Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Unkie Dev's Amazing Stuff

It's not every week that I get to talk about the comics from last week, but this week is exceptional. Did you know the 25th anniversary of Groo the Wanderer has come and gone? Dark Horse knew, and to celebrate they published the lovely Groo 25th Anniversary Special. Man, last week was awesome.


"Legend" is the only word to describe all things Groo. Groo himself is a wandering barbarian, a cartoony parody of the Conan-crowd. He is Groo: bringer of destruction, eater of cheese-dip and friend/owner of his faithful sidekick/dog, Rufferto. He is also dumber than deep fried rocks, has a nose like a potato and cannot step on a boat without accidentally destroying it. For 25 years he has rambled and slayed across five different publishers, 150 comic books and two original graphic novels. His creative team, Mark Evanier (writer) and Sergio Aragones (artist) are comic book legends as well, despite working on this goof-ball character year after year.

Evanier is considered THE comic book scholar, cutting his teeth working for Jack Kirby and Wally Wood. Sergio Aragones, the world famous MAD Magazine cartoonist, has more industry awards for cartooning then he knows what to do with. Aragones has a background in engineering, assuring each catapult, castle and medieval torture device depicted was drawn in perfect working order. The art is so incredibly detailed, Mark and Sergio used to hide hidden messages in each book.


Groo is a tried and true "Funny Book," mixing slapstick, bad puns and silly humor with great stories and art for consistent yucks. Groo had comic fans LOLing and ROLFing before such things existed. Loyal Groo readers know the gentle humor and all around sense of fun found in Groo is to be had in NO OTHER comic. Indeed, The Groo panel at the San Diego comic con is usually jam-packed, even for the past 3 years when there have been no Groo books being published at all!

If this all sounds like kids stuff: sorry, IT IS! South Park and the internet have changed what mainstream culture can laugh at. More recent funny books such as "The Pro," and "The Boys." i.e. "Mature" books, have virtually killed off the all-ages humor comic. Reading Groo is reading books from an often funnier, more innocent time when it was okay to laugh at a moron barbarian, his faithful hound and the thousands he accidentally slays behind him. Let the inner ten year old in you have a break from the grim and gritty. Pick up the silly, crazy and wacky world of Groo TODAY with the The Groo 25th Anniversary Special from Dark Horse, or any of the Groo reprint trades also available here at Forbidden Planet. You will never look at "Mulch" the same way again.


Groo ain't the only all-ages funny book debuting this week. For fairy tale good times with a dash of gender politics look no further than Linda Medley's award-winning Castle Waiting from Fantagraphics. Dwarves, witches and enchanted princesses try to live together in a crowded, crumbling castle. It's a fairy tale "Real World" that never skimps on charm.

And if THAT wasn't hoy-falloy enough for you, last week also saw the release of Action Philosophers #9 from Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey. Simple, clean yet expressive art helps break down the tough concepts of philosophy with fists and funny. Think of the "Big Book" or "Cartoon History of" approach to logical positivism or Marx/Engles... and if you didn't understand a single thing I just said then stick with Groo. Unkie Dev AWAY!

By Guest Contributor: Unkie Dev



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