It doesn't involve comics, per se, other than the fact that it concerns the Swamp Thing movie, based of course on the classic Wein/Wrightson comics of the 1970s.
Anyway, back when I was a wee lad, my Dad took my sister and I to see a movie about every other week, and it was during this time around--around 1980 til about 1984 or so--we saw every cool movie out there. You name it--the Star Wars movies, the Star Treks, Raiders, Flash Gordon, even Conan the Barbarian and Swamp Thing.
Its these last two that I'm concerned with today, since this was the time before the PG-13 rating, so an astonishing amount of adult material got slapped with a PG rating. Since they were based on comics, that was all I needed to know to want to see them, and probably the main consideration as to why my Dad took us to them. Family entertainment!
Cut to: 1996. I'm working full-time at Movies Unlimited, a video store in Cherry Hill, NJ. Aside from wondering how three years of art school led to this, I at times liked the job. I had been made Assistant Manager (not Assistant to the Manager, thank you very much), and since the store was more Obsessive Movie Fan-friendly than the Blockbuster across the street (filled with its dead-eyed customers and employees, to whom Star Wars was an old movie), the staff was a fun bunch and the nights I was in charge I liked to make sure we had as much fun as possible.
To that end, we would have theme nights--or even weeks--over the store's video monitors. We tried to come up with bizarre--yet appropriate for public consumption--choices, since we thought it was beneath our extensive movie expertise to show the latest "feel good hit of the summer." One week it was Planet of the Apes week, where we showed the Apes films in order. We did Snake Week, outer space week, Dukes of Hazzard Thursdays, etc.
So one night in the middle of our Comic Book Week, I was rummaging through the shelves trying to find something to put on. Then I came across--Swamp Thing! Wow, I hadn't seen that in years! Rated PG? Perfect!
I put the tape in, and went back to work, probably putting little red stickers over all the naughty parts on the porn boxes, only occasionally looking up at the monitor. Wow, that Swamp Thing suit is pretty cheesy...is that a zipper I see on the back?
Anyway, as I'm putting boxes back on the shelves, I hear a few gasps, and one of the other employees calls my name. I turn to see what they want, and catch this on the monitors:
What the hell?!? What's a nude scene doing in a movie my Dad took me to?!?
I dropped the boxes, ran over, and popped the tape out. I couldn't believe it--I had completely forgotten that there's an actual nude scene in Swamp Thing. I mean, I guess that's a lot of the reason the pneumatic Adrienne Barbeau got hired in movies like this, but it still seems amazing to me there was a time when a movie adapted from a (quasi-)superhero comic book could have a nude scene in it.
I had so retrofitted my memory, that I simply assumed any movie my Dad purposely took me to must be ok for public viewing. But I had forgotten how different movies were, not all that long ago.
Luckily, no customer saw it--at least the ones who did didn't complain--so we moved right on to Doc Savage or something, and no one was the wiser.
Except me. In that moment, and ever since, my Dad has seemed just that much cooler to me.