Most Requested Figures: DCUC Swamp Thing

Sometimes as toy collectors, we can look across our displays and, no matter how many toys we have, only see the ones that aren’t there. They are the missing figures. The characters toy companies never got around to, never thought were important enough, or worse – the figures companies felt the need to show us at comicon in the “We’re Never Gonna Make These” case…

Though at first glance it might seem that Mattel is our Most Requested focus yet again, it’s actually DC Comics, Vertigo, Dan Didio, and Karen Berger in our sights this Friday. Mattel’s going to need their help if we’re going to pull this one off.

You’ve probably heard of Swamp Thing. He first appeared in House of Secrets #92 published by DC Comics, followed by a 24-issue run published by DC Comics in the seventies, and a second series in the eighties that saw 128 issues published by DC Comics. You might be familiar with him because of his appearances in other DC titles: Brave & the Bold, DC Comics Presents, Challengers of the Unknown, Infinity, Inc., Millennium, Captain Atom, Firestorm, Guy Gardner: Warrior, Batman, Underworld Unleashed, Green Lantern, and Aquaman. You might remember him from Crisis on Infinite Earths too.

Yet Mattel can’t make a figure of him under the current arrangement – because he’s not a DC Character.

In 1993, DC created the Vertigo imprint to advance the medium as a whole. Swamp Thing, starting with issue #129, was moved from the DC to Vertigo. The book had some high cailber writers too. During the switch, it was horror writer Nancy A. Collins (of Sonja Blue fame) at the helm. Grant Morrison and Mark Millar would follow in her footsteps over the rest of the run. Long story short, the book lasted four years under the Vertigo imprint and was one of the titles responsible for establishing Vertigo as a contender in the comic publishing industry.

I’m not sure when the “no crossover” policy between the imprints started. Daniel (of the Endless) showed up in one of the better Morrison JLA storylines in 1999. And some characters like the Phantom Stranger seem to be able to move between the imprints despite the policy. The first time I remember hearing that there would be no crossover to protect the individual brands was from Dan Didio shortly after he took over.

Now, I understand the importance of keeping the integrity of a brand. I understand the doomsday scenario that Constantine might show up in Wonder Woman and some poor defenseless child might want to follow Constantine’s character back to Hellblazer. Okay, I’m being facetious – I really do understand, but at the same time, it seems slightly ridiculous, doesn’t it?

And then, there’s how often the rules get bent for various projects. We already mentioned Phantom Stranger, but there’s more than that. Grant Morrison got Animal Man back in the DC Universe. The Doom Patrol is back in the DC Universe too. Madame Xanadu and House of Mystery are Vertigo titles now. Vertigo tried a different spin on Deadman a few years back, before Deadman was once again placed in the DC Universe. Jonah Hex followed a similar path. So has Zatanna and a few others.

Bringing it back to Swamp Thing, the answer often given by Dan Didio is that “characters like Swamp Thing are essential to the identity of Vertigo right now – that’s one of the things that Vertigo was built on”. Let’s dissect this statement. One, Vertigo was built on the back of Swamp Thing. It was also built on the back of Animal Man and Robot Man, but those have DC Classics already. Two, Swamp Thing is essential to Vertigo “right now”? In 2000, Swamp Thing’s daughter had a 20-issue run. In 2004, Swamp Thing returned and pulled 29 issues. It ended three years ago and he’s gone unused since. That’s not very “right now”.

Look, boiling it down, we get it. Swamp Thing is Vertigo and the line is called DC Classics, but the truth is, Swamp Thing is essential to DC Comics too. Swamp Thing is one of those rare characters that made the jump from comics into public consciousness, at least for awhile. He’s been featured in two movies, a cartoon, and his own television series. He even had his own, Super Powers compatible, toyline. He’s not just a Vertigo character – perhaps more than any other crossover character, he’s important to both imprints.

It is my feeling that DC Classics is the penultimate DC toyline. There are some folks waiting for the “next generation” of DC toys and maybe something will come along and be better, but I’m not banking on it right now. I’m positive I just bought the best Joker I’ll ever buy. I’ve got a Robotman and a friggin’ Killer Moth. The Metal Men are on the way to fight Chemo. This line is everything I ever wanted and it is flat-out wrong that Swamp Thing can’t be a part of it because of legal or imprint issues.

There needs to be a way to get this done. Maybe Mattel can get a Vertigo extension. Maybe Didio and Berger can agree that Swamp Thing is a DC character for 2010 so Swamp Thing can get his DC Classic on. I don’t care, but something needs to happen on this front. Swamp Thing is just as pivotal to the fabric of the DCU as he is Vertigo and he needs his day in plastic (again).

