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Alexander "Alec" Holland is a fictional character in comic books published by the American company DC Comics. He first appeared in Swamp Thing #1 (November 1972), and was created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson. Alec is portrayed by Andy Bean on the 2019 TV series.


Dedicated scientist Alec Holland was working on a revolutionary formula with his sister Linda that would enable miraculous plant growth for the intended purpose of ending world hunger. Government agent Alice Cable was sent to protect Alec and his work at his Louisiana laboratory when Anton Arcane, desiring to have the formula for himself, had his henchmen kill Alec's sister and destroy the lab, dousing Alec in flames with his own formula. Alec plunges himself into the swampy lake and was believed to have been killed. A short while later, as Arcane's henchmen tried to kill Cable, a green humanoid plant-like creature attacked them and saved Cable from death, coming to her rescue time and again. Eventually Cable discovered that this creature was actually Alec Holland, somehow resurrected in the form of a swamp creature. Soon he and Cable were captured along with the book that contained Holland's formula and were brought to Arcane, where he attempted to make use of it to give himself, as Holland had described, the essence of who he was, believing it would make him the most beautiful and charismatic person that ever existed. Instead, it transformed Arcane into a hideous werebeast who ended up chasing after and attacking Holland and Cable. Though Cable was slain by Arcane's sword, Holland managed to heal her and to stop Arcane for good. Rather than trying to find a way to return himself to normal, Holland chose to remain in his new form with his home now being the swamp that he was reborn in.


Live Action[]

In the 1990 TV series, Alec Holland was once a brilliant biochemist working in the swamps of Louisiana. He had perfected a chemical compound known as the Bio-Restorative Formula, but before he could celebrate his success, he was murdered by rival scientist Anton Arcane. Holland and his formula collapsed into the swamplands surrounding his laboratory and the formula reacted with the local plant life transforming him into the Swamp Thing. As the Swamp Thing, Alec assumed the position of guardian of the swamps and remained hidden in seclusion from the eyes of man. He always kept an eye out for anything untoward taking place in the swamps, but paid particularly close to the actions of Anton Arcane. The Swamp Thing befriended a nine-year-old boy named Jim Kipp who lived nearby at his grandmother's home. Holland felt a particular kinship with Kipp and kept a watchful eye over him. When Kipp was accosted by "Toad Boy" (one of Arcane's genetic experiments), the Swamp Thing scared him off, earning himself Jim's admiration. The Swamp Thing encountered another of Arcane's experiments, a man named Falco. Falco attempted to assassinate Arcane at the funeral of Savanna Langford, but upon failing to do so, fled into the swamp where he encountered the Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing learned of Falco's hatred for Arcane, and ultimately convinced him to give up his rage and embrace life. In a later incident, the Swamp Thing entered the Langford home in order to aid Jim Kipp who felt that his life was in danger. Circumstances arose that forced the Swamp Thing to remain in the house well past dusk and his powers began to fade. Light from the morning sun rejuvenated him and he was able to leave. It was also at this time that the Swamp Thing used his miraculous healing touch to save the life of Jim's mother, Tressa Kipp, who had been mortally shot by a criminal named Eleanor.

In the 2019 TV series, Passionate biologist Alec Holland is caught in the crosshairs of a small town nightmare when he discovers a bizarre local illnes may be connected to his work in the swamp. Holland's discovery leads him into conflict with dark forces, from wich he emerges as the elemental hero known as Swamp Thing.


In the animated series, Doctor Alec Holland was a scientist who was working on a plant growth formula that could end world hunger when evil scientist Anton Arcane, desiring to have the formula for himself, destroyed Holland's lab. Holland, who was covered in flames from his own growth formula, dove into the swampy waters where he was transformed into a man-plant mutant known as Swamp Thing. He entrusted his diary to Arcane's step-daughter, Abigail, in the hopes that she would help him find a way to become human again. He is often assisted by a Native American named Tomahawk, a Vietnam veteran named Bayou Jack, and by two teenagers named J.T. and Delbert.


