The most important debate of our day.

§ November 15th, 2023 § Filed under the thing § 25 Comments

So which portrayal of the Thing do you prefer? Big Separate Eyebrow Thing?

…or No Separate Eyebrow Piece Thing?

Now I didn’t dive deep researching this or anything, but a cursory glace through the history of the Fantastic Four seems to reveal that Eyebrow Thing started during the Lee/Kirby days, and No Eyebrow Thing was reestablished during Byrne’s run in the ’80s. At the very least, he definitely pointed it out in his “How to draw the Thing” page from the early issues of the Thing series:

Now I have a preference for which version I like, but I do want to make it clear the version I don’t care for does nothing to lessen my admiration for our ever-lovin’ blue-eyed hero. Pretty much no matter how he looks, he remains not just Marvel’s greatest character, but one of the greatest characters in fiction period. Yeah, you heard me, eat it, Pierre Bezukhov.

And look, I’m not going to razz, like, George Pérez’s drawing of Eyebrow Thing above, as that’s absolutely lovely. Also, no way can anyone dismiss Barry Windsor-Smith’s Eyebrowless Thing on that Marvel Fanfare cover.

For those of you wishing to cast spoiler votes for the dreaded “Pineapple Thing,” as per this cover:

…let’s not confuse the issue. Let’s stick to just picking Eyebrow or No. But all things (heh) considered, that cover is still pretty good. All Things are beautiful in their own way, but the eyebrow is the dividing line and I just want to know where y’all land.

For more Thing Reading, may I direct you to “365 Days of Ben Grimm,” as assembled by Stuffed Bully, Space Ranger?

House of Secrets #92? Only ten bucks.

§ November 13th, 2023 § Filed under retailing, swamp thing § 5 Comments

Thanks to reader John for sending along another addition to my “homages to House of Secrets #92″ collection:

(Art by Don Cardenas and Steve Bryant.)

This comes this Kickstarter campaign, which makes me wish I had more money and more time to peruse Kickstarter for swell projects like this. I am unsure how to purchases copies of this outside of Kickstarter, so maybe keep an eye out for a campaign for issue #3? Or I’ll ask John and see if he can point me in the right direction.

Speaking of purchasing, John also sent me this 1977 Supersnipe comics ‘n’ art catalog:

Imagine getting an Amazing Spider-Man #1 (either version here) for this cheap:

I recently had both of these and they sold for a little bit more than these listed prices.

And check this out — three Peanuts originals for under $600 for the lot:

Yes, I know this is all in 1970s dollars, back when you could buy a car for a nickel and houses were basically free, but it’s still — amusing? Is “amusing” the right word here? How ’bout “depresing” — to see these dollar amounts attached to these items. And I just barely scratched the surface here…there are just pages and pages of price listings that I’m pretty sure will keep me shaking my head in mild disbelief for hours on end.

Jon Sable Twolance.

§ November 10th, 2023 § Filed under indies § 5 Comments

Yes, here’s the necessary follow-up to Wednesday’s post with extra info on Jon Sable Freelance that I missed due to 1) ignorance and 2) being too old to work the internet properly.

First, let’s get this out of the way…several folks left comments or sent emails essentially telling me “hey Mike you dummy, that Soldier of Fortune text you linked to actually has a link to actual scans of the magazine.” Said comments/emails were accompanied by links and/or attachments showing THE ACTUAL AD, the very one my dad spotted back in 1986 and informed me about. Hence:

I edited out the address/phone number, obviously, even though it’s right there in the original scans if you want to trek to this Canadian apartment complex and find Mr. Sable. (LEGAL DISCLAIMER: don’t do that.) Anyway, first person through the gate with this info for me was Sleestak of “Lady, That’s My Skull” fame, so thanks to him and to everyone else who tried to set my ailing brain straight.

More additions/corrections:

Chris lets me know that there have been a couple of Kickstarter campaigns (here’s the most recent one) to issue nice hardcover collections of the original Jon Sable series. Of note is that one of the “rewards” is Jon Sable Graphic Album #1, a 56-page “DC’s Black Label” format oversized softcover. Apparently this is a planned ongoing reprint thing for 2024, but available to Kickstarter supporters first.

Pal Nat reminds me that 1987’s Word Warriors contained a jam story that included Jon Sable and work by Grell.

Customer Sean asks how many votes Mr. Sable received in my poll. He was a 4-voter!

Mixmat points out my mix-up, giving the wrong title for First’s crossover series. It’s actually Crossroads, and I should have known better because it’s not like i haven’t talked about it plenty of times on this site. Ah well, fixed now.

Roel Torres (one of the aforementioned four votes!) talks about what sounds like his very impressive collection of Grell art, and notes that Bill Jaaska, the main artist of the Sable series, had a sad end. I went looking for more info and found this detailed accounting of the man’s life. Worth a read in remembrance of an artist who, like many, never really got his due.

CP Bananas slips in this one last question:

“A sincere question for the Sable fans here, from someone who’s never read any and isn’t sure this is google-able: what was the deal with the stuff on his face? I always assumed it was a concession to make a ‘real-world’ character look more superheroic on the stands but what was the in-universe explanation?”

I don’t remember any specifics, but my presumption is that it’s just like “warpaint” or such to help disguise his appearance, and maybe act as a form of camouflage. Just looking at the covers, I presume this origin issue (which was one of the earlier issues I hadn’t read) gets into more detail:

I’m sure one of you know the actual answer, so please leave it in the comments here! Thanks!

The Final ’80s Countdown, Part Twenty-Three.

§ November 8th, 2023 § Filed under final countdown § 16 Comments

And we’re back to the “fave ’80s indies” poll with our next entry:

Jon Sable, Freelance (First 1983-1988)

I did read Jon Sable Freelance for a while, starting somewhere in the early issues (not with #1, but around issue #10 or #12 or so) and kept up with it for a couple of years. Near the end there, I was mainly picking it up for my dad, as it was one of the few comics I was buying that he was also reading. I eventually dropped the book, as it was costing me a whole $1.75 a month, and I wasn’t enjoying it quite as much. (At least I was still buying Groo the Wanderer which my dad was also reading.)

The series premise was that Jon Sable was a bounty hunter for hire, who had a “secret identity” as a children’s book author named “B.B. Flemm” (complete with a blonde wig and mustache), which was a little peculiar but did give the book that little bit of a twist to make it unique. Mike Grell created the character, wrote the entire initial series, drew all the covers, and illustrated most of it with other artists stepping in during the last dozen or so issues.

A second series started up in 1988, after the first ended, called simiply Sable and primarily written by Marv Wolfman, with art by Bill Jaaska and others. It was accompanied by a TV show adaptation of the property, also called Sable, that came and went with seven episodes in late ’87/early ’88. I never did read any of this second series, despite enjoying Jaaska’s artwork when I’ve encountered it. I also maybe saw a total of about 10 minutes of the TV show, which all things considered was probably about 10 minutes more than most people. Which…you know, it feels like the premise would lend itself to television, but not everything gets traction, y’know.

While the second series was running, First also published Mike’s Grell’s Sable, reprinting the early issues of the original run. The comic was canceled with #10.

Grell would return to the character with a couple of new mini-series from IDW: Bloodtrail in 2005, and Ashes of Eden in 2009. IDW would also release eight volumes of The Complete Jon Sable Freelance, which reprinted up to #45 of the initial run.

Comicmix would later, in the mid-2010s, put out four volumes of the Jon Sable Freelance Omnibus, reprinting all 56 issues of the original run, as well as the two iDW minis. The non-Grell Sable run is skipped entirely, unless some issues of that run are included in Volume 4 (as the original solicit for that volume lists the contents as including “other surprises”). All these reprint volumes appear to be out of print, but hopefully are still easy to find if you’re interested.

Along the way, Jon Sable popped up in the First Comics 988 crossover series, appropriately titled Crossroads, teaming the character with the ninja character Whisper in the first issue. This was by Mike Baron, Angel Medina and Rod Whigham. In 2000 Grell wrote a prose novel called Sable (which you can get for as little as five bucks from Amazon). And in 1996, Grell wrote and drew two issues of Maggie the Cat for Iimage Comics, featuring a recurring character from Jon Sable.

Like I said above, I only read these comics for a couple of years, and not from the beginning, so I can’t pin down a “peak” period of the character for you to sample. I think, though, if you want to give it a try, sticking to the first couple years’ worth of stories may be your best bet, where Grell’s story and art are at their strongest. And they’re fairly cheap, too…I think I have a couple of copies of the first issue at my shop right now, and they shouldn’t be more than two or three bucks apiece. And I’m pretty sure I have more of the series in the endless backstock that I’m always trying to get processed and priced.

I do want to point out one issue of particular note, #33 from 1986, which presents material from one of Sable’s alter-ego’s children’s books. Here we find out “B.B. Flemm” draws an awful lot like Segio Aragones, who provides the art for those segments.

And here’s something I wish I had a scan for to back me up…but sometime in the 1980s, my dad spotted in the classified ad section in the Soldier of Fortune magazine an entry that read something along the lines of

“Need help? Problems solved – Jon Sable Freelance”

…along with a phone number. Okay, I’m not sure of that wording at all, but it was definitely for “Jon Sable Freelance.” I have no idea if that was a joke inserted by an editor who was a fan of the comic and needed to fill space, or if it was an ad placed by First Comics, or possibly Grell himself, with the phone number going to a recorded message plugging the comic or something. A mystery for the ages! Unless someone knows the answer and can tell me.

EDIT: hold the phone, I actually used this new thing called “Google” and found this entry on the Internet Archive, featuring “full text of ‘Soldier of Fortune Magazine.” It’s, like it says, just text, not scans of the pages or anything, but it has the ad:

“JON SABLE, FREELANCE MERC. Covert, efficient, passport, anonymous. Short-term, high pay/risk contracts. Urban work preferred. Fee’s plus expenses. Nothing illegal. Contact:
H9S-3J3. (514) [REDACTED]. (101)”

I cut out the address and phone number, but they’re intact over at the link. This appears to be from the February 1986 issue, if I’m reading the info correctly. Anyway, my memory of the ad text was way off, but still I…I don’t know what to make of this. Again, if you folks have answers, let me know!

EDIT: Click here for the follow-up to this post!

The ghost of Harlan is going to get me for putting his book so close to a Fantagraphics thing.

§ November 6th, 2023 § Filed under publishing, zines § 5 Comments

My apologies for skipping out on Friday’s post…I’d been a little under the weather, and I’m still recovering though I’m feeling much better now. Not COVID, thankfully (and I got the most recent booster just a couple of weeks ago), but still, enough to throw me off my game.

So I’ll just try to do a little catch-up today, noting some things of interest, like (courtesy Daniel T.) this search engine for the Amazing Heroes comics ‘zine. Well, the link takes you to a page explaining how it was made, with a link to the search engine itself. But it’s worth reading the behind-the-scenes because, man, if I spent this much time putting something together I’d want people to read about my travails, too.

But I’ve tested it out on a couple of things, and it seems to work fine. Now I have an whole run of Amazing Heroes and its associated specials here at home, and over the years, mostly because of writing for this site, I’ve had to dive deep into the collection to research somethin’ or ‘nother and it would take a while because unless I knew right off the top of my head where it would have been, I otherwise would only have a vague sense of where to locate it and I would spend an inordinate amount of time paging through the mags. Anyway, this was quite the project, and I hope it stays around.

Also of note, I just found out there’s a new edition of Harlan Ellison’s legendary anthology Dangerous Visions on its way early in 2024:

That’s a wild color. I discovered this via a post on Bluesky via J. Michael J. Straczynski, who says he’s providing a new introduction to the volume (which makes sense, since the infamously-unpublished Last Dangerous Visions is in his hands). Another new intro is by Patton Oswalt, which…I mean, sure, why not, I like him, I’m sure both he and JMS can provide a modern context as to the importance of this book, and the cutting-edge nature of the work at the time.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Dangerous Visions. I don’t even own a copy, which is why I’m happy to have this new edition (and my choice of hard or soft covers, apparently being released simultaneously next March). I do wonder how the stories have aged since the book was first released in 1967, and how much time may have blunted those cutting edges. I do own a battered hardcover of Again, Dangerous Visions which is probably due a new poke-through after sitting on my shelf for many a year. (Or I can wait for that book’s reissue next summer.)

I don’t want to relitigate the whole Last Dangerous Visions thing here, which you can read about on Wikipedia if you don’t know the details. But I do wish JMS the best of luck wrestling that beast…the Wiki entry does claim that Blackstone (the publisher of the DV reissue) will be releasing Last Dangerous Visions late next year, but surely no one can blame me if I say “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

You don’t need to reference the Flash Gordon movie in the comments, I understand that you’ve seen it.

§ November 1st, 2023 § Filed under newspaper strips, pal plugging, sir-links-a-lot § 24 Comments

When you weren’t looking, someone took the moribund Flash Gordon newspaper strip, in reruns for decades, and revived it into something awesome. Dan Schkade started on the strip a couple of weeks ago, and has really been kicking butt and taking names. Fast-paced, beautifully illustrated, wittily dialogued, it’s a solid demonstration that just because something’s been around forever and left to basically rot, it doesn’t mean someone can’t come along and apply a little elbow grease and get things working again. It’s a great strip, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier as the first couple of installments are behind a paywall now, but you can catch on to what’s going on easily enough.

Amusingly in the comments now and again are a tiny handful of people upset that Flash Gordon is suddenly new and interesting, wishing for the return of artists who have done them the disfavor of no longer being alive. Anyway, you have to kind of admire the commitment of the same four or five people who turn up at that site every day to click the “ANGRY” response button for each strip. But frankly, all things considered, they should be grateful anyone’s even bothering to maintain the comic at all.

• • •

Andrew Farago has written an excellent obituary for the late and, needless to say, great Keith Giffen for The Comics Journal. He rightly lists the accolades, while not ignoring one of the more…unfortunate periods of his career (to which I just barely alluded in my own barely-adequate remembrance).

So check out Andrew’s coverage of everything Giffen did for the comics industry over the last few decades. His influence is probably greater than you realize. Or even I realized…even though I read most of the stuff he worked on for the last thirty years as it was coming out, seeing it all assembled and quantified as to its importance to this medium (and its expansion into film) was a real eye-opener. Giffen was a giant, even if we didn’t always understand just how tall he was.

I don’t know how unsuccessful it was, all my readers apparently bought Grendel from a newsstand.

§ October 30th, 2023 § Filed under fanzines, publishing § 6 Comments

Hi pals…I’m pretty wiped out today so I’m going to apologize up front for a less thorough post. But you folks really stepped up with some info regarding the woes of comics publisher Comico, researching and finding relevant articles in The Comics Journal that I didn’t.

What I was doing when looking through my Journals for the last post was specifically searching out articles along the lines of “COMICO DISTRIBUTES TO NEWSSTANDS.” I stuck mostly to Journals released around mid-1986 through mid-1987. However, if I’d kept going through December 1987, I might have found this feature the mag ran in December ’87, presented here courtesy reader Lars. This is more in the context of Comico’s large printer debt, which the article states

“…Was at least partly incurred as the result of an apparently unsuccessful nationwide newsstand distribution of such Comico titles as Jonny Quest, Grendel, and the three Robotech titles….”

The article also notes other reasons for Comico’s money woes, including the collapse of some distribution companies that owed the publisher money. That particularly rings a worrying bell right now, as the industry is currently splintering amongst multiple distributors after many years of just one company bringing us our comics. I mean, it’s a different situation now — it’s not likely Penguin Random House is suddenly going to disappear overnight — but those of us who remember distributors dropping like flies can’t help but think of those days.

Anyway, thank you Lars for the scans, and thanks also to ChrisB for pointing out other issues of the Journal for me to check out. As Michael points out, the mag’s “Newswatch” section is pretty consistently amazing, and I found myself just paging through article after article being reminded of the many events of the time. This is one of the reasons I like ‘zines, reading about comics news as reported contemporaneously. As I noted on Bluesky, “this is my comics nostalgia.”

I plan on digging through more of these Journals and seeing if I can find any more articles of note, not just about Comico but other topics as well. Though I did spot an editorial by Gary Groth about the end of the black and white/investment boom which I also can’t wait to revisit.

Honestly, I love Canada, I once wrote a report on the country that I used, unchanged, in two different school years.*

§ October 27th, 2023 § Filed under publishing § 9 Comments

So a few of you folks popped into my comments to note that yes, you too bought Grendel off the newsstands back in ’86, along with Johnny Quest, another Comico-published property. (And then Matthew brings up the Canadian newsstand distribution of Melody: Story of a Nude Dancer, and, well, Canada being a lawless land is perhaps a topic for another day….)

Anyhoo, I spent my Thursday evening going through the mid-1980s portion of my Comics Journal, looking at the news sections and trying to find any mention of Comico’s newsstand distribution plans, along with any note of how those could have been a factor in the publisher’s demise. Alas, I found nothing, but with the caveat that one of my issues from that run is AWOL, possibly in the stacks of unsorted material that I am currently reorganizing at the house. And also, I could have just plain missed it. I should check my Amazing Heroes from the same period, when it’s not approaching midnight (as I write this), along with their Preview Specials, to see if there’s any mention there.

Well, hold on, I still have the Previews Specials here next to my desk, so let me poke through ’em real quick-like and see if I can find anything.


Nope, no mention in the Grendel entries in those.

Anyway, suffice to say Comico was experimenting with distribution outside the comic book store direct market. Much like how Now Comics would also attempt it not too much later. I am curious if Grendel ever got any blowback from “concerned parents” or news crews lookin’ for controversy, as, as the articles I was seeing in Comics Journal of the period remind me, comic content and censorship in the industry was a real hot topic. Just news item after news item of shops being harassed, publishers issuing subject matter guidelines, creators parting ways (or getting fired for complaining) with DC after announcing their content-labeling plans, complaints about the Miracleman birth issue…it was a real mess. Even putting “PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED” across the top of their comic, like Comico did with Grendel #1, wouldn’t stop anyone from startin’ any trouble with them. If anything, it would just make them a target.

That’s…probably a bigger topic than I have time to really tackle here. I was actually specifically reminded of the whole “look at the filthy comics your kids are reading!” hoohar that went around whenever comics started selling reasonably well in the last couple of decades. Lots of people always willing to hitch their agenda wagon to whatever seems popular, and if comics are popular, well, that’s a good hook to rail against the sinfulness in society and “protecting” the children. Of course now video games an’ such get much more attention, so those are more attractive to those types, so it doesn’t matter if Batman says a swear, or whatever.

So, the thing that specifically reminded me of this. I was looking up old San Diego Comic Con videos on YouTube and found this one, a San Diego news programs retrospective of their own coverage of the event over the years. It’s pretty neat seeing the sales floor and the people in costumes, and the coverage ranges from “comic books are weird” to “comic fans are weird” to “oh thank God normal celebrities and big movies are here,” but keep a lookout for the coverage in the 1990s where, gasp, adult comics are on sale here in full view of children!

So going back three or four topics, I’ll keep my eye out and see if I can’t spot any info on Comico’s newsstand distribution. Also, at one point Comico was piggybacking on DC for a bit, offering their books through DC’s distributor solicitations. That’s kinda weird too.

* BONUS: the two teachers were spouses.

A short follow-up on Grendel.

§ October 25th, 2023 § Filed under grendel § 9 Comments

A couple of readers piped up in response to Monday’s post about Grendel, stating that they came across issues for sale, not in comic shops, but in drug and convenience stores way up there in the wilds of Canada. If I can tell you a secret, I too found my copy of Grendel #1, 1986 edition, in a non-comic shop environment. No, not in some strange and distant foreign land like Canada, but right here in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A., at a small newsstand a mile or three down the road from the funnybook store that would eventually become my place of employment.

Yes, it’s true, even after finally finding out about a honest-to-Kirby comic book store, I would still poke around other places to see what they had. And while I’d seen Grendel on the rack at the comic shop and passed on it, I found myself wanting something new to read, I was at this newsstand, and, well, they got my buck and a half.

Here’s a pic of the newsstand cover, with the UPC code the direct sales version lacks:

According to the Grand Comics Database, the first twelve issues of this series were distributed both through comic shops and newsstands. Which…must have been something, considering how…edgy some of the content was, to have it on the stands next to Gentle Puppy Funnies #215. …Well, okay, next to Spider-Man and Batman but you know what I mean.

Oh, and Brian tells us that Devil’s Vagary that was included in the Comico Collection was reprinted in the first Grendel Omnibus, so there you go. Thanks, Brian!

The Final ’80s Countdown, Part Twenty-Two.

§ October 23rd, 2023 § Filed under final countdown § 11 Comments

Movin’ along the Favorite ’80s Comic Poll list to our first four-vote-getting entry:

Grendel (Comico 1983-1984)

This is another case the listing the first ongoing series featuring the character in the header there is a little misleading as to the size and impact of the property. After first appearing in the second issue of the Comico anthology book Primer in 1982, Matt Wagner’s character launched in what was supposed to be a six-issue series the next year. It was crude and amateurish but had an undenialable energy beneath its striking covers that put it a step above most of the other black and white boom comics of the era.

The series ended prematurely after three issues. In 1984, Comico started publishing Wagner’s next big project Mage: The Hero Discovered, a full-color urban fantasy adventure. Starting in issue #6 of that series in 1985, and running through #14, Wagner included a serialized Grendel back-up story. This story retold the tale that was intended for that aborted mini, in a more experimental caption-heavy format.

The premise of the Grendel comics, at least at the beginning, can most simply be summed up as “the villain is the hero,” where Grendel, AKA rich socialite Hunter Rose, is a handsome, witty and appealing, while living a secret life as a murderious crime lord. The hero of the story is Argent, a misshappen and grotesque wolf-like being, flipping on its head the usual superhero/supervillain dynamic one would see in comics. It’s not an unusual inversion…I mean, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Godfather or a Breaking Bad where we’re invested in the bad guys. Even in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, all the good bits involve Satan and all the Heaven stuff is boring.

Now, at the end of that initial story, Hunter Rose is killed, and the next Grendel series launches in 1986. The first 12 issues of that, written by Wagner, illustrated by the Pander Brothers, takes place in the near-future of…sometime around 2010 or so in which the “grandaughter of Grendel” (Christine Spar, the daughter of Hunter Rose’s adopted child) takes on the costumed identity. From there, the idea of “villain as hero” evolves into Grendel being more an examination of violence and aggression as the mantle passes from person to person and the “spirit of Grendel” supposedly influences people and events.

That Grendel series ends with issue #40 in 1990, with the title of Grendel being held by the conqueror of Earth in the 26th century, so clearly the premise had gone through some permuations. Past this, Grendel comics move to Dark Horse Comics with a number of mini-series by various creative teams, either continuing in this future world, or filling in backstory (like a mini featuring the tragic adulthood of Hunter’s adopted daughter Stacy), or a handful of series telling more tales of the original Grendel. Of note are two mini-series pairing up the character with Batman (one with Hunter, the other with Grendel-Prime, a future Grendel who arrives via time-travel). There’s also Gredel Vs. The Shadow in 2014, so long as we’re talking about crossovers.

The most recent series, Grendel: Devil’s Odyssey, ran from 2019 to 2021, written and illustrated by Wagner. To be frank, I gave up briefly on some of the earlier Dark Horse minis set in the far future, as I just didn’t have the interest. I did pick up the later Hunter Rose minis, and that Devil’s Odyssey I have to read eventually, but it started during the height of my eyeball issues so it’s ended up in the “read these later when I can see again” stacks and I haven’t gone back to them yet. It looks good, though!

Now, if you want to read any of this stuff…a lot of it is still available in paperback, primarily through four omnibuses, starting with the Hunter Rose era and working its way through to the future Grendel Prime era. The “Devil by the Deed” story that ran as the back-ups in Mage has been reprinted on its own several times, including an 8 1/2 by 11 inch graphic novel from Comico, and a couple of comic-book sized reprints from Dark Horse. The non-Wagner Grendel material has been reprinted in two Grendel Tales omnibuses, but only the second one appears to be available currently.

The original black and white Grendel stories from Comico, the Primer short and the three released issues of the mini, were collected in Grendel Archives from Dark Horse, but that hardcover appears to be unavailable. Most of the Grendel run has been reprinted in one form or another over the years…I had a paperback at my shop recently that Comico had released in 1988 of the Christine Spar Grendel story, and the story that had followed in the 1986 run, illustrated by Bernie Mireault, had been collected on its own as well. There’s lots of out-of-print books out there, you just have to keep your peepers peeled for them.

Shipping in November of this year is Devil by the Deed Master’s Edition, a brand new retelling of the Hunter Rose story, written and drawn by Wagner. So, there’s more yet to come!

One oddity I hadn’t mentioned was a slim 16 page Grendel comic, Devil’s Vagary, which was included in the Comico Collection slipcase. The slipcase, which is actually a pretty nice item featuring a Grendel design, was a “sampler package” (i.e. Comico trying to clear out the warehouse) of a handful of random back issues, which featured this exclusive Grendel story (written by Wagner, drawn by Dean Motter). I’m sure this story must have been reprinted somewhere, probably in the first Omnibus, but there’s no indication on the comics database page I linked. Maybe someone can let me know.

If you’re new to Grendel and want to try it out, I honestly think you can’t go wrong with any of the Hunter Rose stuff. It’s Basic Grendel, the purest distillation of the concept, and the source from which everything else follows. The 1986 series that begins with Christine Spar and moves on from there is good as well, though as the series progresses further into the future, and the mini-series by Other Hands kick in, the franchise gets a little lost in the weeds, I think. Your Mileage May Vary, as they say.

And I should probably bring up the fact that a live-action Grendel series was pretty much all ready to go on Netflix, until Netflix decided this was the one series they weren’t going to throw at a wall to see if it stuck. Ah well. Hopefully it’ll get out there somewhere.

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