Saturday, October 16, 2021

Almost Frankenstein - The Patchwork Man

The Patchwork Man premiered early in the original Swamp Thing series, ended up with a special issue of House Of Secrets, then ended his life with an issue of Swamp Thing.

Let's see how this monster that resembled Frankenstein's was put together....

Early Swamp Things

The Patchwork Man first appeared in Swamp Thing #2 (December-January, 1972/1973) by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson.  He was one of the Un-Men, a group of genetic creations by scientist Anton Arcane.  In Swamp Thing #3 (February-March, 1973), it was revealed that he was Gregori Arcane, the brother of Anton and father of Abby, whom Anton rebuild after Gregori stepped on a landmine.  Gregori had limited memory of his previous life, but he recognized Abby, and worked with the Swamp Thing to save her....though he had a serious, nearly life ending fall.

Reprise: The Patchwork Man

The Patchwork Man returned in House Of Secrets #140 (February-March, 1976) by Gerry Conway and Nestor Redondo (with cover by Ernie Chan), having somehow gotten to New York, and attacking saleswomen and security in a department store.  He was shot in the head, and taken to police headquarters, where Doctor Elijah Chomes of the Mount Good Hope Institute took custody of him (after subduing the creature when it again tried to break loose).  

Discussing the mental state of the monster in front of lab assistants Andy Harty and Darleen Greer, the Patchwork Man flashbacks on how he was Gregori Arcane, doting on his daughter Abby, though the government was going to take her away due to his long sales trips.  

Anton vowed to help his brother, but the government came when Gregori was away.  Going through a section of European forest he usually didn't, Gregori stepped on an old German landmine.  Anton found his brother, and rebuild him into the Patchwork Man.  Gregori remembered, vaguely, his time fighting with Swamp Thing, his fall....but nothing after.  Chomes said one of his European allies found the monster wandering by a river, captured and shipped him to New York, where it got loose and ended up in the department store.  Chomes states how the creature is like a newborn babe, which makes Darleen dizzy, so he asked Harty to take her home.  

The Doctor continues to experiment on the Patchwork Man, trying to determine the depth of his regenerative abilities, but the creature breaks loose, ending up on the New York street, and befriended by a cabbie, who takes him away from the lab.  Andy and Dareen discuss her fainting incident, with Dr. Greer saying she's pregnant, but is debating having an abortion (a moral dilemma for her, as a doctor she wants to save life, but if she has a baby, she will lose her career).

This would have continued in House of Secrets #141, but the series took a hiatus, and when it came back, the next Patchwork Man story didn't appear.  It was finished, and was published in a European magazine, and only recently here in the states, in the House of Secrets Omnibus Volume 2.

End Of The Patchwork Man

The Patchwork Man didn't come back until Swamp Thing #59 (April, 1987) by Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala (with cover by John Tolteben and Bill Sienkiewicz), where Abby met back up with her father, who had been falling apart (with memories of how he read her her favorite story when she was young...Shelley's Frankenstein!).   While Abby found him in the swamp while looking for a missing Swamp Thing, Gregori didn't want her to see him, and was torn apart by the hail.  Abby found his body, but not his head....

...Gregori and Anton later appeared as the Swamp Thing travelled back in time to the World Wars, but the Patchwork Man was done.

1 comment:

  1. i always liked the patchwork man. my introduction to the character was in house of secrets 140. i recall it being around thanksgiving of either 7th or 8th grade when i read it. i never knew the following issue had been completed, but not published just your article. thank you. later i read the earliest issues of the swamp thing's original run and grew to appreciate the character on his own terms as opposed to being a variation of frankenstein's monster.