Monday, May 31, 2010

Summer Reading: Grimjack Omnibus

Summer Reading is a series that I plan to update on Monday's during the Summer that highlights some books that are good for throwing into your bag while on the way to the beach, vacation, or even to work.
I've been enjoying the recent trend of releasing Omnibuses (omnibi?) of older, very influential work by some of the smaller publishers.  I've long wanted to give Grimjack a try, I've enjoyed both of the creators work for a while and this has always been th work that many have cited as their seminal work.

Grimjack is a pretty simple set-up.  A mercenary named John Gaunt (nicknamed Grimjack) lives in the city of Cynosure, a city that is the nexus of many realities, all in a constant state of phasing in and out of phase with each other.  Gaunt has had a long and checkered past, having been a criminal, a cop and now a man for hire.  Both the setting and Gaunt's history allow for incredible flexibility in story telling.   In this book alone, we get westerns, science fiction, noir detective mysteries and political intrigue.  All of the stories are grounded by the presence of Grimjack, who could very easily be written off as a typical Eastwoodian "Man With A Dark Past Who Does Good", but the character is very well written by John Ostrander (Suicide Squad, Hawkworld) so that the character shines through.  Also, the art by Timothy Truman (Scout, Hawkworld) is incredibly detailed and clear.  The art makes it worth while to re-read the book just to see the easter eggs sprinkled through out.  For stories that are over 25 years old, it feels very fresh and new.

As for the format, IDW Comics prints the first 8 Grimjack stories that were originally backups in the First Comics series Starslayer and the first 13 issues of Grimjack's solo title (along with a brief framing sequence that I believe was created for the last re-print of these stories) here in a 6x9 softcover.  It's a great package and I wish Marvel & DC would modify their Showcase/Essential series to this format.  I'd gladly pay the extra money for color pages and the smaller trim size which makes for a much more portable read. Both IDW and Dark Horse are publishing a lot of books in this format and I look forward to grabbing more of them.


Scott said...

One of my all-time favorite series. Ostrander is one of the best but more under-appreciated writers of the last 30 years.

CalvinPitt said...

I'm with Scott, i really love GrimJack. Ostrander's ability to have these slow burning stories that build gradually, while still having entertaining single issues in there, usually filled with weird, but cool stuff.

Jason said...

Yeah, I've been late to the train on Ostrander. Hoping that DC can finally get its act together and release a Suicide Squad collection as they've been threatening to do.