[Groop] The Hogs of Horder #1
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
Time to eat.
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