Swamp Thing: Scott Snyder, Francesco Francavilla, Travis Lanham, Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn, special credit to Bernie Wrightson
You guys want to see something really cool? First, take a good look at that cover there of Swamp Thing #10. Notice the characters, Swamp Thing and Arcane, grappling in the brush. To some very faithful readers (or intrepid researchers) this cover may look familiar. And there’s that weird credit at the bottom with Paquette’s signature: “After Wrightson, with love & admiration.” What’s that all about?
Here’s the original “Swamp Thing #10” cover, from 1974.
(click for source)
Neat, huh? That’s only the beginning. When I first saw another name on the book for art, other than Paquette, I kind of freaked. I do that, it seems. When I think an artist and their style is perfect for the series, I want them to stay there. Forever. “Lol j/k,” (But no, really). We have here Francesco Francavilla, which kind of sounds like a South American Transylvania, and I like it.
I know nothing about this guy, so I was nervous going in. But that first page sold me. All of this stuff with Anton all red and talking to this fallen person or whoever is fantastic. Really well done. I love the style, and I love the coloring. By the way, impressive about Francavilla, there are no inkers or colorists credited on this issue. It was all Francavilla. That part where Anton’s beating that person to death was REALLY incredible.
The rest of the book really isn’t my style. But I can recognize it. It feels very retro. Thick, deliberate lines. No abundance of incredible detail. Even some of the coloring bleeds together, and crosses over lines into other colors. It’s not really apparent, but it’s there. It’s not perfect, is my meaning. Now, I can’t say whether this was deliberate in order to pay homage to the original #10 issue, or if it’s for any other reason. Point is, I’m not a big fan of the panels/pages in which Anton Arcane is not.
I also really like how the letter boxes for Anton’s narration mimic the old Swamp Thing book style too. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert on the previous Swamp Thing in any sense of the word. This I know all through research. So I say “I like it,” because I respect the creators’ decision to make the homage. It’s this kind of attention that makes me think Snyder wasn’t planning on having Arcane return in the same issue as one in which he was prominently featured on the cover. It’s these surprise moments in life when people decide to go all out in this way.
I love Anton’s design, too. He looks really dangerous. I can’t tell but it looks like he only has the one eye, and even that’s cracked. Weird to think an eye can crack like that (it can’t), but I dig the look. It gives the villain a unique perspective on the world, he sees things in a way that absolutely no one else can. He’s going to prove a very tough adversary I think. So hopefully they don’t kill him off.
Swamp Thing #10, the verdict: I’m highly impressed, aside from the retro-looking art style. It was a fun issue, and I enjoyed reading it. There wasn’t a whole LOT to read, either, like some of the past issues of Swamp Thing where there’s been need for exposition. I miss Paquette’s unique layouts, but there’s something so incredibly classic about the look of this issue that I really can’t find myself a reason to complain. Parts of this really remind me of an old black-and-white horror movie. Night of the Living Zombies, for example. Quite a fun feeling.
(Photo Source: Comic Book Movie)