS that he was a man. After Woodrue was fired by the General for suggesting this conclusion, Woodrue lets Swamp Thing escape (by basically molting a new body).
Then perhaps the most classic sequence of the issue…
For those of you who read this issue when it was first released, how striking was it? It must have been hard to prepare yourself for an issue like this seemingly out of nowhere at the time.
Thus one of the great creative comic partnerships began between Moore, Bissette and Totleben.