Book of the Day - 2/22/04

The Phantom Stranger #14 Jul-Aug 1971

- Overstreet 2006 (9.2) NM- Price: $32 -

Another Neal Adams cover.  While I'll admit an affinity for Adams, that's not the reason I've highlighted this issue.  As you can see the issue features a creature that legend has it roams the swamp near a small town  After investigating, it turns out that there's a "New Eden" located deep in the swamp with a madman scientist (are there any others?) running the joint with hypnotic victims running around.  It turns out that he's trying to start a new life and home away from the pollution that society is generating and, he believes, is slowing destroying.  Typical late 60s/early 70s environmental message that was prominent in many comics of the age.

Turns out the swamp creature is really the scientist in a green costume (shades of Scooby-Doo!) but he does have control of a fungus that can envelope a person.  Ultimately, the fungus rears back and destroys the scientist and New Eden.  Fortunately all the hypnotic victims get out alive.  Not a particularly great issue but it does have one notable footnote.  This issue came out the month after the 1st appearance of the Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92.  I'd argue that this comic had as much to do with the genesis of the character that appeared a year later in Swamp Thing #1 than HOS #92.  For those that have read HOS #92, that character didn't have much in common with the Swamp Thing and the story wasn't even based in the present.  Considering the environmental themes that were common in both this issue and SW #1, I'd say that this comic was as much a driver towards Swampy's origin as the established 1st appearance.   But then again......environmental issues were one of the issues of the day in the early 70s.  So it also could be argued that it's mere coincidence.  But I don't know......