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Swamp ThingThe Swamp Thing is a fictional character created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson for DC Comics, and featured in a long-running horror-fantasy comic book series of the same name. He is a humanoid mass of vegetable matter who fights to protect his swamp home, the environment in general, and humanity, from various supernatural threats. The series was continued by a number of writers, notably Alan Moore, whose reinvention of the character was particularly influential.
Swamp Thing first appeared in House of Secrets #92 (June-July 1971), depicted in this story as Alex Olsen. Near the beginning of the 20th Century, scientist Alex Olsen is caught in a lab explosion set by his co-worker, Damian Ridge, intended to kill him so that Ridge may gain the hand of Olsen's wife Linda. Olsen is changed by the chemicals and the forces within the swamp into a powerful, monstrous Swamp Thing who kills Ridge before the latter can murder Linda. Unable to make Linda realize his true identity, the Swamp Thing sadly shambles back to his boggy home.
After the success of the short story in the House of Secrets comic, the original creators were asked to write an ongoing series, but updating the character to be in the present and to appear more heroic. Swamp Thing #1 (1st series, October-November 1972, by Wein and Wrightson) was then begun, fast-forwarding to the 70s, and relating a completely different origin for the frightfully foliaged character. Scientist Alec Holland, working on a secret restorative formula in the Louisiana swamps that can "make forests out of deserts", is killed by a bomb planted by agents of the mysterious Mr. E, who wants the formula. Splashed with burning chemicals in the massive fire, Holland runs from the lab and falls into the waters of a muck-filled swamp. Some time later, a creature resembling a humanoid plant appears. This creature, called Swamp Thing, was originally conceived as Alec Holland mutated into a vegetable-like being, a "muck-encrusted mockery of a man". Much of his later adventures would involve the Swamp Thing attempting to find a way to become human again.
The major difference between the first and second Swamp Thing is that the latter not only appears more muscular than shambling, but possesses the ability of speech. The speech impediment of Alex Olsen is a major reason why his wife was unable to recognize him. During Alan Moore's run in Saga of the Swamp Thing #33, a connection was made between the two versions of the Swamp Thing when the narrator of the House of Secrets comic relates Alex Olson's tale and then states "Alec Holland was not the first thing to walk the swamps! There were others before him . . . In the history of the world there have come sour times when the earth feels compelled to create an elemental champion for itself . . . Your world has again shaped a protector."
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