Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: Groo vs Conan

Groo vs. Conan is, simply put, the best comic I’ve read all year!  I just have to write a bit about the characters, creators, and how much I enjoyed the series. If you know of them and this series, it will be a lot of stuff you know, but please be patient.  I am writing this in the hopes that someone out there who never has before might just give Groo a chance!

Sergio Arangones is probably the best funny-style cartoonist ever!  He’s been doing doodles and cartoons for Mad magazine for decades and he just seems to fit more in a page that is physically possible.

Mark Evanier write Groo and is also known for writing a bunch of Garfield cartoons (My wife is a huge fan and we own them all on DVD). 

Somehow Mark and Sergio got together and created Groo the Wanderer, the funniest barbarian ever! Groo is also the best.  At what he does best, that is.  By which I mean kill people and act without intelligence. He also likes cheese dip. I don’t know why I’m mentioning that now except it’s funny.
Thomas Yeates is a great artist who draws some very serious Conan comics.  This somehow makes him perfect to bring Conan into the world of Groo.  Seriously.  This guy is very good!

Conan the Barbarian, if you don’t know, is the creation of Robert E. Howard and was first published, in prose not comic form, in the 1930s.  There have been many adaptations including movies and TV series, as well as the current Dark Horse comics and a long run of comics at Marvel.  Conan is big and strong and clever, and has defeated many a foe.  Not a foe as dumb as Groo though.  Of course, no one is as dumb as Groo. So Conan is facing his greatest opponent: A killing machine with no brain. Sounds like fun!

Groo vs Conan mixes the grim and gritty world of Conan with the strange and whimsical world of Groo in a fashion that reminds me of the old Disney movies when they would combine (2-D) animation and live action footage. But the story really revolves around events that occur in the real world.  Or at least, the real world as depicted by Sergio.  The whole crossover results because of Mark and Sergio trying to save a comic-book shop that is going to be leveled to make way for a shopping center.  This somehow leads to Sergio being injured, and getting lots of strange medication that make him feverishly imagine that he is Conan and is on a quest that involves Groo. It doesn’t sound funny at all when I type it, but it’s extremely hilarious when you read it! Really!!

On the Groo side of the tale,   the wanderer is hired to destroy a bakery loved by the locals to make way for a castle. Conan is tasked with stopping the simple-minded one from wreaking havoc.  And the local villagers hilariously observe, comment, and get all messed up in the whole thing! Of course, we get to see the inevitable showdown between swordsmen.  The battle of the century!  The war to end all wars! (Wait, that was WWI…) Anyway, I just can’t describe it without totally spoiling the whole thing. So I suggest you go buy it. I bet you can still order the individual comics, which are cool because they include letters pages. Or I guess there’ll be a collection soon.  But I wouldn’t wait if I were you!

You need to read this series now before the next Groo series starts.  After all, you don’t want to have the next death spoiled before you read it!  And with Groo around, there are a lot of deaths!!

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