First appearing in Alex Olsen: House of Secrets #92 (July 1971), which was originally a horror one-shot, Swamp Thing has since gone down as one of the most unique characters that DC Comics has ever published, as he is not a necessarily a hero or villain, rather a “protector of nature,” as he calls himself. This helping when he became involved with Justice League Dark, who’s members are also in between good and evil. The idea for the character came from the famed comic creator responsible for Marvel’s Wolverine, Len Wein. Wein stated that he came up with the idea on the subway and that he kept referring to it as, “The swamp thing that I’m working on,” ultimately making its name just that.
As for Swamp Thing’s backstory, as with most comic characters, has had multiple versions, but the most notable being that of Alex Olsen, since that was the original. In this version, Alex Olsen, a young scientist living in early 20th century Louisiana, was killed by his lab assistant who was jealous of the man in many ways. He set up a chemical explosion that would trigger when Olsen used his lab, which ultimately killed him. The assistant then dumped his body into a nearby swamp, oblivious that the combination of the chemicals Olsen had been doused with and the swamp’s organic material caused him to rise back up from the dead as a humanoid glop of vegetation and gunk. Olsen then exacted revenge on his assistant, but was forced to live the rest of his life as Swamp Thing, who many assumed to be a monster due to his appearance and blunt brutality. Eventually, Swamp Thing becomes the leader of an ancient organization of Plant Elementals (a fictitious species of humanoid plant creatures that existed long before humans) called the “Parliament of Trees”. After this event, Swamp Thing’s main goal was to protect all of nature and the environment, stopping anyone who tries to cause it harm, good or bad. Thus making him a steady balance between hero and villain. Swamp Thing now also has a live-action TV show directed by James Wan (The Conjuring and Saw), which is on DC’s streaming service: DC Universe.
Swamp Thing’s Stats:
Real Name: Alex Olsen (First Version)
Occupation: “Protector of Nature”, member of the Parliament of Trees
Base: Louisiana, any swamp
Foes: The Floronic Man, anyone who causes harm to nature