In the 1980s and 1990s, Matt Wagner’s Grendel was one of comics most vibrant independent heroes. Created well before the Image heroes, Grendel was one of a select few of comic creations to keep going after its initial burst of popularity. But after twenty years in the spotlight, the 21st Century saw Grendel take a step back with only one series — an 9 issue series in 2007 — in the past twelve years. For a series that spans time, space and the concepts of “good” and “evil”, Grendel deserves a rebirth and I have an idea how.
Although a majority of the Grendel ouvre has been by its creator Matt Wagner, the series was also prone to bring in others to help expand the mythos of Hunter Rose, Christine Spar and the Grendel legacy. Back in 2008 Wagner commented that he was working on new Grendel material but nothing has been seen in the four years since. While I wouldn’t say no to more of Wagner’s Grendel, while we wait for that we shouldn’t make the idea of new Grendel stories wait til then.
With an enterprising duo of a writer and artist (discussed below), I’d push for a new Grendel series in the format of Hellboy, as a series of miniseries adding up to something more. This would allow for Wagner’s purported story to fit in when its finished, but also get the ball rolling and get Grendel back into the public eye.
For this, I’d create a new reader friendly story set before the events of God & The Devil, showing how the world went from looking at the Grendel name as it evolved from being a character in a series of novels into an entrenched part of society. Perhaps picking up older characters like Captain Wigginsand introducing new ones.
The Writer – Greg Rucka: Rucka is one of comics top free agents right now, and one of the few people who Matt Wagner has allowed to write Grendel before. I’d love to see Rucka put the same passion and planning he did for Batwoman and Queen & Country into developing a new chapter in the Grendel series.
The Artist – James Harren: James Harren might still be an unknown to most, but his work on Conan The Barbarian absolutely blew me away. After tracking down his previous work, Harren seems like an artist waiting to do something big — and relaunching Grendel could be just the thing.
The Cover Artist – Matt Wagner: Don’t think I’d forget Matt. Matt’s sense for cover design is one of the greatest in comics, and I’d love to see him continue to put his mark on his character and direct the “theme” of his series. Also, it’d be an informal teaser to his own Grendel books when the time comes.