[Groop] The Hogs of Horder #1

Grossmann, Gary (DOR) GaryG at DOR.WA.GOV
Sun Dec 6 11:14:15 PST 2009

Hey Tone!  


You have been a bad influence on these guys!   


Gary G. 




From: groop-bounces at groo.com [mailto:groop-bounces at groo.com] On Behalf
Of Mo orst
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2009 3:36 PM
To: groop at groo.com
Subject: Re: [Groop] The Hogs of Horder #1


Well said, Porter. But I think you're soft-pedaling on the actual
socio-political relevance of DH Groo. The reason all the old critiques
in Groo were both more relevant and more memorable is because the main
character... in all his satirical glory... was a human character. He
fell in love, he learned to read, he became an actor, a cook, a painter,
a curator of manuscripts, an observer of cult ritual, Etc. He has been
relegated to a caricature plot device in the last five series, and it
has NOT been edifying or enriching to watch. Nor has it been funny. 

There is little concern over the subject matter. Sword &
sorcery/medieval tropes are, as the Epic run clearly displayed,
interchangeable with practically any current event. Groo of the '80s and
'90s can easily be read as a political critique of those decades. The
real question is whether these characters, especially Groo, are still
worth caring about.

I appreciate that people grow and change, and that it is reflected in
their art. But I also believe that characters can be forgotten and
compromised by their creators if they are played like a card instead of
explored like a human. Mark used to talk about Groo that way in the
blurbs he would write. He used to say that Groo was "getting dumber" as
the comic matured, almost as if Groo were this friend of theirs that
they interacted with and they had little actual control over the
progression of the character because what was really happening was that
they were releasing him into his world and observing what he would do.
He even said of Rufferto that he "showed up one day and never left" like
a real dog. The Groo Crew seemed more like mothers than owners back

Now the whole thing seems very owned and manufactured. Awkward. Forced.
Not for corporate interests, but for personal ones. There has always
been a big to do in all their press about how Sergio owns Groo, and how
Groo proved this or that about creator-owned comics. But if they
protected him and kept him just so they could dehumanize him, then I'm
not interested. Why? Because that's not a loving relationship between
creator and character. That's Ahab and the Pequod. 

Here's hoping that Sergio and Mark may one day revisit their character
Groo. Not for what he can say for them as some sort of muppet. But for
what he still has to say and do as a classic fool.



From: publicporter at gmail.com
To: Groop at groo.com
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2009 15:30:17 -0800
Subject: Re: [Groop] The Hogs of Horder #1

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


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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