Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This Comic Is Good - Groo the Wanderer #5

Groo the Wanderer really is one of those rare breeds of comics where a Groo from 1983 (like #5, as seen below) is no better or worse than a Groo from a couple of years ago.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

The main asset of the book, of course, is Sergio Aragonés' brilliant comical art. He has such an eye for cartoon detail that makes every issue of Groo really look like Aragonés was treating it like it was the most important work in the world to him.

However, this should not diminish Mark Evanier's efforts on the title. First of all, Groo is one of the few comics I have seen where the rhymes are not terrible. The rhymes in Groo are actually funny (and good).

Meanwhile, the morals at the end of each issue are interesting, and the dialogue is quite good.

Groo, for those who do not know, is basically like Conan. He wanders around (hence the title) and gets into battles wherever he goes. Groo is not a GOOD person, but nor is he necessarily malevolent in disposition. He is more like a force of nature. When he is hungry, he wants to eat. When he sees a fight, he wants to be in it.

#5 is a story of Groo being taken prisoner and put to work as a slave oarsmen on a pirate boat. Through a series of events, whichever ship Groo is on keeps coming across other ships, which they try to plunder.

However, Groo keeps managing to find a way to sink the ships, through various comical means.

The comic is especially interesting to see the actual work that goes into the characterizations of the peripheral characters. Evanier makes sure to give each character in the book (most of whom are just totally minor characters) distinct personalities that remain consistent throughout the book. Aragonés helps by making each character LOOK distinct as well (and since Groo sinks a lot of boats, we're talking a lot of characters here).

Very fun, very good story.

On top of it, we also get a nice map of Groo's sea voyage depicted in the comic.

And a fun (although a bit darker) story starring a Groo supporting character - The Sage.

Well worth your while, as the comic is filled with stuff to entertain you.

Highly recommended (as is, well, most Groo issues. If you can't find #5, try another number! They're almost all winners!).

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Blogger Michael said...

Not that I don't appreciate the review, but isn't any issue of Groo, by definition, a good comic?

6/01/2005 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

I've got an issue or two of Groo, and they're pretty fun, sure.

Now can somebody point me in the nearest direction of the first Groo trade?

6/01/2005 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

Groo's a pretty good example of disposable comics. I bought Groo for a little bit back when it was first coming out then stopped. Then a little while later I picked up some more Groo and had no trouble coming back into it. Comic fun-ness.

6/01/2005 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Orac said...

I love Groo. In fact, I have the very issue you posted, and most of the the first series from the 1980's.

6/01/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

"Now can somebody point me in the nearest direction of the first Groo trade?"

If you're looking for The Groo Adventurer, that may be difficult because it's out of print. The first several trades, originally published by Marvel, are out of print, in fact. However, the earliest Groo book in print is The Groo Houndbook, available from Dark Horse. You really don't have to read them in order, though. That's one of the great things about Groo!

6/01/2005 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Matt Brady said...

God, I love Groo. I just found this issue at a store and bought it for 50 cents. Haven't read it yet. Is it the first appearance of Captain Ahax? One of the best things about Groo is the large and varied supporting cast. There's Sage, Arcadio, Arba and Dakarba, Taranto, Pal and Drumm, Chakaal, and Grooella. And probably a few others. And another good thing about the comic was the letter column. Mark Evanier usually had hilarious responses to hilarious (and sometimes deranged) letter writers. Great stuff. If you can't tell, I'm typing all this with a huge grin on my face.

6/03/2005 05:12:00 PM  
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