Thursday, June 26, 2014

More news on Grendel meets The Shadow

If you heard the "squee!" of a comic book geek coming from somewhere in the Midwest recently, well...that was me.

More information has come forward from Matt Wagner on his upcoming crossover of Grendel and The Shadow.  Most of you loyal ESE readers know what a fan I am of Grendel: Devil by the Deed.  I just love the idea of a comic book series centered around a criminal and not very nice guy such as Hunter Rose.  He's charismatic, he's a wealthy man-about-town, he's a philanthropist, and he also happens to be the bloody scourge of the criminal underworld.  Not out of any real altruism, mind you but rather to rig the game for himself.  Oh yeah and he's a writer.  Specifically, a famous and wealthy one known for his disquieting and controversial works about societal norms.  As both a writer and an artist, Wagner has yet to top this integral creation in my opinion.  That would indeed be a difficult thing to do.

But crossing him over with The Shadow is great start.  How, you might ask, will the contemporary Grendel fit into the milieu of the classic pulp and radio drama character?  Well in the linked article, Wagner announces that he has made the smart decision (in my opinion, anyway) of placing Grendel in the Shadow's native time period of the 1940s.  As Wagner says:

"Grendel as Hunter Rose is almost a character out of time. He seems like a character who kind of missed the Golden Age of America in the '30s and '40s -- the times he would have loved to have lived in. Especially the American urban scene and the American art scene of that time and the Hollywood high style and fashion realities. In my "Grendel" narrative, Hunter's life takes place in the early to mid '80s, so I have to find a way to put these two characters together."

Indeed, the art deco style of Grendel is likely a better fit for the 1930s and 40s, that era where, as Wagner points out, every man wore a hat and cities had actual shadows.

I am at once intrigued and apprehensive about what might transpire with the characters' personalities.  For one thing, both the true identities and the alter egos of these guys are rather similar. Both of them blur the line of good and evil and both are merciless, granting their enemies no quarter.  These two are on a collision course and the common people of New York City better hope they're not in the way when it happens.  A blithesome romp this will not be.

On the other hand, the character of Hunter Rose was very much formed out of a tragic love affair that ended in heartbreak and death.  This is something I identified and still identify with so much.  If he is placed as existing before that time, will that tragedy still have occurred?  Will he still be the Hunter Rose we know?  Hope so.

Regardless, I'll gladly fork over my money and find out.

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