M’nagalah – “...And you, Doctor Alec Holland... will finally provide M’nagalah with substance enough to be fulfilled... so come... come and make M’nagalah whole."
Swamp Thing – “Come... and let myself be devoured... by a pulsating cancer... like you?In a word... M’nagalah... NO!!”
It's always difficult to get along with people if you're never given a chance and if you happen to look a bit like sewerage covered in moss, then it's going to be a little bit more difficult. As we all know, just because you don't look like a super model doesn't mean you're a bad guy and if you're not convinced then maybe Swamp Thing #8 can change your mind.
Whilst travelling away from Gotham city and minding his own business (as big green lumps tend to do) the Swamp Thing stumbled across an injured man out in the snow.The man told Swamp Thing that he was from the town of Perdition; a former mining town fallen on hard times which had turned to the occult for help in a time of desperation.After he finished his tale the man died and so Swamp Thing returned his body to the town where he was welcomed by the local people.But Swamp Thing was suspicious and he was right to be so, because he soon came face-to-face with the dark heart that beated below the town.
The eternal man/monster struggle that characters like DC’s Swamp Thing, Dark Horse’s Hellboy and Marvel’s the Thing went through was comic-book legend.The hero who was trapped in an outer shell which put him at odds with his fellow man had been staple reading for years and it was stories such as this one from Swamp Thing which demonstrated that the true horror of man lied not with someone with a frightening appearance, but with those who appeared normal.
As the Swamp Thing arrived in the town of Perdition he was greeted by fear and hostility, but that soon subsided when the locals realised they could use the man-monster to further their own needs. Part of their plan was that they sent him on a wild goose chase in search of a lost boy, only so that he could be confronted by the malevolent M’nagalah who lay deep within the town’s foundations. He claimed that he decreed the birth of life on the planet and then gave man the capacity for mindless violence....so in essence he was pure evil!The town’s people sent Swamp Thing to M'nagalah because they hoped his death would save them and that they would have been rewarded.The town had been left destitute after the coal industry dried up and the occult presented itself as a way to return to a more prosperous time.Swamp Thing became a sacrifice to keep M'nagalah alive, but fortunately for old Swampy he was able to see the force of evil for what it really was.
The town’s people had been caught up in a loop of greed and selfishness which was depicted by the sentient being taking control of their lives.The creature may have made them send Swamp Thing into its path, but however strong it was, they had free will and proved they were just as grotesque as M’nagalah for not resisting.Ultimately the creature was merely a plot device to show that man was equally capable of horrific acts and that beauty really was in the eye of the beholder. Many people have to live with their own monsters and demons, but they should never have to live with the monsters and demons of others. Now that truly is a monstrous thing.
MONSTER MASH: *The Swamp Thing first appeared in 1971 in a short story in House of secrets #92 with the alter-ego Alex Olsen.The story proved a hit and so the character was brought back in 1972 but given a new alter-ego of Dr Alec Holland; a different Swamp Thing.
*There have been two feature films based on the character; Swamp Thing (1982) and Return of Swamp Thing (1989), as well as a television series and a short-lived animated series.
*Swamp Thing co-creator Len Wein also created Marvel’s popular mutant superhero Wolverine. You may have heard of him.