Remake & Reboot: Matt Wagner’s GRENDEL

Pin-up by Dave Johnson

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.

The Concept:

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 Creators:

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.


  1. I just recently began reading Dark Horse’s new Grendel Omnibus, and I must say I have been very excited about it. The story of Hunter Rose is interesting, dark, mature, intelligent. Everything I want out of a comic. My only previous exposure was 2 issues of Grendel: Warchild, and it was good but that was different, and this stuff is GOOD. I would love to buy a Grendel comic every month by Rucka and Harren.

    • Oh, you’re in for a treat. The second omnibus is coming out in December? I think. Anyways, it tells Christine Spar’s tale (Stacy Palumbo’s daughter and the ‘author’ of the initial story in the first omnibus), how she takes on the mantle, and ultimately sets the wheels in motion for Grendel to become a decades spanning legacy.

      It’s fantastic, some of my all time favourite comic booking.

      And Great Article Chris, I will admit initially I was like “No Wagner?!?! This guys insano!” but then remembered Rucka wrote a Grendel Novel. He’d be great.

    • Wow. Sounds like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I love comics with depth and longevity. Really shows the creativity and intelligence of the creators to plant seeds that tell stories years to come. Does the art end up having any color? I’m really digging the tone-heavy pages with splashes of red. Guess Id better get to reading!

    • Yup, it’s all coloured from here on out, to the best of my knowledge. It’s been years though, so who knows what Dark Horse does with the Omnibi.

  2. Grendel is the series that got me back into comics when I was a teenager. It is easily one of my all time favorite series. I miss it a lot and wish Wagner would o more. I also want him to do Mage 3 !

  3. The Hunter Rose and Christine Spar are great there’s no question, but I have special place in my heart for the Eppy Thatcher saga. An excellent story.

    Also, I wonder why cosplayers overlook Grendel. There are several costumes to choose from.

  4. I remember Grendel Prime. Was there a Batman vs Grendel or am I conjoring that up?

    • Wow, ht was kind of awesome! The two comic books I most wan to see get a movie adaptation are Grendel and Concrete. This trailer just made me want it even more!