Now had they cast Angelina Jolie as Christine Spar for the movie, she would have played both Grendel and Grendel’s mother during her career.

§ January 27th, 2012 § Filed under collecting, grendel § 13 Comments

So all this talk over the last few days about rereading your old comics, combined with a brief Twitter-chat with Awesome Hospital‘s Matt Digges, all on top of my finally rereading Mage: The Hero Defined (yes, I got around to it!), has put me in the mood to revisit Matt Wagner’s other major series Grendel.

My original exposure to the character of Grendel was as a back-up in the first Mage series, later collected in that graphic album I showed you two days ago. And then there was the forty-issue series from Comico, followed a few years later by multiple mini-series from Dark Horse, with the Devil’s Vagary one-shot from the Comico Collection and a Silverback mini-series (starring Grendel’s nemesis Argent) mixed in there, somewhere.

Also along the way, I’d acquired the original unfinished Grendel mini-series which was later retold in drastically different fashion in the Mage back-ups. I eventually sold those off, which I’m kind of sorry about, since I really did like those big, clunky black and white comics with their semi-amateurish but compelling covers…but they’ve all been collected, including the covers (and the actual debut of Grendel from Primer #2, which I never owned) into a hardcover, so maybe I’ll grab one of those to replace their loss.

Now, I’d read that forty-issue series, which picked up with the second Grendel (Christine Spar, “granddaughter” of the original Grendel Hunter Rose), which then proceeded to pass on the Grendel character to other characters as the series progressed, and the setting of the series was pushed farther and farther still into the future, and as that series ended and the continuity continued through the multiple Dark Horse minis…I eventually lost interest, it seemed. In fact, in a very rare occurrence in my years as a comics fan, I actually stopped reading the Grendel comics halfway through one of the mini-series (Devil’s Choices, from 1995).

Even though it’s been (urgh) seventeen years, I’m reasonably sure my decision to quit midway through that series had nothing to do with the solid creative team of Darko Macan and the late Edvin Biukovic, and more to do with just having had enough Grendel. Plus, the further away we got from Hunter Rose and Christine Spar, the less interest I had in the ongoing saga. However, now, with an impending rereading of all these Grendel comics planned, I find myself interested in picking up the last two issues of Devil’s Choices, as well as the two Grendel Tales minis that followed. In fact, I keep meaning to grab them at the shop, as soon as I (ha ha) have some free time at work.

My self-imposed Grendel hiatus was relatively short-lived, as just a few years later we returned to the Hunter Rose-era Grendel with the Black, White and Red anthology series, followed by another series in a similar vein a couple of years later, and a full-length Hunter Rose story in Wagner’s Behold the Devil mini in 2007-8. (In fact, I may have jumped ahead and reread that Behold the Devil mini Thursday evening, prior to writing this post.)

I enjoyed those later Hunter Rose minis. I liked the early stuff quite a bit, and I enjoyed most of the forty-issue series from Comico. …I honestly don’t recall how much I enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) the follow-up Dark Horse Comics Grendel minis, as it’s been so long since I’ve read them. Thus, a good candidate for a rereading, I think.

So anyway, I’ve got my Grendel comics pulled out of the Vast Mikester Comic Archives, and they’re sitting here on my desk ready to be perused, and…hmmm, that’s like almost half a small comics box-worth pile of funnybooks, there. Thatsa lotta Grendel. …I’ll let you know how it goes.

This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive listing of every single Grendel comic, of course…there are the two Batman/Grendel minis, and that Devil’s Child mini from ’99 I somehow missed, and a Grendel novel…or two, maybe? I gotta do more research.

13 Responses to “Now had they cast Angelina Jolie as Christine Spar for the movie, she would have played both Grendel and Grendel’s mother during her career.”

  • Ed says:

    And here I thought I had just about everything Grendel… Ive never even HEARD of the Silverback series.

  • It’s been a while since I’ve chimed in on the main site, Mister Mike, but Grendel will do that: make one act outside one’s expectation of oneself.

    “My heart is Mage, but my mind is Grendel,” he said poetically.

    Point is, the Grendel series always struck new ground for layout, pacing, plotting… it seemed to be the labs in which every comics theory could be tried.

  • Steely Dan says:

    “Devil Child” was always my favorite Grendel story, probably because it more or less stood on its own as a story and had the least explicit connection to Grendel of all the series.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    The first Batman/Grendel is my favorite Grendel comic ever, and one of my favorite Batman comics.

    If you’re being a completist, I didn’t see DEVIL QUEST listed. It ties in loosely to the second Batman/Grendel mini, and is a fun book if a little too short.

  • Lucas Emery says:

    Love me some Grendel! That and Cerebus are my two favorite funnybooks ever.

  • philip says:

    The Comico Grendel books were some of the first I bought with my very own money from my first job. Teenage Me was blown away by those books. I haven’t re-read them, and I may never, but they have survived many comics purges over the years. I can’t let them go.

  • Aaron Poehler says:

    For me it was all about Wagner’s involvement: the Grendel books he both wrote and drew himself were always at the top as far as keeping my interest, followed by the ones he wrote but didn’t draw, in which my interest varied depending on how much I liked the art team for a given arc. The ones he didn’t write or draw, while fine enough from what I recall, just weren’t as engaging in the same way.

    Same thing as Nexus, basically, only in this case Baron & Rude are the same dude.

  • Bully says:

    Best blog title ever!

  • Tom Wu says:

    Very keen on Grendel, but it’s a series, like Cerebus, that needs commentary – I picked it up halfway through, just before the God and the Devil storyline which I think is easily the highlight of that 40-issue run. If I’d begun with Devil’s Legacy I don’t know if I would have carried on.

    Though that has one of my favourite examples of misplaced futurity; the phone floats and comes to your ear and there are flying cars, but there are no mobiles, or cellphones as you guys call ’em, so Chris’s friends spend the climax desperately trying to connect…

    With you on Grendel Prime, too. Wagner seems to think he’s as powerful a character as Hunter Rose but he’s just some dumb cyborg to me. The Devil’s Child mini is superb, though, and well worth seeking out.

  • Patrick Gaffney says:

    I believe Dark horse just said they are going to do a four volumes of their trade omnibus collecting everything Grendel.

    quick good confirmed my memory:

  • MRPRSN says:

    The first Grendel I picked up was the War Child miniseries from Dark Horse. I read and enjoyed several of the Tales minis, but eventually drifted away. I’ve always been curious about the Comico run, excited to hear about the Omnibus series mentioned above.

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    i believe the Silverback miniseries was written by William Messner-Loebs, and is good. Not as good as the contemporary Grendel series, but good. Messner-Loebs was writing Jonny Quest at the time for Comico and kicking ass – that’s a title that someone needs to get the licensing straightened out and reprint, stat.

    I agree with M.A. Masterson – at one point I toyed with writing my thesis or dissertation on how Wagner and his co-creators played with narrative and structure in the original Grendel series. Each story arc had a different storytelling style, and each was inventive and innovative. Alas, life struck and it was not to be; maybe in the near future…?

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