DC Comics Presents #8 (1979) Retro Review

Reviewer: John Babos
Story Title: The Sixty Deaths of Solomon Grundy

Written by: Steve Englehart
Art by: Murphy Anderson
Colors by: Jerry Serpe
Letters by: Ben Oda
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Publisher: DC

This is one of my favorites from yesteryear – DC’s two marsh men in one book!

For the uninitiated, DC Comics Presents was a Superman team-up book meant to compliment DC’s other team-up book, World’s Finest which started as a Superman and Batman team book, but ended as a Batman team-up book!

Issue #8 of DC Comics Presents is also one of my earliest memories of comics – back during a time when I didn’t care about bags and boards or understand continuity. It was just a really cool book that spotlighted a really awesome hero in Superman, back when he was “cool”, and two swamp ghouls! Monsters were so cool back then! Scary too.

This issue follows Swamp Thing on a quest to change back from marshland monster to respected human scientist. That mission brings him to the sewers of Metropolis to seek out Solomon Grundy in the hopes of experimenting on him and unlocking the secret of his mutation. This makes Swamp Thing an unlikely ally to Grundy in his escape from the clutches of Superman.

The issue also features one of the most haunting moments of my youth – Superman accidentally ripping Swamp Thing’s arm off and, later, watching it grow back slowly! Cool and eerie at the same time!

The next most haunting image? Sixty Solomon Grundy’s crawling from the sewers and upturning gratings across the streets of Metropolis! I mean – sixty super strong monsters vs. one Superman. That was a very cool image from a boy born in the Bronze Age of Comics!

Anyhow, after Swamp Thing and Grundy’s escape, a little sewer experimentation, and Superman engaging STAR Labs (Scientific and Technological Advanced Research) — about some chemical reactions in the sewers of Metropolis that seem to be spawning Solomon Grundy’s by the busload — he needs a cure and fast!

Anyhow, STAR Labs comes up with a lethal solution to their fist-full-of-Grundys problem, leading Superman to douse the murderous marauders in deadly poisons much to the dismay of Swamp Thing. His cure will take longer to find, let alone witnessing the Man of Steel kill.

This was a touching story drawn by uber-artist Murphy Anderson and editted by the legendary Julius Schwartz.

You can probably pick this up in the cheapy bins at your local comics shoppe or at the next comics convention in your area. These old DC Comics Presents issues are just plain fun reads! Period.

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