MAN-THING #1-8 (1997-1998)

This comic was part of the “Strange Tales” line that was supposed to include comics that were mature horror, along the lines of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, but it never really got going due to all the problems at Marvel in 1998.

It’s definitely in the realm of comics-as-art.

As such, it doesn’t really lend itself to summaries and reviews. The overall story has Man-Thing finding his son–a boy now named Job Burke–that his 19-year-old girlfriend Ellen Burke put up for adoption after his swamp accident. In the hands of JM DeMatteis, Ted Sallis was a professor who had sex with the young girl–who was also his student–and she ran off after he turned into Man-Thing.

In this series, she becomes convinced that Sallis still lives in the creature, but when she and the local Sheriff track down Man-Thing, she has trouble making contact…

…But of course, eventually, she does–with the help of Doctor Strange.

Strange tells Ellen it’s her job to help Man-Thing stay on mission and to repair the Nexus of Realities–finding scattered shards of the nexus and meeting Devil Slayer, Howard the Duck, Namor, and others along the way.

Her long-last son, Job Burke, is the cause of the broken reality, being manipulated by a reality-shaping villain named Mister Termineus. To stop Man-Thing, Termineus puts him, and Ellen, into an alternate reality where he becomes Ted Sallis again.

Ellen gets a tag because she’s a key player in this story, and also because in another tale she becomes an AIM agent.

The series was cancelled with #8, and never got the ending that the creators had planned. With Ellen, Man-Thing goes to another world. We’re promised that Silver Surfer will be guest-starring, but the issue of Man-Thing never comes.

Instead, the story is continued in a reboot of Strange Tales.

I know I’m glossing over this book, and please don’t take that as a negative. It’s a complex story, expertly told, but the telling is what makes it so good. There aren’t lots of major plot points or revelations that are relevant to this kind of blog.

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