Tom Yeates

Swamp Thing 113 (November 1991)

16083Collins goes for humor again. Not a little humor either, but full pun humor. It’s like “I Love Lucy” all of a sudden. Except bad people still get killed.

It’s a very strange mix of things. Collins is concentrating on making the characters fun to read–Abby and Chester trying to escape the press hounding them, Alec giving a press conference, TefΓ© being cute. It’s weird.

Meanwhile, besides the purple bayou monster, there’s not much going on. And the bayou monster’s only after bad people anyway so it’s not a threat. Collins foreshadows a neo-Nazi Republican gubernatorial candidate is plotting against Alec… but come on. He’s not a particularly threatening villain.

Yeates and Hendrix continue to be an awkward pairing on the art. It’s sort of bland.

Except Alec, he’s very detailed. Lots of moss.

It’s fun and well-produced, but some seriousness would be nice. It’s too lighthearted.

CREDITS

Fear and Loathing on the Bayou Trail; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Yeates; inker, Shepherd Hendrix; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Albert DeGuzman; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 112 (October 1991)

16082Shepherd Hendrix is a very stranger inker (or finisher) for Tom Yeates’s pencils (or layouts). The art’s not bad at all, but Hendrix removes most of Yeates’s personality from the pencils. It’s an awkward amalgamation.

Collins continues her uptick, with Chester going through an emotional crisis and Alec (unknowingly) getting drawn into the Louisiana governor’s race. Collins’s approach to Louisiana’s peculiar. She seems to hate the people who live there. Lots of dumb white racist jokes. Not everyone’s a dumb white racist, but she gives a lot of attention to the ones who are such people.

Still, it shows she’s able to tell a joke even about something serious.

More uses of the word “elemental” in conversation–not to mention Chester referring to Alec as “Swampy”–continue to make Swamp Thing seem more domestic. Abby’s kitchen now even has a stove and refrigerator.

It’s good; Collins writes some great details.

CREDITS

All the Swamp King’s Men; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Tom Yeates; inker, Shepherd Hendrix; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Albert DeGuzman; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 89 (November 1989)

16059 1The issue’s beautiful to be sure–Tom Yeates drawing Alec’s adventures in a far flung past, before the continents have even shifted, meeting with the first three trees in the Parliament. At the same time, Abby is preparing to have the baby and Constantine is trying to get back.

But Wheeler’s way too ambitious. His enthusiasm is unchecked–I’m shocked his editor didn’t have him rein it in.

Swamp Thing, traveling so far back in time, becomes the starter of life on the planet Earth. As time travel arcs go, it’s dumb and way too convenient. Worse, Wheeler doesn’t have a handle on Alec’s monologue. He’s the only sentient creature on the planet and he’s boring to hear. So Wheeler just writes a lot of interior monologue, saying nothing.

This particularly trip back also messes up the pacing of the present day story in the comic.

It’s a pretty misfire.

CREDITS

Founding Fathers; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Tom Yeates; inkers, Yeates, Ken Hooper and Mark McMurray; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 88 (September 1989)

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Doug Wheeler takes over the writing and does all right. He recaps the previous time travel adventures–this issue comes after an unexpected publishing delay–and sticks close to Alec.

Wheeler basically rips off The Clan of the Cave Bear, with Alec hanging out with Neanderthals (guess what, they should have made it, not humans), while splitting the issue between a savage human tribe (see, told you) and Abby’s pregnancy preparations. Constantine shows up for a bit too.

It’s a mellow, relaxed issue; the violence at the end is surprising as Wheeler needs it for emphasis. It’s not action-packed–Swamp Thing literally spends three days chilling out–and the tranquility is sort of nice.

Yeates excels at the prehistoric setting. It wouldn’t work without him. But in modern times, he’s disinterested. His rendition of Constantine is especially indistinct.

It’s fine. But Rick Veitch’s infamous, cancelled issue was probably better.

CREDITS

Survival of the Fittest; writer, Doug Wheeler; Tom Yeates; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 87 (June 1989)

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This issue has huge vertical double-page spreads from Yeates. Swamp Thing ends up in Camelot and the big pages give Veitch and Yeates a lot of space for their story. It’s not even a particularly big story, just very full of medieval imagery.

Veitch lets the art do all the heavy lifting. There’s nothing particularly complex to the plotting, but Veitch does get in some funny stuff. For instance, King Arthur’s a blithering idiot–a head injury has impaired his intelligence and has him searching for the Holy Grail. Swamp Thing spends a good deal of the issue potted, talking to Merlin.

I suppose Vetich’s decision to have the time travel be so matter-of-fact–the Shining Knight’s around and he’s a frequent traveller–cuts down on plot intrigues. It also makes it much more fun.

It’s also the first time in a while Alec gets interior dialogue.

CREDITS

Fall of the House of Pendragon; writer, Rick Veitch; artist, Tom Yeates; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 86 (May 1989)

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Veitch and artist Tom Yeates do a lovely job on this issue. Veitch constructs a rather complex narrative, where Swamp Thing’s import isn’t even explained until over halfway through the issue, and then in a layered exposition. He transitions from one kind of story to another and by the time Alec makes a visual appearance… not only has Veitch leapt ahead to the modern day, he’s able to make it devastatingly effective.

Great plotting. Just great.

The issue’s also rather amusing; most of it involves a British spy, circa 1800, who’s out to spoil the Americans’ new country. He’s got various disguises–and the disguises become such a device, Yeates never fully visualizes the character. The only time there’s a clear shot of him is when he’s impersonating one of the other characters. Apparently, Veitch and Yeates just came up with it for fun.

The time travel arc’s working out.

CREDITS

Heroes of the Revolution; writer, Rick Veitch; artist, Tom Yeates; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

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