Alec Holland was born in Houma, Louisiana, the son of Larry and Alice Holland. He grew up with his brother Edward, and since his childhood he developed quite a keen intellect and scientific curiosity, that led him to study biochemistry at college. During his studies he also met Linda, the girl who would have soon become his life-long colleague… as well as his wife, of course. Alec and Linda found a common passion both in the discipline they had chosen to study, and in their social and political commitment. After graduation, they decided to work together on a project aimed to solve the problem of food shortage. They moved to the Louisiana’s bayou, where they built a lab and dedicated to their research for years. At the end of their effort, the Hollands managed to create what they called a bio-restorative formula, able to stimulate any plant on a genetic and hormonal level to evolve rapidly, so that anything could survive in any place of the planet (enabling tomatoes, for example, to grow in the Sahara Desert or in the Arctic). For all these years, Alex had been financed by what he believed to be the federal government... but it was not, as he soon realized. When Holland communicated to the mysterious Mr. E that he had indeed accomplished his life-work, the man, who was actually Nathan Ellery, the leader of the terrorist organization The Conclave, sent two of his goons, Bruno and Maxwell Ferrett, to steal the research and to dispose of the scientists. Linda was killed on the spot, while Alec was knocked out by Ferret and left in his lab, while Bruno planted a bomb in it. Alec Holland woke up just a few seconds before the bomb exploded, and he was unable to evade the lab as quick as he was trying to: aflame, drenched into his own bio-restorative formula, he ran into the swamp, where he died. This would have been the end for the scientist, if not for two factors: the burning Formula that affected the nearby vegetation, and The Green (the elemental force formed of all plant life on Earth), who was in need of a new protector. The Parliament of Trees, the Green’s collective mind, chose Holland, or rather what remained of him, as their new champion, and they "borrowed" his memories and conscience.

Alec Holland in comics

Alec Holland in comics.

The dying scientist’s mind, memories, personality were absorbed by the nearby vegetation, and the plants, dragged together by both the bio-restorative formula and the Parliament of Trees' will, united to form a humanoid body, a plant creature who believed himself to be a transformed Alec Holland. Confused on both his own nature and condition, the creature who now referred to himself as "Swamp Thing" to hunt the men who had killed Linda, as well as to look for a "cure" to his state, believing he could revert to human form. Swamp Thing managed to track down The Conclave and to confront its leader, Nathan Ellery, but the businessman and terrorist always managed to elude him, and kept sending his men to him to extract from his body the secrets of the lost Formula. Ellery was not the only one who kept hunting down the monster in the swamps, and The Green was continuously under attack from many sources. The Swamp Thing found a formidable foe in Anton Arcane, a mad scientist obsessed with immortality, who believed that he could learn the secret of eternal life from the creature. The fight with Anton ended up involving, in a form or another, all members of the Arcane family: Abby Arcane, his niece, became a close friend and ally to the Swamp Thing, and eventually a strong feeling rose between the two, to the point that Abby became the lover of the monster; even Anton’s brother, Gregori Arcane, joined in the hunt for the monster, and when he accidentally stepped on a landmine, Anton transformed him into the Patchwork Man, a monster similar to the Frankenstein’s Monster who became a formidable adversary for Swamp Thing. Arcane used the little knowledge he had gathered on his rival to create an army of Un-Men, mutant monsters that were able to physically challenge the seemingly indestructible plant monster… and eventually Arcane turned himself into an Un-Man, becoming even more dangerous. Quite ironically, Swamp Thing ended up being hunted down also by a former friend, Matthew Cable, a federal agent who believed the monster to be responsible for the Hollands’ death. With so many enemies to protect himself and the swamp from, the creature kept steadily looking for a way to become a human again... without knowing that he had never actually been a human to begin with.

Alec Holland is a brilliant and idealistic man, truly convinced to be able to make the world a better place thanks to his science; an accomplished biochemist, he firmly believes that the genius of a few must be used at the service of the well-being of many. As the Swamp Thing, he is a being composed of sentient plants, and he can control and communicate with any other kind of vegetable life; he's pretty much impervious to any kind of damage, and he possesses vast levels of superhuman strength; he can generate non-sentient copies of himself, regenerate lost limbs, and he can even be reborn by “reincarnating” in other masses of plants, being de facto immortal; all his powers can be augmented by the Green, while pollution can weaken him. A fierce and dedicated protector of the Earth and of the Green in particular, Swamp Thing is an elemental champion, an indestructible avatar who lives between a life of memories that does not belong to him and a nearly sacred mission he still has to fully understand.

In other media[]

Main article: Alec Holland in other media