John Totleben

Miracleman 16 (December 1988)

Moore bites off a lot for this final issue to the arc. It isn’t enough Miracleman and company will turn the world into a utopia, Moore has to sell it. He uses great detail–like the Warpsmiths liking the Inuit language the most–to make things process. He also throws in a lot of personality. Heavy metal […]

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Miracleman 15 (November 1988)

What’s incredible–and possibly singular–about how Moore approaches Miracleman is his distance. There are moments this issue where another writer might wink at superhero comics. Moore doesn’t. Even in those moments, he’s only writing this one. More so, he’s only writing this moment, even though it’s technically a flashback. London is destroyed, decimated. There is no […]

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Miracleman 14 (April 1988)

As far as the art goes, it’s near perfect. Moore’s script (presumably with panel arrangement), Totleben’s art, it’s outstanding. And most of the issue is excellent too. The stuff with the Moran family, the stuff with Miracleman and the other super-powered beings setting up their club… well, actually that decision is Moore’s second most questionable […]

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Miracleman 13 (November 1987)

It’s an awesome issue. Not just in the flashback plotting and reveals, but with how Moore structures Miracleman’s narration from the present. Even though the present day stuff is all static and all summary, Moore manages to get in an amazing finish for this issue. Moore doesn’t try to frustrate the reader with foreshadowing, he […]

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Miracleman 12 (September 1987)

More hints at what’s to come–both in the bookends and in the present action. Moore’s pretty slick with one of the reveals–so quiet maybe it’s a typo–but the other, revealed on the last page but suggested much earlier… Well, things might just get really dramatic here in a bit. This issue reveals Miraclewoman’s back story. […]

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Miracleman 11 (May 1987)

Wow. Even with Moore’s overcooked prose–it’s from Miracleman’s memoirs–wow. It opens five years later, with Miracleman somewhere above the Earth in a floating castle. I think (about the location, not the time). Moore opens with these grandiose images and then brings things down again. New–and lovely–artist John Tolteben can do both fantastical and mundane with […]

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Swamp Thing 60 (May 1987)

Ushering in its new format status (better paper), Moore and Totleben do something quite different for Swamp Thing. Forget the comic deviating away from Swampy’s perspective… Moore’s now just using it to experiment with the (comics, not new) format. It is a prose issue, the story boxes against Totleben’s mixed media prints. DC really should […]

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Swamp Thing 55 (December 1986)

The issue’s not in the pay-off. The pay-off is great, sure, but the issue is often disconnected from it. Moore’s writing Swamp Thing’s memorial–complete with guest spots from the Phantom Stranger and Constantine and, especially, a slightly mischievous and pervy Boston Brand. But it’s not a recap of the series to date, even though most […]

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Swamp Thing 53 (October 1986)

Sure, Moore’s got an over-sized issue, but he still fits in an amazing amount of content. In this issue, in addition to the Swamp Thing stuff, there’s pretty much an issue of Batman. Moore continues to show how well he writes that character. But there’s also the pacing of it–Gotham is changing and Moore tells […]

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Swamp Thing 50 (July 1986)

While touted as an anniversary issue, Swamp Thing barely figures into this story. Moore’s upfront about his limited role–the comic opens with Cain and Abel, after all. It again features guest appearances from the DC supernatural set, with a couple deaths involved. Moore eventually does make it all about Swamp Thing, but in a relatively […]

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Swamp Thing 48 (May 1986)

For an end of the world comic, this one’s sort of tame. I guess the world itself does not end here–only a serious foreshadowing of it, especially since Swamp Thing unintentionally helps the bad guys towards that end–but it’s still very dreary stuff. Yet, the most awful thing in the comic is the cops dragging […]

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Swamp Thing 46 (March 1986)

While I love this issue–the way Moore tells the reader the ending is going to be awful, then still manages to make it even worse (without a drop of blood), is awesome–the cover does imply something else entirely. The cover implies, between the banner and the superheroes, a Crisis tie-in. And I suppose Moore does […]

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Swamp Thing 44 (January 1986)

I never thought I’d be making this statement–but I can’t tell Randall from Totleben. Randall does some of the inks here and two inkers are seamless at first read. Maybe if I had been concentrating more on the art…. Instead, this issue of Swamp Thing is a big mishmash and, against the odds, it works. […]

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Swamp Thing 42 (November 1985)

In a strange but significant way, Moore cops outs with this issue. He concludes his possessed slave descendants story without examining any other the racial elements he brought up in the previous issue. Instead, he conveniently brings in some zombies, some hallucinations and Swamp Thing… everything ends very nicely. Actually, it ends nicely for zombies […]

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Swamp Thing 40 (September 1985)

This issue’s kind of a downer-in-one. Bissette and Totleben are back at full strength and do a great job. The story concerns a housewife whose lycanthropy manifests itself (seemingly for the first time) while Swamp Thing’s in town for a visit. Moore juxtaposes the woman’s problems against the history of a local Native American tribe […]

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Swamp Thing 39 (August 1985)

Something strange happens with the art this issue. It’s Bissette and Totleben, but one or both of them is darned lazy. While there’s some great Swamp Thing art, all the human characters are hurried. And the amazing Swamp Thing as landscape (first time ever) is far less amazing than I’d expect from the artists. That […]

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Swamp Thing 38 (July 1985)

This issue is a follow-up to one of the pre-Moore ones, but there’s never an editorial note about it. It’s interesting to see Moore’s approach to something he didn’t create, in this case a town of vampires. Only these vampires are living underwater. Stan Woch is filling in on pencils (it’s unclear who’s the “regular” […]

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Swamp Thing 37 (June 1985)

Veitch brings an unexpected harshness to Swamp Thing. Not to the issue overall, and not even to Swamp Thing when he’s regrowing from a sprout. But when he’s fully grown, Veitch and Totleben’s lines make Swamp Thing stand out. He’s almost more monstrous than ever before. The outline reminds, oddly, of the Karloff Frankenstein monster. […]

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Swamp Thing 36 (May 1985)

Not a happy comic, not at all. Moore plays with having multiple points of view, fragmenting the story’s timeline to give everyone a chance at a surprising moment. He opens with Swamp Thing, who doesn’t really have a story this issue. Moore’s showing his mastery; he turns what should be a filler issue into an […]

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Swamp Thing 35 (April 1985)

The truly nightmarish quality of Moore’s Swamp Thing shows itself here in his ability to gradually peel back the layers of a small incident. Moore frames this story around a collection of newspaper headlines (about nuclear power and, more importantly, nuclear waste) and a guy addicted to it. To nuclear waste. It’s really gross, but […]

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Swamp Thing 34 (March 1985)

I should have remembered this issue, but I did not. The story is pretty simple. Alec and Abby start dating. In one of Moore’s rare moments, he forgets Swamp Thing’s acceptance of “Alec” as Abby’s name for him came in a dream sequence, not in scene. Anyway, the issue is a big crazy art fest […]

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Swamp Thing Annual 2 (January 1985)

I am having a hard time deciding my favorite part of this annual. In terms of ambition and payoff, it’s probably the best annual ever. Moore, Bissette and Totleben don’t just produce a great story, but also a fun one and an emotionally devastating one. All while Swamp Thing goes to Hell. The contestants for […]

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Swamp Thing 31 (December 1984)

Rick Veitch comes on–not sure if he joins here or is just filling in–for a very difficult issue. Moore implies two challenges for Swampy this issue–the returned Arcane and Abby’s death. But it turns out there’s only one actual challenge (to Swamp Thing). So Moore has to balance Swamp Thing knowing something the reader cannot […]

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