Getting Spooky Through A Kid’s Eyes – Kirk Scroggs Talks The Secret Spiral Of Swamp Kid

by James Ferguson

The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid, one of the early titles from DC Kids follows the adventures of Russell Weinwright, a young man with a strange affliction. He’s kind of a plant. The original graphic novel appears more like an ongoing journal from Russell instead of a traditional comic. I had a chance to speak with writer / artist Kirk Scroggs about the project, its design, and all things swampy.

James Ferguson: Swamp Thing is known as a pretty dark and gritty character. What led you to putting a new spin on it with Russell Weinwright aka Swamp Kid.
Kirk Scroggs: I know as a kid I always loved it when something came out that was scary but still kid-friendly. Ghostbusters, Monster Squad, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I thought it would be fun to keep the gooey gross elements and the spooky swamp setting, yet give it a humorous, kid’s eye perspective. Russell has a similar affliction as Swamp Thing, but instead of being scary, it brings him misery. He’s the ultimate outcast in middle school. And I made sure to bring in the actual Swamp Thing as well. He starts off as a kind of bigfoot-type boogeyman off in the bayou but grows into a mentor for Russell.

JF: The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid is told in an interesting and unique style, shown as Russell’s personal journal instead of a traditional comic. How did you arrive at this decision?
KS: It was important to me that this book feel like it came straight from the source, right out of the brain of an eighth-grader. Russell writes whatever he’s feeling with whatever he has on hand– pencils, markers, ballpoints. And he’s an aspiring graphic novelist, so there’s plenty of comic book action sprinkled in. I’m hoping that readers will also be inspired to start their own journals or create their own comics with whatever supplies they can find.

JF: How did the design for Russell come about?
KS: I was a super scrawny kid in eighth grade, who also spent all his time doodling monsters. I’d say Russell is me with a coat of algae and some face tendrils. His giant arm was a last second decision as was his tree frog companion. He really just needed something to put it over the top, so I thought what if this skinny kid had one of Swamp Thing’s arms?

JF: I know that this is set in its own continuity, but what other characters from the DC Universe do you think Russell would want to hang out with?
KS: Well, he lives in the swamp and is half plant so Killer Croc and Poison Ivy seem like obvious choices! It sure would be fun to have Batman appear. I like dark, gothic stuff, so a Batman / Swamp Thing / Swamp Kid trio would be a dream come true.
Comicon would like to thank Kirk Scroggs for taking the time to speak with us. The Secret Spiral of Swamp Kid is available now at your local comic shop, book store, and Amazon.

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