TOP

Almost Hidden – Chester Williams, American Cop

by  in Comic News Comment

Even with this large amount of comic books that have been collected in trade paperbacks, there are still a number of great comic books that have never been reprinted (I’d say roughly 60% of them are DC Comics from the 1980s through the mid-1990s). So every day this month I will spotlight a different cool comic book that is only available as a back issue. Here is an archive of the comic books featured so far.

I want you folks to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com with your suggestions for comics that I should feature this month. I’d like to see what you all would like to see get more attention.

Today, reader Jeff R. suggested Mark Millar’s oddly uncollected run on Swamp Thing. Specifically, though, he suggested the one-off Swamp Thing #165, written by Millar, penciled by the late, great Curt Swan and inked by Kim DeMulder.

Mark Millar has had the good fortune to work with some of the greatest comic book artists of our generation on various projects (Frank Quitely, Art Adams, John Romita Jr., Bryan Hitch, Steve McNiven, Phil Hester, Dave Johnson, Leinil Yu, Steve Dillon, Stuart Immonen, Carlos Pacheco, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Chris Bachalo, Terry Dodson, JG Jones – the list literally goes on and on and on), but it must have been a particularly special honor to get the chance to have Curt Swan draw one of his stories, especially one as bizarrely (and awesomely) demented as this one.

Chester Williams is a character who went all the way back to the early days of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run. He was your basic environmentalist hippie, a leftover from the 1960s, although he had some pretty strong character work done on him over the years (he especially took a larger role when Swamp Thing was presumed dead and Chester had to help out Abby, even defending her from an alien attack one issue!!).

However, out of nowhere, Millar decided to write a whole issue of Chester discovering the error of his ways due to the campaign of Newt Gingrich and the Republicans to rediscover “American Values.”

Millar tells you all you need to know in this intro page (drawn by Phil Hester)…


The issue opens at a drug-fueled party with students and their hippie professors, including Chester, when something changes…




The rest of the issue involves Chester spouting various right-wing rhetoric while the citizenry applaud him. He even goes to win back his ex-girlfriend, who is now a lesbian…



Things get a good deal darker as the comic progresses…


Until finally there’s a showdown between Chester and Swamp Thing…


And he does, of course, which sets up the strong ending of the issue.

It’s a funny story by Millar and great artwork from Swan and DeMulder. This was one of the very last projects Swan worked on – he died about six months after this issue was released.