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Sunday, June 19, 2005

My Collection - SERGIO ARAGONES GROO THE WANDERER [1985 Series]

Sergio Aragones Groo the Wanderer [1985 series]
106 issues [1985 - 1995]
2, 11, 13, 15 - 17, 19 - 21, 24 - 120

This is of course the long running Aragonés (with Evanier, Sakai and (usually) Luth) Marvel/Epic series of the book, which was previously published by Pacific and Eclipse, later published by Image and Dark Horse. I think I began reading it in the mid-50s, and started picking up back-issues as well as each new monthly release. Fortunately before I started buying too many of the earliest issues they began doing the tradepaperbacks of the earlier stuff, so I got those instead (the newsprint on the earlier issues didn't age too well). I also missed a few new issues in the 80s and 90s off the stands, and it's only a few years ago that I finally found those. I'm still tempted to someday get the 14 issues I'm missing, for the letter columns if nothing else, but that feels like such a Groo thing to do (two of my handful of letter column appearances are in GROO, oddly with only one letter).

I shouldn't have to tell anyone that this is brilliant stuff. For those few who don't know, it's basically a parody of sword&sorcery comics, starring the dumbest and deadliest warrior in the world. Lots of great characters (especially Rufferto, Groo's dog), running gags, creative plots and of course that sweet Aragonés artwork.

Just about any issue is worth checking out, but I'd especially recommend the issues from #87 on. At that point they switched to a format with better paper and fewer ads (and a higher price, but a bargain by today's standards). So you'd get longer lead stories, introductions hosted by the "creative" team, back-up stories with the supporting cast or Groo as a boy, various puzzles and Rufferto back-covers.

A few favourites

#47 - The 300% Solution (great use of the supporting cast and Groo logic)
#63 - Real Estate (a Pal and Drumm classic scam, using Groo to affect property values)
#78 - The Book Burners (a nice story with a moral, plus with the familiar looking Weaver and Scribe)
#84 - The Puppeteers (hint, it's about TV)
#94 - Water (wonderfully constructed story)
#100 - A Little Knowledge (Groo learns how to read)
#116 - Early Uno Morning (a wordless Aragonés solo story)


A list of books reprinting some of this stuff is available on Aragonés' web site.

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