Man-Thing #11-19 (1974-1975)

At this point, M-T becomes a freak-of-the-month book, which lets Steve Gerber play out his wildly libertarian, anti-Church and anti-Government fantasies out on a swampy stage.  It’s tons of fun, even if the stories don’t amount to meaning much of anything in terms of developing the mythology of Man-Thing.

In #11, Man-Thing and Richard Rory save a girl from some Vietnam veterans whose faces were scarred by napalm, who intended to kidnap her to draw attention to the horrors of Agent Orange.  To tell this story in 1974 was quite a thing, as much of the evidence of the long-term effects of chemical exposure hadn’t been uncovered yet, and PTSD wasn’t even a recognized diagnosis.

In #s 13-14, he fights the ghosts of pirates who crashed in Manny’s swamp-and they hurl him into outer space.  Good, pulpy fun.

Then #s 16-19 are about rock stars and Vikings.

It’s helpful to have these episodic tales, as his artists keep changing each issue.  Interestingly enough, none of them really feel like “horror.”  They’re just weird.  Although sexual hang-ups are a horror trope, and in issue #17 we get this great panel:

Creators: Steve Gerber and Mike Ploog (#11-12), John Buscema (#13 and 16), Alfredo Acala (#14), and Rico Rival (#15).
Grade: C+

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.

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