Is Swamp Thing a must in your DC Classics collection? Please take a moment to post in our comments section and let us know how you feel…

73 thoughts on “Most Requested Figures: DCUC Swamp Thing

  1. A DCUC Swamp Thing needs to be done, he’s not that small of a name considering he has had movie, TV show, appeared in numberous comics, and cartoon tv shows.

    I don’t don’t care if he’s a figure or a C&C figure but just get him out all ready.

  2. Yes! Swamp Thing being retained by Vertigo is keeping him out of so many good stories.

    Swamp Thing is a classic DC character. It’s stupid they can’t do him.

  3. Swamp Thing needs to be brought back to the DCU proper. He is accomplishing nothing for Vertigo if he’s not being used. DCD gave us a great figure, now let the Horsemen put their spin on it. Help us make it happen DC!

  4. He’s one of the all-time greats, and the fact that we don’t have a FEW Swamp Thing figures to choose from is a crime! I’d like to see a new DCD version as well as a Mattel one.

    1. I can’t buy DCD anymore, but maybe DCD could do Swamp Thing in that History line?? It’s somewhat compatible, right?

      1. I had the DCD one. It literally was a statue with artic cut in. They can do better.

        Maybe a HDC one, if mattel can really never do it.

  5. Yes! Please! God, does DiDio smell his own crap as he spews it? A line called “DC Classics” should be able to cover characters that have appeared in DC comics from any era. Remember the classic Alan Moore tale from “DC Comics Presents…” (I believe it was #25)? It was a Swamp Thing and Superman crossover of all things!

    Who cares if ST is important to Vertigo “now”, what matters is that he was important to DC for a long time and definitely deserves a spot in Mattel’s line. Of course knowing Mattel, they’ll make him the C&C in a Wal-mart exclusive wave. [sadness creeps over the land]

  6. Not having Swamp Thing in the line would be criminal. Mattel is ignorant to not do him.

    Course, at this point, I’ll be surprised if we even get wave thirteen, so I don’t know how much hope there is for anything beyond Darkside.

  7. Seriously, as long as a character has shown up in a DCU title (Swamp Thing, Constantine, Daniel Hall/Dream) or is owned by DC and has encountered DCU characters (Morpheus/Dream, Death) then Mattel should be able to make it. And the adult character argument is stupid. They have made characters released at retail who are mass murderers.

      1. Doomsday and the Joker have massive body counts, so the adult character theme is pretty silly. =P πŸ˜‰

  8. Maybe if we’re really good, they’ll make him an SDCC exclusive, so he’ll exist but be a total pain in the butt to get.

    (Of course, I suppose if he’s a DCUC figure at all, he’ll be a total pain in the butt to get…)

  9. I really miss Swamp Thing in the DC Universe. I’d love to see him and Batman team-up again. I’d understand it more if Swamp Thing was currently being published by Vertgio but it’s not.

    And, ya, I really want a DCUC Swamp Thing.

  10. you know i dont know too much about swamp thing but i would love vertigo character and even wild storm to make it into this line, but before all this there are just to many other dcuc proper characters i need first. i need hourman and jason todd, then i can handle a swmap thing walmart exclusive lol

    1. Eddy,

      But Swamp Thing IS a “proper DC character”. And probably one of the twelve most recognizable DC characters to boot!

      1. im defiantly not denying that, but we do have to go with what we are given and as of today he remians a vertigo character. as much as that sucks

  11. I never knew he was a dc character first. It’s kinda cool to see him with dupes, bats, and hawkman.

  12. Yes… we need a DCUC Swamp Thing.. maybe a SDCC exclusive like Lobo… (or DCD can make a newer, more articulated figure)

    “It is my feeling that DC Classics is the penultimate DC toyline.”

    oh, and I am sorry for doing this, but its something that bugs me. “penultimate” doesn’t mean the greatest, or perfect or even “most ultimate” it means next to last.. so I read that sentence thinking “well huh… there will only be one more dc universe toyline after this one?”

    sorry.. I don’t usually do jerky things like that

    1. Well, they’ll only be one more attempt at DC toys, they’ll see the futility, and stop, right?

      LOL. I had used seminal, but didn’t like it and didn’t bother to go thesaurus hunting. My bad.

  13. you know, three things hit me when reading this:

    1) HELLS YES i’d take a swamp thing… even if it were an SDCC exclusive, i’d track me down a swampy.

    2) you know he’s almost impossible to get made because he represents 100% unique tooling, right? i’m sure that, moreso than his license availability, is what’s hurting the forward momentum on a swamp thing fig

    3) RIP dick durock. his passing got ignored by a lot of media outlets, but this guy gave swampy a physique and a voice that will live w/ me forever. thanks dick.

