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CSBG Archive

You Decide ’09 – Who Is Your Favorite Swamp Thing Artist/Art Team?

You know the bit – each day in October I’ll give you folks a poll question. Each poll will last four days. The results will be posted every Tuesday leading up to (and ending with) Election Day on the first Tuesday in November. Here is the master list of all questions asked so far!



I always thought Bissette/Totleben would have been a stronger art team if it was just Totleben.

IMO the most predictable poll to date. Berni Wrightson. But I love each one of the other versions, too.

IMO the most predictable poll to date. Berni Wrightson.

50 votes in, Wrightson is not currently in first place, so perhaps not as predictable as you might think. ;)

Bissette for me but that’s the only Swamp Thing version I know.


Wrightson and Yeates would be my second and third choices.

Wrightson is an incredible artist (definitely my favorite here), but I gave it to Bissette/Totleben on the strength of their page design.

Easily Bissete/Totleben. I mean Wrightson is awesome, but the Moore/Bissette/Totleben collaboration was probably the best team in comics. Ever.

While Wrightson’s art was great, Bissette & Totleben produced some of the scariest images I’ve seen in a comic book. Granted, they had Alan Moore, but their work is what I picture when I think of Swamp Thing.

What, no Phil Hester? Guess I’ll have to vote for my second favorite, Rick Veitch…

Berni, Berni, BERNI!

since Alan moores run was not put on the list. and though a hard call had to be different and go with Rick for loved swamp thing interacting with historic figures and also because Rick is one of the few swamp thing artists who has an issue shoved in the un publish desk that is still talked about in whispers and legend. the infamous swamp thing 88 .

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 20, 2009 at 6:53 am

I was really torn between Berni Wrightson and John Totleban/Steve Bissette. Both of them actually put Swamp Thing on the map.

Actually, Alan Moore’s tenure made Swamp Thing highly read in the ’80’s.

Went with Totleban/Bissette basically because I grew up reading these series.
Never read Wrightson’s Swamp Thing until it was reprinted.


October 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

@chad: the poll asked for your favorite artist/art team, not writer, which is why Moore is not listed.

Bissette and Totleben defined what the horror genre looked like for the decade. They (and Vietch too, actually, as he ghosted with the pair) brought a love for modern horror films to the book, and created some amazingly scary work. Their first story (pre-Moore) reinvisioned the UnMen as terrifying bug creatures. They brought the Demon visually into the DC Universe, created a comic book Hell that seethed with pain, torture, and a hellishness uncharacteristic in comics at the time. On the opposite end of hell, they perfectly envisioned a sensual heaven in the sex issue. This is all without mentioning how they brilliantly recast Swamp Thing as an actual plant, as opposed to a naked guy colored green.

Oh, and they created Constantine.

Berni,Berni, Berni, BERNI!

"O" the Humanatee!

October 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

@Patrick: If you think Wrightson’s Swamp Thing looked like “a naked guy colored green,” you must have had a very different high school gym class locker room from me.

And while I won’t protest anyone who gives a reasoned explanation for their vote for anyone but Wrightson, simply saying “I’ve never seen Wrightson, so I’m voting for X” doesn’t cut it.

By the way, here is the picture (from Wrightson’s Swamp Thing #4, but not of Swamp Thing) that made a fan out of a Manatee (linked from this site, also very much worth looking at). On the middle of this page is a smaller but colored and lettered version.

Hey, look what I found while searching for those pictures! And for those who like their Swamp Things more Bissette & Totleben-esque, here’s a recent Wrightson version.

Seems you’ve stumbled on a divisive one here, B. Nice.

I voted for Bissette and Totleben, as (1) they’re the guys who drew the issues I think of when someone says Swamp Thing, (2) their work on the book is awesome and, (3) in the words of Shawn & Hunter, We’ve got two words for you…

Plant Sex!

"O" the Humanatee!

October 20, 2009 at 9:24 am

Two more things:

Patrick, only my first paragraph above was directed to you.

And Brian, what do you have against Ernie Chan (then Chua), Bo & Scott Hampton, Shawn McManus, Stan Woch, Ron Randall, Mike Hoffman, Kelley Jones, Scott Eaton (whose work, inked by Kim DeMulder was quite good), Pat Broderick, Enrique Breccia, Richard Corben, and many others I can’t recall (and, if we’re counting the Tefe version, Roger Petersen and Giuseppe Camuncoli)?

Seriously, while I suspect they wouldn’t garner many votes, Eaton, Hoffman, and Breccia – as well as the aforementioned Phil Hester – all had substantial runs on the character.

