Roots of the Swamp Thing #1

Cover Date: July 1986
Subtitle: Dark Genesis // The Man Who Wanted Forever
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Berni Wrightson
[1] Drs. Alec and Linda Holland were taken to a barn in the swamp. The place had been outfitted with all the equipment they needed to continue their research into bio-restorative means, which would allow even deserts to be populated with plant life. Knowing the project's results would be wanted by virtually everyone, their company had constant surveillance on the barn.
Somehow, a group of men got into the barn wanting to buy the research from the Hollands. They were turned away, but promised to return. A stray dog wandered up later; Linda decided to keep it. The men began listening to them via a microphone implanted in the dog.
Another visit was made by Ferrett and his men, this time while Mrs. Holland was away. Alec was knocked unconscious and a bomb was planted. When he awakened, the place exploded. He was able to leave the barn while on fire and leap into the nearby swamp.
A funeral was held for Alec Holland - it was believed he was completely incinerated by the blast. Later, he emerged from the swamp as a creature almost totally made of plant life. As he made way to the research facility, his wife was killed. He stopped and killed two of the murderers before wandering back into the swamp.
[2] The Swamp Thing was captured by creatures of unknown origin. He was flown to a castle where a man named Arcane welcomed him. Arcane wanted immortality and offered to return the creature to his original body and take over the Swamp Thing's. The spell worked, but Holland (back in human form) later heard Arcane vowing vengeance against the village below. Holland wrecked the magic and reverted them both back to their previous forms. He chased Arcane and the man flung himself through a window. All his "un-men," synthetic life forms, jumped after him.

Roots of the Swamp Thing #2

Cover Date: August 1986
Subtitle: The Patchwork Man // Monster on the Moors
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Berni Wrightson
[1] The Swamp Thing fell through the floor of Arcane's castle. An arm tried to save him, but could not. He fell into the sea below. Matt Cable, fried of the Hollands, made his way to the Balkans, where the plane carrying Swamp Thing was headed. He believed the creature had killed his friends.
In the village, he met Abigail Arcane. As they spoke her uncle's castle exploded. Cable felt both the monster and her uncle were dead. A creature pulled himself from the sea - his was the arm which tried to save the Swamp Thing. He'd once been Gregori Arcane, brother to the mad scientist and father to Abigail. He saw his daughter with Cable and grabbed her. Swamp thing gave chase. The two fought as the townspeople - an angry mob - neared.
Swamp Thing saved the woman and handed her over to Cable. The creature latched on to their plane later as they took off.
[2] Swamp Thing looked on - their plane had crashed. An old couple neared in a horse and carriage. They pulled out Cable, Abigail, and their pilot and carted them back to their home. The pilot went out later to investigate the wreckage, but he was killed by a monster. The monster struck later, this time against Abigail and Cable, but Swamp Thing saved them.
That night, the people who'd saved the plane drugged them and prepared to "cure" their son - a werewolf - with a blood transfusion. They'd caused the plane to crash by making them think a landing strip was below. Their son transformed. Swamp Thing entered and killed it with silver. He shambled away as Cable still vowed to capture the creature for killing his friends.

Roots of the Swamp Thing #3

Cover Date: September 1986
Subtitle: The Last of the Ravenwind Witches // A Clockwork Horror // Night Prowler [non-Swamp Thing story]
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Berni Wrightson
[1] Swamp Thing stowed away on a cargo ship, but jumped overboard when he was discovered. He later found himself in a cave with a woman and her brother who were on the run - her townspeople believed her to be a witch. The three ventured out of the cave, only to be ambushed. One of the men cut his left arm off. He fell over a cliff. The brother and sister were captured.
Rebecca Ravenwind was convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to burn. Her brother was kept in a cell nearby. Swamp Thing emerged from the sea - his arm had grown back. He freed the boy from jail and headed to save Rebecca. The townspeople again attacked him, but he got through and freed the girl. She summoned a storm and the people were silenced. When Swamp Thing looked back, they'd all been turned into flowers. Ravenwind explained that it was actually her brother who was the witch, but he only protected them.
[2] Matt Cable and his assistant, Abigail Arcane, were taken off the Swamp Thing case. He was given another assignment - a town in Vermont needed investigation.
Swamp Thing was thrown from a truck after it hit a pot hole. He looked up to see his wife, Linda Holland. She and her husband, Alec, took the creature to Mayor Hans Klochmann. A World War II refugee, he'd built the town and its people by hand. All their identities were of real people who'd died.
Cable arrived and the Conclave zeroed in via the microphone in his dog. They sent a group to capture him and the robot maker. Swamp Thing was able to destroy one of the attacking robots, but Cable and Arcane were captured. Klochmann was killed and all his robots were destroyed.
Swamp Thing headed to Gotham City with the dog.
[3] A man and his wife were awakened by a sound. It turned out to be Santa Claus.

