Tom Mandrake

Sidekick 1 (August 2013)

Tom Mandrake is an odd choice for a superhero comic. He does an excellent job and all, but he’s so identified with horror, it’s strange to see him do capes and tights. Sure, there’s more to Sidekick than capes and tights but it’s not horror. It’s more “realistic” superhero stuff. J. Michael Straczynski mixes Batman, […]

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Swamp Thing 115 (January 1992)

This story eventually has a very familiar feel… ghosts in the swamp fighting. It’s unclear if Collins meant to pay homage to Wein and Wrightson. One hopes, because otherwise it just seems like a repeat episode. There’s a really cute short at the end about the Cajun Santa, which cements the domestic feeling Collins has […]

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Swamp Thing 114 (December 1991)

Nice art from Tom Mandrake and Kim DeMulder on a weird issue. Collins introduces a bunch of demonic pirates–there are ties to Cthulhu-like gods, something not in the previous DC versions of Hell as far as I remember–who go after Swamp Thing and family. Except they have no real reason to go after Abby and […]

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Swamp Thing 111 (September 1991)

Collins shows off a lot this issue. She turns the comic into a domestic–it’s young parents Abby and Alec bantering about the baby. Unfortunately Collins dumbs down Abby–she’s just a mom now instead of a development of her previous self; still, Collins writes new Abby well. But then the couple runs across a swamp ghost […]

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Swamp Thing 110 (August 1991)

Three big things I noticed. Abby’s still from Eastern Europe, everything uses the word “elemental” a lot and Collins is definitely presenting a more disinterested Alec. I’m not sure why I expect him to intercede and save the bad guys, but the way he stands back… it’s sort of disturbing. There’s also a lot of […]

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Swamp Thing 85 (April 1989)

This issue’s extremely confusing. Veitch writes it assuming people know Hawk is Tomahawk’s son. In other words, a specialized audience at the time of its publication and an even more specialized one as time goes on. There are probably eight characters–all of them DC Western characters (except a couple for a surprise)–and Veitch has to […]

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Swamp Thing 84 (March 1989)

Veitch really puts Abby through the wringer this issue. Instead of supervillains, she gets to deal with the American healthcare system. Comatose ex-husband (and government operative) Matt is now ringing up ten thousand a day and the hospital expects Abby to pay up. It’s a distressing issue. Without Swamp Thing, there’s not a lot of […]

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Swamp Thing 83 (February 1989)

This issue of Swamp Thing continues the time traveling further into the past, with Swamp Thing meeting up with Enemy Ace. Except it’s not Alec’s story, nor is it Enemy Ace’s story… it’s Abby’s grandmother’s story. The issue belongs to Anton Arcane’s mother–she narrates it, she has the biggest story arc–and it’s downright disturbing. She’s […]

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Swamp Thing 78 (November 1988)

It’s another fill-in issue–Mandrake’s on pencils again (with Alcala inking); Stephen R. Bissette handles the writing chores. It’s also filler narratively, but very nice narrative filler. Bissette doesn’t have much for Abby to do, however. He sends her on another trip to the afterlife, which could be eventful, but instead she just hangs out with […]

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Swamp Thing 77 (October 1988)

Did someone forget to tell Jamie Delano Abby is from Eastern Europe? She’s got a line about being a nervous sixteen year-old and it doesn’t seem very appropriate, given her Iron Curtain upbringings. Actually, the guest crew of Delano and Tom Mandrake (Alcala’s on inks still) mimic Veitch so well I had no idea he […]

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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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Victorian Undead 4 (April 2010)

Now here’s a way to pad an issue… Tom Mandrake illustrates a flashback (with a far more traditional–read recognizable–Holmes). It’s Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls with a different conclusion–Moriarty has zombie juice ready to save him after he… ahem… falls. It’s one heck of a way to waste pages. The artwork’s lovely and all […]

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