[Groop] The Hogs of Horder #1

Porter publicporter at gmail.com
Fri Dec 4 15:30:17 PST 2009

I have been thinking about this subject for awhile now.

Were one to pick up a copy of Epic #5 ('Slavers') and, well, Hogs of  
Horder #1, it is no great difficulty to see differences in the  
approach to writing and storytelling and to some degree the art as  
well (never mind the printing, layout and general physical  
qualities).  With that said, Groo The Wanderer has ever been a social  
and political critique set amidst the antics of a fool with swords.   
This is one of the primary qualities The Fool has evinced  
historically: both veiled and overt criticism by absurd means,  
subversion through an innocuous and seemingly simpleminded medium  
(this exact same argument, both pro and con, has been made in regards  
to comic books in general for decades).

The difference between Groo and traditional fools, of course, is that  
Groo is a genuine fool, not a scholar in a buffoon's uniform. He,  
along with Minstrel and Sage on occasion, exists at various times (and  
frequently all at once) as the voice, subject and cause of criticism.  
But Groo and the stories themselves are different because the  
storytellers are different. After 25 years or so, I would hope their  
evolution as writers and artists would not have ended at the age of 30  
or 40. One's craft, expertise, ideals, interests and motivations shift  
- and for me it is equally interesting watching the creators  
themselves go through a metamorphosis as it is to see the changes  
their characters go through.

But I don't think it so much an issue of moralizing or politicizing  
the stories - they were always that (end-of-story moral, anyone?) -  
but that they have become directly allegorical, overt and more current- 
events based than in previous adventures. In that way I do think they  
have become much more relevant, more immediate, and shed light in new  
ways upon issues that are affecting us now.  In the same breath  
though, I think what has been missing as a result is its universalism  
and timelessness, its intricacy in simplistic form.

My general preference too is with the older, less allegorical approach  
- it is by reading Groo that I discovered the very notion of  
"relevance and applicability" in literature - but I do enjoy these  
current stories greatly nevertheless. I love them all and like the  
change of pace but hope for a return sometime soon.  And so continues  
the great debate between applicability and allegory, Middle Earth and  
Narnia, crackers and chips, salsa and hummus, pad thai and chow mein,  
ale and lager, black forrest and red velvet cake... cheese dip and  
spit-roasted lizard.

Time to eat.

  ~ Porter.
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