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Vivat [Grendel]

Dizzy DDizzy D NetherlandsRegistered User regular
With Orion's sword
the Hunter arose
and conquered the world
with Fury and Grace.

In Him was I born
In Him shall I die
In Him shall I lose
name, station and face.

Death over weakness
Death over despair
Death over personal gain.

Death over dishonor
Death over undeath
Death over fire with no flame.

All this I pledge thee
Oh Grendel, great Khan
To serve and protect
over death's endless tide,

With your word in my heart
Your eyes in my face
And your tooth in my hand by my side.


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First attempt at a thread here, inspired by a question in the question's thread, so please stick with me.

Grendel is comic book written and (initially) drawn by Matt Wagner. Later artists include Arnold and Jacob Pander, Bernie Mirault, John K. Snyder III, Jay Geldhof, Tim Sale, Patrick McEown and for the Black, White & Red and Red, White & Black anthology series nearly any indy comic book artist you can think off.
First published by Comico as a solo-series and later a backup to Wagner's Mage series (which is also pretty good. Check it out). Comico ran into financial problems though and Wagner moved Grendel to Dark Horse, where it has remained to this day. Over the years Grendel has constantly switched protagonists and style, though the more recent works have gone back to the original Grendel, Hunter Rose.

So who's Grendel?
Wrong question, better question is "What's Grendel", but we get to that later.

The man generally credited as the first Grendel, is a boy called Eddie. A boy with extraordinary intelligence and physical abilities, who found nothing but boredom on his path. At an international fencing tournament, he meets the female trainer Jocasta, who is the only one to recognize his talents. Eddie and Jocasta have a brief relationship, which ends as Jocasta dies of disease. Filled with rage at the world, Eddie reinvents himself as Hunter Rose, an author and as Grendel, assassin and criminal mastermind. The Hunter Rose stories are mostly crime noire stories, focusing on the struggle between Grendel and Argent, a wolfman who works for the police with Rose's ward Stacy Palumbo caught in the middle. These stories are told in the original Comico series, the "Devil by Deed comic" and the later series "Behold the Devil" and the antologies "Black, White & Red" and "Red, White & Black". Oh and a crossover with Batman, which is actually one of the few intercompanty crossovers that is in continuity.

The second Grendel is Christine Spar, Hunter Rose's "granddaughter". Set in the near future, Christine takes on the mantle of Grendel to find her disappeared son. Where the Hunter Rose stories are mostly crime, Christine's story, "Devil's Legacy", is more personal, the story of a mother consumed by grief and rage.

The third Grendel is Brian Li Sung, Christine's former lover and here the story, "The Devil Inside", turns more psychological; the story is told from Brian's perspective as he is slowly taken over by the persona of Grendel himself. We find out that Grendel is not just an identity but a sentient force, a demon of rage and violence.

After Brian, Grendel incubates for a few years, there are a few short stories that show Grendel becoming a figure of myth and how his actions have influenced society.

The next incarnation of Grendel will be idiot-savant Eppy Thatcher (no relation to a certain Iron Lady) in "God and the Devil". Set in the far future, the world has been dominated by a corrupted Church and Grendel becomes the harlequin-like figure that inspires the resistance against the church.

Its' follow-up, "Devil's Reign", tells the story of Orion Assante, the Grendel Khan, who takes control away from the Church and unites the world. The story is told as a documentary or a history book. Wagner finishes the Grendel's story with "War Child" and it's sequel "Devil Quest", focusing on Grendel Prime, a mysterious warrior that kidnaps and protects Orion's heir, Jupiter to foster him as the new Grendel Khan.

During this period, there are many Grendels. Large groups of warriors wear the markings of Grendel, sworn to the Grendel Khan (see the oath above) and each follow the Khan's teachings in their own way. Some are warriors with a strict code of honour, some are solitary hunters, others just violent thugs. Some of their stories are told by different writers and artists in the "Grendel Tales"-series.

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Overall all stories are focused on violence, not in an "Look at Captain Ultra * punch Dr. Nefarious' ** head off in 265 colours!"-way, but more the various forms of violence, how they influence society and how the influence the people using it. Don't expect happiness here, a circle of neverending doom has trapped us all.

Most of these stories have recently been collected in some nice hardbacks by Dark Horse including some previously hard to find stories like the Incubation Years (and that's why I really need to pick those up one day soon. Till then the old singles must suffice).

*= Oh god, there must be a Captain Ultra. (google: I was right. Don't sue me, Marvel, I didn't mean that guy)
**= And probably a Dr. Nefarious as well. It's pretty hard to think of a generic hero and villain name that hasn't been used already.

Tried to keep it image-low for those of us with slower links. All suggestions for improvement are welcome and will *not* be greeted with a metal fork to the eyes.

Steam/Origin: davydizzy

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    DouglasDangerDouglasDanger PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular
    I really enjoy Wagner's work, but I haven't read any Grendel that I can remember.

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    RaykefireRaykefire Devil by the Deed Registered User regular
    I've been a pretty big Grendel fan for a long time now. I still hope for the Grendel Tales with Grendels before Hunter Rose that got kicked around in the letters. Roman Legion Grendels would fit I think.

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