A Muck Thing

Muck ThingI have a fondness for certain specific types of monsters.

Giant Monsters. That is, any type of critter that’s 15 feet tall or taller. I’m not very discriminating about the bigger monsters. That size range covers everybody from the original King Kong to the Fifty Foot Woman to The Deadly Mantis to Godzilla. Screw the cube square law. I love over-sized monsters.

Fishman Monsters. The Monster of Piedras Blancas. The Creature from the Black Lagoon. The Humanoids from the Deep. The residents of Innsmouth. Any critter that’s an unholy cross between man and seafood makes me happy. (Except traditional mermaids. I’m not sure why. That top-half-human, bottom-half-fish arrangement just seems silly to me. I know that makes no sense.)

Frankensteins. My love for Frankenstein comes later than for the previous two categories. I had to read the novel before I really became interested. Since I’ve read a lot of sequels to/alternate versions of Mary Shelley’s novel and I’m working my way through various movie versions. I certainly have fun drawing versions of the creature.

Lovecraftian Things From Beyond. Not just the Cthulhu Mythos. Science fiction horror where the horror is a thing that exists outside human understanding? I’m not really sure how to describe it.

Sasquatches. I’d love it if there really is a Bigfoot, Yeti, Orang Pendak or other upright ape still wandering the earth. There aren’t a lot of good bigfoot movies but I’ve got a small library of entertaining novels and non-fiction books on the big fellow.

Muck/Swamp Monsters. Which finally brings me to the subject of this post. Fishmen and Sasquatches often hang out in swamps but they aren’t the same thing. A good swamp monster is at least part plant. There aren’t a lot of examples. Most of them are from comics. The Heap. Swamp Thing. Man-Thing. And … not a lot of other examples. In prose there’s Theodore Sturgeon’s It. In movies – bad adaptions of Swamp Thing and Man-Thing. There was a swamp monster in an episode of The Night Stalker.

I’m not really a plant person. I don’t have a green thumb. Give me a plant and I’ll show you a bunch of dead sticks in a pot a few weeks later.

I’ve never read any Heap stories. As far as I know there aren’t any collections of the old comics available.

I love the look of the Man-Thing but honestly I haven’t read many Man-Thing comics. The poor guy is mindless. It’s hard to root for him when you can’t even play fetch with him.

I read the original Swamp Thing series when I was a kid and a good chunk of the second series when it was being published. Those were good comics but it’s been a long time since I read any ongoing comic book series.

Yet I count Swamp Monsters among my favorite night bumping things. They’re green. They’re quiet. They usually don’t want to eat you. They like to play in the mud. They can’t drown. And they’re fun to draw.

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