13. Swamp Thing (DC/Vertigo)
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Stephen Bissette
Before Alan Moore began his run on Swamp Thing in 1983, the character was nothing more than the star of a formulaic monster book that was perpetually overlooked by DC in favor of its superhero properties. Moore put his mark on Swampy by introducing ideas that were part existential, part post-modern, and wholly unique to American mainstream comics.
Instead of going the typical monster route, Moore turned Swamp Thing into a book filled with a unique poetry and beauty that lifted a dying property into a breeding ground of innovation. That beauty was also counterbalanced by elements of horror and the supernatural, which brought a more mature flavor to the book that would eventually go on to inspire the company’s wildly successful Vertigo line.
What made Moore’s Swap Thing different, though, was the fact that he wasn’t writing like a typical comic book scribe. The overlong exposition and eye-popping action scenes were replaced with metaphors and deep introspection about the balance between man and nature. With a roster of artists up to the task of bringing Moore’s nightmarish world to life, Swamp Thing quickly became the destination for adults looking to get back into comics.