Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comics Review: Sergio Aragones’ Groo and Rufferto (Trade Paperback)

And, say… Why don’t we do MORE COMIC REVIEWS at this Blog?!

There are lots of great “dog characters” in comics. Perhaps the most famous is Charles Schulz’s Snoopy. Others range from friendly and familiar Marmaduke to the unnamed surly bulldog that follows LOBO around.

My two favorites are Paul Murry and Don R. Christensen’s Pluto of the 1950s Dell Comics (whose thought captions give him more character than one would believe possible)… and RUFFERTO, the blindly faithful hound to Sergio Aragones’ bumbling barbarian GROO THE WANDERER.

In 1999, Rufferto finally received title billing in a four-issue limited series published by Dark Horse Comics (…as author Mark Evanier might say: the only publisher of GROO still in existence). In 2000, it rightly received the “trade paperback treatment”.

As one might expect from a GROO story titled “GROO AND RUFFERTO”, Groo and Rufferto spend nearly the entire four chapters (comprising the original four issues) SEPARATED IN TIME! A greedy King’s wizard has sent Rufferto into the future – our grimy, barbaric, and dangerous PRESENT), and Groo (quite admirably) brings the kingdom to a total halt – and the miserly monarch to his knees – until his dog is returned to him!

No further spoilers, but this is one of my all time favorite GROO stories (certainly one of the best not to feature my personal favorite “guest” character “Captain Ahax”) – and when one says this about GROO, one is certainly saying SOMETHING! The usual suspects are on hand: Words by Mark Evanier, colors by Tom Luth, letters by Stan Sakai (as has been since the ‘80s) and, of course the genius of Sergio Aragones!

All four of the Rufferto “One-Page-Gags” are present, as well as an introductory text by Evanier – who also prepares an INDEX to the book, which is wonderfully part-real, and part-gag.

Sometimes, actually story points are properly indexed as follows:

allows thieves to escape, 9
attempts to think, 49

(And, yes, these things happen on the designated pages)

Then, there are intentionally “gaggy” references mixed in among the others:

(Still under "Groo")
makes head hurt, see attempts to think

And there are gags that incorporate the “page number” into the gag itself:

I.Q. of average Groo reader, 63
Past editors of Groo, 43
Past editors of Groo still in comic book business, 0

Finally, those that defy description:

Who to blame, see publisher credits
Your dentist, see twice a year

It is impossible not to enjoy Groo… and this collection is as highly recommended as any could be! Even more so if you love faithful Rufferto!

No comments: