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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Death of Groo the Wanderer (Graphic Novel) (Fantasy)

by Sergio Aragones & Mark Evanier

Publisher: Epic Comics (1987)

 Softcover 65 pages

Finished 10/31/2017

Amazon Listing

    This is an independent character that has been around for awhile. An unabashed parody of Conan, Groo is perhaps one of the stupidest and strongest characters ever created. For every issue he blunders idiotically about, accidentally causing trouble and slaughtering ridiculous amounts of enemies. Created by Sergio Aragones (himself well known for his work in Mad Magazine. Especially the Mad Marginal squiggles) in the 1970s, Groo has been published by nearly every major comic publisher out there: Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Eclipse, and Pacific Comics. It still retains a excellent sense of timing and comic appeal even over the decades from when it first appeared.
    I’ve heard some criticism about Aragones’ artwork in the past. Some claim that it is too bigfoot or cartoony a style for a “serious” comic collector to be interested in. While certainly done in a more cartoony style than many of the standard comics, Aragone’s art is rich in detail and action. His work is on par with Kirby in his ability to render motion and violence, and similar to Mobius in the amount of detail on every page and panel. It is a treat to view. And the cartoony style is unique and still refreshing from many of the others out there, even the ones done for a tongue-in-cheek book. Quite simply no one draws like Aragones, which is why his work always stands out. 

    The story here revolves around Groo stumbling into a realm where the king has an absolutely mad hatred for our hero. Groo, not realizing this at first, is chased out of town and nearly killed by the resident dragon. Believing he is dead, the king has a huge celebration including a funeral where many of the characters (those who have survived actually meeting the protagonist) show up to discuss how much they hated him and how they are all glad that their dead.
Groo, very upset, decides that they would all miss him if an evil enough villain showed up and needed defeating. He then attempts to create an evil persona, but in a reverse Don Quixote situation, only succeeds in becoming a masked hero that is praised throughout the realm. From there, further insanity ensues leading to an explosive ending. All of this is narrated by a recurring minstrel character who acts as a Greek chorus. Commenting on the action in rhyming couplets, but not actually participating in the plot. 

           For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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