    1. I’d be fine with a SDCC one.

      I’m wondering how much the 4H could do with the Lobo/Despero body – Vault thinks it is too big, maybe it is? – but, I wonder about a new upper torse/head and then some soft goods type stuff for the rest somehow/someway?

      I don’t know I need to think on it more.

      1. Oh! And yes about Dick Durock, I did catch it on one of the news stations day of, but that was it. Sad how that works.

  14. Could not agree more. And, I think the SDCC Exclusive route may be the best way to go. That way, they can make the sculpt, well…sort of gross. Moore, Totleben and Bissette’s run on “Saga Of the Swamp Thing” is my favorite run of comics ever, and in it, Swampy is more than a little disgusting. All the weird fruits growing off him, the dead things in him, the process of him regenerating– it’s all stomach-churning and I think the figure should represent that. Maybe I’m alone on this, but that’s MY ideal DCUC Swamp Thing.

    And, while we’re on the topic, why isn’t there a Swamp Thing book on the stands? With the environment being such a hot issue and people trying to be “Green,” this’d be the best time for a Swampy book.

    1. I don’t think you’re alone, but I think I’d rather have a “cleaner” one. The DC Direct one did a great job of what you’re talking about (for an articulated statue), but I’m thinking of his classic DC appearances which weren’t quite as stomach-churning, as you put it.

      Toy Biz did a great job with Man-Thing/Sasquatch in the 5 in line. I wonder if there is any similar DC Combo that could take advantage of something like that.

      It’d be a crime if I don’t have a DCUC Swamp Thing to go with my ML Man-Thing.

    2. you know, the topic of being green just reminded me… did you guys know that the toxic avenger has been made into a musical? i almost want to see it, in that train wreck kind of way.

      no fargin’ way would we get a toxie figure in marvel legends would we? you guys can champion your grail swamp thing from DCU, i’m w/ you… any chance we can get a grass roots toxie campaign next?

      1. for the record, the musical is actually pretty funny (yeah.. I’ve seen it… twice.. saw the Evil Dead musical too.. NY can be a nice place to live) The songs are by the keyboardist from Bon Jovi (and suprisingly catchy)

        toxie is owned by troma, and SOTA did a really nice figure of him a few years back, but neither hasbro nor marvel has a stake in him… so unless NECA decides to make him part of Cult Classics, I don’t see another figure happening soon..

        which is a pity.. I want one that is actually articulated well, for a change

        1. that’s cool that you got see it… i have to admit, i couldn’t believe they’d made a musical of it when i first heard.

          i know SOTA did one a while back, that looked great, but no artic… but i swear, i thought marvel had the licensing rights… but i’ve been wrong before.

  15. Swamp Thing would make an awesome figure.

    I understand that ST is a Vertigo character now, and there’s no crossovers, and blah, blah, blah. The fact is that the most seminal runs on Swamp Thing (imo, of course), the Moore penned run, and the original Wein/Wrightson run are both DCU books. I’m not tricked by their rebranding as Vertigo collections. Moore’s run has both Crisis and Invasion crossovers for crying out loud. That’s a DCU book.

    I would love to see a new Swamp Thing book, whether it’s Vertigo or DCU. I would also love, love, love to see a new Swamp Thing figure.

    1. Exactly, the imprint thing doesn’t really do much.

      I get why Volkswagen uses the same parts inside an Audi, but a different outside. It protects the brands and not everybody looks at an Audi like a nicer VW.

      I doubt there is anyone who knows a bit about comics that doesn’t look at Vertigo as an extension of DC Comics.

      And it double sucks that the rule only seems to apply to a handful of Vertigo characters instead of all of them.

  16. “One, Vertigo was built on the back of Swamp Thing.”

    And then they busied themselves with destroying everything that made the character work.

    Karen Berger, take a bow.

  17. The Vertigo excuse for not him is complete crap, and if Mattel made him as a C&C, I would absolutely buy a whole set, and I know LOTS of other people would, too. Mattel AND DC only stand to make money off of a Swamp Thing figure.

  18. Swamp Thing is, in my mind, an ESSENTIAL character to the DCU, and DC not allowing Mattel to do a figure because he’s a “Vertigo” book is just DUMB!

    DiDido & Berger, please look at your competition. Punisher has had both “Max” (adult line) and regular Marvel Universe books, with no problem with children picking up the wrong book. As a result, Punisher has seen NUMEROUS action figures. Swampy is WAY cooler than Punisher, and has a richer history overall. For DC to put a hold on this character because he is currently under the Vertigo imprint makes absolutely zero sense, as he has interacted with the “big guns” of the DCU much longer than he has run around in Vertigo.

    Seriously…knock this crap off and let Mattel do a Swamp Thing figure.

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