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Dakota Midday: Swamp Thing Collector Seeks World Record


Swamp Thing is a humanoid mass of vegetable matter that fights to protect his swamp home, the environment and humanity from supernatural and other threats. The DC comic book character has been the subject of two movies, a television series and a five-part animated series.

Sioux Falls illustrator and graphic designer John Boylan has collected over 800 books, memorabilia, toys and more all dedicated to Swamp Thing. Is it the largest Swamp Thing collection in the world? That’s what he’ll find out on Saturday when he attempts to set a Guinness World Record for Largest Swamp Thing Collection. The event takes place on Saturday afternoon at the Sioux Falls Design Center.

Boylan joined Dakota Midday and discussed his love of all things Swamp Thing and setting a Guinness World Record.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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