A quirky but oddly alluring sub-genre of horror comics is that of the so-called "swamp monster" or "muckman". Known also as bog monsters, slime creatures and a plethora of other monikers, these fascinating characters have proliferated through the years from a number of publishers, some being wildly successful, such as DC's SWAMP THING and Marvel's MAN-THING.
But where did this crazy concept have its origins? What dank and dismal mind came up with the idea of the swamp monster in the first place? The answer lies in -- of all places -- the pulp magazines of the 1940's. The birth of the muckmen is attributed to science-fiction author, Theodore Sturgeon. His story, "It", published (just before the outbreak of WW II to put it in a historical context) in the pulp mag, UNKNOWN (August, 1940) became the template of what was to follow some years later when the first swamp creatures emerged from the murky waters.
This is the first of a series of posts that will cover the history of swamp monsters and their kith and kin. Break out the towels -- it's about to get muddy!