Roots of the Swamp Thing #4

Cover Date: October 1986
Subtitle: Night of the Bat // The Lurker in Tunnel 13 // He Who Laughs Last [non-Swamp Thing story]
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Berni Wrightson
[1] In Gotham City, Swamp Thing was cornered by police as he attempted to steal clothes. Batman, who was working on the Conclave case, was signaled. He spoke with Commissioner Gordon and learned of the creature.
Swamp Thing tracked his friend's location to a warehouse. There, he freed Matt Cable and Abigail Arcane. Batman caught his trail by following his dog companion. The two fought, but Batman was temporarily knocked unconscious. When he awakened, the dog was scratching at a door. Batman let him in and followed him into the penthouse, where the dog ran to his original master, Nathan Ellery - a Wayne Foundation board member. Swamp Thing burst in from the balcony. Ellery was attacked by one of his own creatures and fell from the penthouse. Swamp Thing and Batman disappeared.
[2] Slowed by the snow and cold, Swamp Thing headed into a cave when he heard a cry for help. Inside, he found an old man who'd been attacked by a bear. Killed the bear, but the old man died in his arms while telling him of the nearby town.
Swamp Thing carried the old man's body back home, where townspeople once again attacked him. The brawl was short, as someone noticed the man had been killed by claws and the monster had also been clawed. The townspeople took the creature in and tended his wounds. He helped them when one of their children wandered off into a mine. Inside, he found M'nagalah, a creature claiming to be eternal. It tried to pull Swamp Thing into itself, but he pulled the mine down on top of them. Swamp Thing emerged and was apologized to - the people had faked the child's disappearance so he'd fight their other monster.
[3] A clown returned to life to protect his daughter from the men who killed him in a scheme to take over a circus.

Roots of the Swamp Thing #5

Cover Date: November 1986
Subtitle: The Stalker from Beyond // The Man Who Would not Die // Swamp Thing
Writer(s): Len Wein
Artists(s): Berni Wrightson
[1] Swamp Thing returned to his home - the barn where he was created - to find an alien spacecraft. The alien had used some of Dr. Holland's equipment to repair his ship. He raged and attacked the alien. During their fight, the ship fell on to Swamp Thing. The alien took him and placed him back in the swamp.
A group of government operatives (with Matt Cable due to his knowledge of the area) arrived and captured the alien.
Swamp Thing returned and freed the alien before the men could kill it. The ship exploded shortly after taking off.
[2] Swamp Thing happened upon a plantation and saved a woman from an attacker. She told him about growing up as a slave. He saw eyes in the brush and gave chase - it was Arcane and his un-men. A group of slaves emerged from their graves and destroyed the creatures. Swamp Thing, not knowing if he'd been dreaming, wandered off.
[3] The Swamp Thing, a creature who was once Alex Olsen, peered through the window of his former home where his best friend, the man who killed him, was with his wife, Linda - Alex's wife when he lived. He struck at the man when he was about to kill the woman. With both of her husbands dead, Linda screamed in fear at the monster who was in her home.


  • Reprints stories from: Swamp Thing 1-10; House of Secrets 92 (first appearance); House of Mystery 191, 221 (both are non-Swamp Thing stories)
  • Dr. Alec Holland is killed and becomes the (at least) second Swamp Thing.
  • The final story listed here is actually Swamp Thing's first appearance.