Swamp Thing 88 (unpublished page)
Swamp Thing 88 (unpublished cover)
Over 30 years later “Morning of the Magician” remains unpublished.
“Morning” was to land Swamp Thing at Calvary during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the swan song for writer Rich Veitch on the title.
Leading to what has become one of the most controversial stories – both on and off page – in comicdom’s history, Swamp Thing was catapulted through time meeting with various characters in DC’s past era comic books. Included were Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace and Bat Lash. In issue 87 Swamp Thing met King Arthur in Camelot where he was to make one final leap in time to find the Holy Grail.
The initial script had been approved and artist Michael Zulli had most of the artwork completed when DC’s President Jenette Kahn cancelled the issue. Many reasons abound, most centered on the backlash of Martin Scorsese’s recent Last Temptation of Christ, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses and even Madonna’s much maligned Pepsi ad shilled to the tune of Like a Prayer.
While his audience was small – compared to flagship characters like Batman and Superman – rights had been sold for a Swamp Thing cartoon to air the following year as well as a licensed likeness toy line. Tim Burton’s first Batman movie was also on the horizon and Kahn wanted smooth sailing.
The fact is Veitch was so incensed he left the DC fold. According to interviews during and after the fall out, Veitch’s contract was about to end and he had planned to leave Swamp Thing after the story arc ended. But, he was to continue working for the company on other projects.
Prior to his popular Sandman, Neil Gaiman had been tapped to add a few stories, but in a show of solidarity he declined the title.
While the script has never been officially released, the artwork was on display at the Words and Pictures museum in Boston for a time.
A copy of the script and completed art can be viewed thanks to comics blog 20th Century Danny Boy.