“Soon after ‘It‘ appeared in Unknown (the pulp mag competitor of the Weird Tales title which showcased Conan and Kull and Lovecraft), Ted Sturgeon’s name was a household word – at least if you lived in a house-hold where fantasy books lined creaking shelves. More Than Human, ‘Microcosmic God‘ and The Synthetic Man were still in the future, but it was all there – all the talent and the promise – lying there newborn and naked and writhing in a story called ‘It‘ which has never been topped in its field, and which has itself directly or in, directly spawned a virtual army,of gloopy-glop monsters which have infiltrated nearly every comics company which ever went into hock for a four-color printing press.”
-From an essay entitled A Somewhat Personal Pronouncement by Roy Thomas (found in Supernatural Thrillers #1 – December 1972)
If there is a concise history of fictional wetland creatures with non-specific pronoun-noun names I’m not aware of it. Be it an IT, a MAN-THING or a SWAMP THING I’ve a a real HEAP of fascination for the merging (or emerging) of man-like-life from decay and vegetable matter.
Here’s a brief timeline of my own devising:
August 1940 – Street & Smith’s Unknown Fantasy Fiction -> It! by Theodore Sturgeon
(a composite being of mud, mold, decaying foliage surrounds a human skeleton and comes alive)
1942 – Hillman Periodicals -> The Heap
(the will of a WWI flying ace clings “to the smallest shred of life through sheer force of will” and arises from swamp muck in a rotted body intermingled with vegetation)
May 1971 – Marvel Comics -> Man-Thing
(a “slow-moving, empathic, humanoid” that had once been a man arises)
July 1971 – DC Comics -> Swamp Thing
(a plant elemental awakens)
December 1972 – Marvel Comics -> Supernatural Thrillers -> A comics adaptation of the original It!
March 1974 – CBS Radio Mystery Theater -> The Creature From The Swamp
I really enjoyed this production from CBS Radio Mystery Theater’s first season. It is obviously inspired by its predecessors but it also incorporates some earlier mythology to good, and mysterious effect.
Go now, follow Larry Drake, a man burned by the flames of the past, follow him into the swamp. See what fate befalls him. See what fate befalls the beautiful woman he rescues from a frightening creature that lays waiting within the marshy depths of the Devil’s Cauldron.
CBS Radio Mystery Theater – #0053 – The Creature From The Swamp
By Ian Martin; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcast: March 7, 1974
Posted by Jesse Willis