For a few months I've been giving a lot of thought to expanding my blogging repetoir, to finding a new subject over which to obsess day and night (because, let's face it, I have a lot of time to myself and I live in a retirement town...I gotta have something to do). I knew I wanted to tackle something outside of the Marvel Universe, but what?
Those of you who follow the Unearthly Visions Facebook page may remember that I toyed with the idea of writing a blog about indie and smaller press science fiction and fantasy novels and audiobooks. I am honest with myself enough, however, to admit that I am flighty. I can rarely finish a single novel before my interest will shift to a different genre, let alone finish the two or three that I'm often juggling at a time. What else, boiled down to just the "essentials", do I do in my spare time when I'm not fulfilling my sacred duties as steward of my household? I work out, I keep with our current political shenanigans, and I read comics. Let me also be very clear that in no sane world to I work out because I enjoy it, and I do things like blogging to take my mind off of politics, so it looks like everything comes back around to comics.
But which comic, or more specifically, which comic book character? While I have been really enjoying a lot of titles that Image has been publishing over the past few years (specifically Saga, Wicked + Divine, Nailbiter, and East of West, just to name a few), and while I think that Valiant does a superb job of maintining the connectivity of their shared universe, there's still something very visceral about following a character with decades of back story from one of the Big Two. Since, as I mentioned earlier, Marvel and I are on something of a break at the moment, the burden fell on DC.
I'll be honest; this was, at first, a daunting proposition. I haven't been overly thrilled with DC's creative output for the past few years. While I thought Man of Steel had it's good points, I have very little desire still to watch Batman v Superman, and I actually find what little I've seen of the Suicide Squad movie to be somewhat offensive (especially as the father of a six year old girl who finds the antics of the various cartoon incarnations of Harley Quinn to be delightful). While I enjoyed a lot of what DC was doing in the late 90s and most of the 00s, especially with titles like JLA, JSA, Green Lantern, and the Flash, I wasn't overly thrilled with the direction most titles went with the New 52.
All is not dark and dismal, however. In terms of movies, I think the upcoming Wonder Woman film looks amazing. Regarding even the New 52 there are a handful of titles that I truly enjoyed. The Court of Owls arch in Batman. The first twenty something issues of the Flash. Various archs throughout the Aquaman title. I even initially enjoyed I, Vampire.
There was one title, however, that I picked up the week of the launch of the New 52, and stuck with gleefully until that book's cancellation almost four years later. Regular readers of Unearthly Visions may recall that I have an affection for off beat characters, ones that defy the traditional boundaries of what it means to a a super hero, or even to be human, and this DC character certainly fit that description. This was a character I'd thoroughly enjoyed as a child, but had lost touch with during my teens and twenties, while still maintaining something of a distant fondness. The New 52 title reinvented this character in a way that I personally found more accessible, while still maintaining the mythos that I respected and that other fans had cherished for years, a mythos that I became inspired to explore in greater detail. This is a character with over forty years of publication history, plenty of material to keep me blogging for some time to come.
It is with great anticipation, then, that I announce the upcoming arrival of Avatar of the Green: a Swamp Thing blog. I'll be launching the introductory post in a few days, and explaining how the format will be different than that of Unearthly Visions. I'll also be starting an Avatar of the Green Facebook page, and sending out regular updates via my Twitter account @GrantRichter9. I hope everyone that follows along with me enjoys the journey as much as I'm looking forward to it.