And Brian, what do you have against Ernie Chan (then Chua), Bo & Scott Hampton, Shawn McManus, Stan Woch, Ron Randall, Mike Hoffman, Kelley Jones, Scott Eaton (whose work, inked by Kim DeMulder was quite good), Pat Broderick, Enrique Breccia, Richard Corben, and many others I can’t recall (and, if we’re counting the Tefe version, Roger Petersen and Giuseppe Camuncoli)?

You got me, I hate all those artists.

Fuckers, all of them.

"O" the Humanatee!

October 20, 2009 at 9:58 am

OK, in that case, forget what I said.

Who’s this Alan Moore guy everyone keeps referring too?

Hester or Swan from the Morrison Millar run

O: I figured it was just the first paragraph. I love Swamp Thing, and that very much includes the Wrightson issues, the Redondo ones, and the Yeates. And I did read the original run as a kid thanks to Nickelodeon’s Video Comics show before I picked up the Pasko/Moore second series up off the newsstand.

I as not trying to insult Wrightson’s original design, and was merely trying to more vividly contrast the original version with the Bissette version.

I like Berni Wrightson and all, but John Totleben is basically my favorite comics artist ever. No contest here.

John Totleben almost bought my house once. He’s definitely the coolest person to ever come out of my home town (Erie) and on top of that he’s a nice guy and pretty much the greatest artist ever. I defy you to find a better inker (well, maybe Austin, Giordiano, Janson, Sinnott, or Nowlan are tied with him, but he has no superiors). If only he hadn’t gone blind in the late 80’s, I feel that he would have made an even greater mark on the comics industry.

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Mr. B.C.!!!! You hate Shawn McManus?!?!?!?!?

Besides SotST # 33, # 28 “Burial” was a great fill-in issue!!!
How could you NOT love this very little-used artist?!?


Kelley Jones is also great too.


October 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm

I voted for Wrightson. It seems to be bordering on heresy, but I’ve never cared for Bissette and Totleben.
They seem vastly overrated to me.

I think my favorite issues were actually the ones Totleben did solo (including my first, issue 53, the great Batman fight…) He also did great work on Miracleman by himself.

But of course, the work with Bissette is also great, so that got my pick.

I must say I really like Veitch’s work as well, and both Shawn McManus and Stan Woch did some very memorable issues (if I recall, Stan did the issue that introduced Constantine, ish 37, which is when he was REALLY introduced, I don’t count the little cameo in 25).

I would also like to say, Brian, my favorite part of these polls is your selection of covers you post to go with the choices. They make for a very nice nostalgia trip so thanks for those…

Bissett/Totleben. No contest.

Hester + DeMulder would bet second place choice

Bissette/Totleben will probably win, based on the fact that they worked on Moore’s run, but Wrightson’s work on the book was among the all-time classic runs.

“Who’s this Alan Moore guy everyone keeps referring too?”

He’s a magician!

BTW, we can’t discount Veitch. Some of Swampy’s best issues were his doing.

@Tom Fitzpatrick, ST #33 was a great issue, and relevant to this poll too, with that beautiful panel fetaturing the Wrightson-style Swamp Thing face to face with the Bissette/Totleben one.

Much as I love Wrightson’s work – Bissette/Totleben wins it for me – I do agree that Totleben alone was awesome on ST.

Wrightson. As important as Bissette and Totleben’s work on Moore’s run might be, as far as I’m concerned their work was flat-out ruined by the crappy printing of much of the run.
They need to do some serious restoration work on the stuff the next time a nice reprint is done (or has that already happened?.

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

October 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Okay, Berni is winning now, right Brian?

Please tell me Berni is winning …

C’mon, people! I understand all about personal preferences. That’s why I didn’t complain when Ditko didn’t win in the Spidey poll. But it’s Berni Gosh Darn Wrightson

The real end of the Bronze Age is The Anatomy Lesson rather than Dark Knight Returns or Watchmen. Sure, Moore’s words were crucial, but Bissette and Totleben gave them a particular power. They also brought a distinctly different visual approach to mainstream comics, helping end the genericizing ‘house style.’ The run of the three on Swamp Thing essentially created Vertigo. And a quarter century later Bissette and Totleben’s work doesn’t look dated at all. Look how well the ‘new Un-Men’ issues hold up – and that’s Bissette and Totleben (with Pasko writing) before Moore got on board.

Definitely Bissette and Totleben. Hands down! Though Berni Wrightson comes in at a somewhat close second. But, especially at the time, their style was just so unique and expressive and beautiful.

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