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Swamp monsters have been a staple of fantastic fiction for years. Swamp creatures are humanoid creatures similar to fish or resembling living piles of swamp mire. They live underwater and occasionally come to the surface, but only when provoked. Within modern American folk myth and legend a notable example is Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp monster. Another notable example is the May River Swamp Creature that along with other rare and spectacular creatures occupies the marshes and supralittoral zones of the South Carolina lowcountry, near Bluffton, SC.
They seem to be akin to Kelpies, Kappa, the Loch Ness Monster, and muck monsters. Being only part humanoid, it is not popular belief that they are capable of speech, but in some cases, they have been capable of speech.
Popular renditions of swamp creatures occur in popular media such as comic books (Marvel's Man-Thing and DC's Swamp Thing). They have also been featured on older films, most notably The Creature from the Black Lagoon. In all these cases, they displayed superstrength, extreme underwater adaptability, possible muck spitting and a frighteningly bad attitude.
Examples in comics
From the 1940s to the present many swamp monsters have been used in comics, an early example being Hillman Publications' The Heap. Afterwards both DC Comics and Marvel created similar characters: DC had Swamp Thing, created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson, while Marvel had Man-Thing, created by Stan Lee, Gray Morrow, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway. The debuts of the two characters were so close that it is impossible to say which came first. Alan Moore, who worked on Swamp Thing for a period, later described the character's original incarnation as "a regurgitation of Hillman Comics' The Heap", adding that "When I took over that character at Len Wein's suggestion, I did my best to make it an original character that didn't owe a huge debt to previously existing swamp monsters."
Other swamp monsters in comics include:
- The Glob, a fictional character created by Roy Thomas and Herb Trimpe for Marvel Comics
- Swamp Beast, from Monster in My Pocket by Dwayne McDuffie and Gil Kane for Harvey Comics
- Bog Swamp Demon, a fictional character appearing in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books.
- Danny Dunn and the Swamp Monster by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams.
- In the anime and manga Princess Resurrection, the characters are attacked by a tribe of monsters resembling the creature while vacationing by a lagoon, who desire Hime's blood to make them immortal and keep their kind from dying out. In a possible reference to the novel version of the movie, one of the creatures is roughly 30 feet tall.
- in the anime and manga One Piece, the crew is attacked by a man with a devil fruit that lets him turn into a swamp.
Examples in film and television
- A creature, credited as the Gill Man, also appears in the non-Universal release The Monster Squad (1987) along with Count Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, and the Wolf Man. He was portrayed by Tom Woodruff, Jr.
- Parodies of Universal's Gill-man include Ron Stoppable's rival at Camp Wannaweep from Kim Possible.
- A swamp monster made a cameo appearance on an episode of TV's The Munsters as visiting Uncle Gilbert.
- In The Simpsons episode "There's Something about Marrying", Bart and Milhouse play various pranks on a Huell Howser look-alike. One of them is where they go fishing in a lake contaminated by the power plant, and the lookalike gets attacked by a Swamp Monster, which originally seemed like Blinky, the oft-referenced three-eyed fish.
- In the Family Guy episode "I Never Met the Dead Man", the Griffin family catches a creature strongly resembling a "Swamp Monster" while fishing.
- In the Family Guy episode "Business Guy", Carter Pewterschmidt and Lois Griffin trick Peter Griffin into surrendering Pewterschmidt Industries by scaring him into believing a local swamp monster will eat him if he does not. A seemingly real swamp monster scares Peter out of the office, chases Lois and a disguised Carter, before being found out as Gregory House.
- Tim Burton's film The Nightmare Before Christmas had a background character who resembled a female swamp creature which was a combination of a Gill-man and a mermaid.
- David Winning's film Swamp Devil starring Bruce Dern as a retired sheriff trying to prove the existence of a swamp monster.
- In Animal Planet's Lost Tapes, one episode is about the Louisiana Swamp Monster, which is said to be an abandoned Native American child who was raised by alligators.
- A gill man appears in the movie The Castle of the Monsters, alongside a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy and a Frankenstein monster.
- While criticizing a movie featuring a Swamp monster, one of the hosts of This Movie Sucks! tells the legend of Lake Erie Pete, about a man who becomes a crime fighting swamp monster after his parents are killed by one.
- A lake-dwelling merman by the name of Old Gregg makes several appearances on the BBC television comedy The Mighty Boosh
- An episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker entitled "The Spanish Moss Murders" features a young man, subject of a study in sleep research, whose nightmares of a swamp-dwelling monster called Peremalfait from stories heard in his youth in the Louisiana Bayou come to life.
- Nickell, Joe, Tracking the Swamp Monsters, retrieved 2006-04-03
- Lewis, Rusty. "Environmental Specialist". Bluffton Breeze.
- Cotter, Robert Michael "Bobb" (2008). The Great Monster Magazines: A Critical Study of the Black and White Publications of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7864-3389-6.
- "Interview with Alan Moore Page 5 of 8". Seraphemera. February 19, 2013.