One of the most iconic creator-owned series in comics history is about to hit its 40th anniversary, and Dark Horse Comics is planning to celebrate in style. The publisher will be bringing their 4-volume omnibus collections of Matt Wagner‘s Grendel back into print, with new cover artwork by Wagner and his son, colorist Brennan Wagner.
Here’s how Dark Horse describes the first Grendel omnibus:
Grendel Omnibus Volume 1 begins the entire epic series and chronicles the complete Hunter Rose storyline. This collection features millionaire Hunter Rose and his alter ego, the criminal mastermind Grendel! This collection features the very first Hunter Rose story, a complete Hunter Rose adventure by Matt Wagner, and vignettes and short stories from that key Grendel era by contributing storytellers Tim Sale, Guy Davis, Stan Sakai, Mike Allred, Darrick Robertson, Michael Avon Oeming, Jill Thompson, the Pander Brothers, Duncan Fegredo, Troy Nixey, and many more!
In a statement accompanying the announcement of the new omnibus editions, Wagner reflected on forty years of his creation:
“When I first created Grendel, I could only dream that the character and concepts would have a life and resonance beyond the initial storyline. Now, forty years into this dark and sprawling saga, I can look back on an epic narrative that’s always provided as many thrills and surprises for me as it hopefully has for its readers.”
The original Grendel, Hunter Rose, first appeared in 1982 in the pages of Comico Primer #2; the first omnibus volume covers Hunter Rose’s entire history. Over the forty years of the character’s run at both Comico and Dark Horse Comics, Wagner has evolved Grendel into an almost supernatural force, with multiple people adopting or being taken over by the identity, a drug bearing the name Grendel, and eventually a future system of government with rulers who go by the title of Grendel. It’s a fascinating exercise in long-term worldbuilding, and a series that’s well worth your time to read.
A personal favorite Grendel series of mine that’s included in the first volume is the four-issue Black, White, & Red, which sees an incredible lineup of superstar artists illustrating Grendel stories using only the three colors listed in the title. It’s a format that Marvel and DC been using recently, but it’s rarely been done better than it was in Grendel.
The first volume of the reprinted Grendel Omnibus will arrive in comic stores on June 8th, 2022, and in bookstores later that month, on June 21st.