In 1984, editor Len Wein assigned Swamp Thing to British writer Alan Moore. When Karen Berger took over as editor, she gave Moore free rein to revamp the title and the character as he saw fit. Moore reconfigured Swamp Thing’s origin to make him a true monster as opposed to a human transformed into a monster. In his first issue, he swept aside most of the supporting cast Pasko had introduced in his year-and-a-half run as writer, and brought the Sunderland Corporation to the forefront, as they hunted Swamp Thing and “killed” him in a hail of bullets. The subsequent investigation revealed that Swamp Thing was not Alec Holland’s consciousness transformed into a plant but actually a form of plant life that had absorbed Holland’s consciousness after exposure to his work, with Swamp Thing’s appearance being the plants’ attempt to duplicate Holland’s human form.
The Swamp Thing character first appeared in House of Secrets #92 (June–July 1971). After the success of the short story in the House of Secrets comic, the original creators were asked to write an ongoing series, depicting a more heroic, more contemporary creature. InSwamp Thing #1 (October–November 1972) Wein and Wrightson updated the time frame to the 1970s and featured a new version character: Alec Holland, a scientist working in the Louisiana swamps on a secret bio-restorative formula “that can make forests out of deserts”. Holland is killed by a bomb planted by agents of the mysterious Mr. E (Nathan Ellery), who wants the formula. Splashed with burning chemicals in the massive fire, Holland runs from the lab and falls into the muck-filled swamp, after which a creature resembling a humanoid plant appears. Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, who co-created Man-Thing for Marvel Comics a year and a half earlier, thought that this origin was too similar to that of their character, and Wein himself had written a Man-Thing story that was published with a June 1972 cover date, but he refused to change the origin in spite of some cajoling by Conway, who was his roommate at the time. Marvel, however, never took the issue to court, realizing the similarity of both characters to The Heap.
The House of Secrets was revived in 1969 after a 3 year absence. Now its horror and suspense tales were introduced by a host named Abel, who would also host the satirical comic Plop!. His brother Cain hosted House of Mystery. Swamp Thing first appeared in House of Secrets #92 (July 1971) in a stand-alone horror story set in the early 20th century written by Len Wein and drawn by Bernie Wrightson. The woman appearing on the cover of this issue was modeled after future comics writer Louise Simonson.
This revival, sporting many covers by Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, and Michael Kaluta, ran through issue #154 (Nov. 1978), with three months passing between #140 (April 1976) and #141 (July 1976). It was then ‘merged’ into The Unexpected with issue #189, through issue #199. The series was 68 ad-free pages, allowing all three portions to be full-length issues.
The House of Secrets also came to be the name of the actual edifice in which Abel lives. Writer Mike Friedrich and artist Jerry Grandenetti introduced the house and explained its origins. The Sandman series revealed it exists both in the real world of the DC Universe and in the Dreaming, as a repository for secrets of all kinds.