As I recently mentioned on this blog, my next book will be published later this year. The title is Born on the Bayou: A Pre-Flashpoint Chronology of Swamp Thing and Hellblazer, and it explores every event in the pages of Swamp Thing from the character’s first appearance in 1971’s The House of Secrets #92 up to 2011’s Flashpoint, when DC rebooted its entire continuity. This is a monster of a book, and it took me two decades to complete!
The book covers not only Swamp Thing tales, but also the comic’s three spinoffs (John Constantine: Hellblazer, American Freak, and The Un-Men), as well as all appearances by either Swamp Thing, Constantine, or any other characters from their sagas in other titles, such as The Sandman, Shade the Changing Man, Batman, Challengers of the Unknown, The Books of Magic, and so forth. And now I’m pleased to unveil the preliminary cover, designed by Robbie Adkins using artwork provided by the legendary Stephen R. Bissette. Ain’t that a beauty?
This project began two decades ago as Roots of the Swamp Thing, a now-defunct website I’d created that kept my mind occupied after I became a corporate downsizing statistic in the publishing field (ironically, that happened again a month ago involving the job that had ended my prior unemployment period, so I’m currently looking for writing and editing work… hint hint). Having collected every Swamp Thing and Hellblazer comic up to that point, I’d decided a complete reread would help me maintain positive spirits while I searched for a new job. Rereading them concurrently afforded me greater insight into how their chronologies connected. Timelining is a passion of mine and has been ever since I devoured a pair of brilliant Star Trek chronologies—Rick Sternbach’s Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology (Wallaby Books, 1979) and its extraordinary successor, Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future, by Michael and Denise Okuda (Pocket Books, 1993). I can’t stress enough how influential both books have been in the writing of my own chronology-based work.1
Born on the Bayou was going to be Hasslein Books’ next project when we suddenly lost Paul Giachetti in 2017, causing me to go dormant on all planned Hasslein titles. It’s been six years since his passing, and even though the book is being published instead by BearManor Media Books, I wish Paul were here to see it come to fruition. He’d have been stoked to see this finally happen. Here’s a little something I added to the book in his honor: This book is dedicated to Paul C. Giachetti, who encouraged me to finish it but left the mortal plane too soon to read it. Paul was one of my best friends, and I miss him daily. Whenever I felt swamped, muddled, bogged down, mucked up, and mired in the quagmire of life, he was there to help me slough it off. Paul, I hope I always did right bayou, too.
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1 See my other chronology-based titles, Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology (Hasslein Books, 2009), Back in Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology (Hasslein, 2013), Watching Time: The Unauthorized Watchmen Chronology (Hasslein, 2016), and Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration (DC Comics, 2018).