This is the fourteenth of twenty-two parts of Chapter Eight of The Last War in Albion, focusing on Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing. An omnibus of all twenty-two parts can be purchased at Smashwords. If you purchased serialization via the Kickstarter, check your Kickstarter messages for a free download code.
The stories discussed in this chapter are currently available in six volumes. This entry covers stories from the third and fourth volumes. The third is available in the US here and the UK here. The fourth is in the US here and UK here. Finding the other volumes are, for now, left as an exercise for the reader, although I will update these links as the narrative gets to those issues.
Previously in The Last War in Albion
: Alan Moore began a lengthy storyline usually referred to as the American Gothic story, in which Swamp Thing encounters traditional horror monsters in various American locales. One of the most notable stories in this arc is an issue called “The Curse,” about menstruation and werewolves in rural Maine.
“I is not want for come no more alive by fire, as like to this. It is not right. It is more hurt as I may hold.” – Alan Moore, Voice of the Fire
“The Curse,” however, was not an uncontroversial story. Indeed, it generated so much response that the letter pages of both Swamp Thing #45 and #46 were devoted entirely to letters regarding the story. For the most part, however, these letters were in favor of the story. The only outright critical letter in Swamp Thing #45 comes from a gentleman in (ironically) Northampton, Massachusetts, and complains that Moore repeats the phrase “hungry for the moon” too often, objects to the story’s generality in speaking for all women, and complains that the display of steak knives is unrealistic (“no market worth its liabilities would ever, ever, never-ever display its cutlery so dangerously”). Of these three complaints it is, in an idiosyncrasy typical of the sorts of comics readers who wrote in to DC letters pages in the 1980s, the steak knives that seem to be the biggest problem. Another letter, however, takes issue with the ending of the story, while still generally praising it.
|Figure 478: Phoebe lying dead under the howling moon.|
(Written by Alan Moore, art by Steve Bissette and John
Totleben, from Swamp Thing #40, 1985)
This sentiment is shared by one of the two letters presented in Swamp Thing #46. This letter, by Mindy Newell, takes up most of a page, and Moore offers an equally long response in the letter page. Newell’s objection is straightforward – that Moore’s decision to have Phoebe kill herself is a weak cop-out of an ending. Newell writes, “I also understand that you were trying to point out to our male audience that women don’t deserve to be treated in such a horrific manner… that you were striking a blow, not just for equal rights, but for equal understanding.