Sunday, 24 June 2012

Graphic Novel: Groo And Rufferto

Another amusingly daft tale from Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier.

Groo And Rufferto, originally published as a
four issue mini series, then later reprinted
as a graphic novel.
In Groo And Rufferto, Groo (an extremely dumb but highly skilled warrior from times gone by) and his faithful canine companion wander into the land of King Ravenus, a gold-worshipping ruler who loves wealth so much that he spends all his time either gazing upon his hoards of treasure or dreaming up new taxes to impose on his people.  So paranoid is he that he will one day encounter someone who wants to steal his gold, that King Ravenus sets his wizard, Anakrony, the task of discovering the means to transport him to a safe and faraway land.

Anakrony decides that the safest place would be to disappear somewhere where his enemies can’t follow him … the future.  More specifically the present day.  Unfortunately for Groo and Rufferto, it is Rufferto that Anakrony uses to test his time travel formula and that sets up the story-line as Groo then refuses to let anyone cross the bridge into King Ravenus’ land until he gets his dog back.

I first discovered Groo over twenty years ago and right from the very start I was hooked.  I remember I was so impressed with the first issue I bought that I read it over and over again, and it is perhaps this ability to invoke such a strong cult following that has ensured Groo has survived for so long.  (That and his exceptional swordsmanship in battle.)

The basic formula has changed very little over the years, with the exception that it can perhaps be a little more preachy nowadays.  In fact I read one review where the reader proclaimed that, ‘now that Groo is little more than a vehicle for Mark Evanier's political views, it just isn't funny any more.’ 

Rufferto, Groo's faithful canine companion.
Although it’s definitely true that Groo contains more political points nowadays than it did back in the beginning, there has nevertheless always been an element of having a message behind the story, with even the early issues generally concluding with a moral to the story.

And while it’s true that Mark Evanier (the Groo scribe) does very occasionally forget to include jokes in some of the more preachier sections, the majority of the story is still made up of the same old daftness and silliness which has always been Groo’s trademark.  Overall, nothing major has changed.  The style of Sergio Aragones’ artwork remains just as unique and comedic as ever, and most of the running jokes are still present.

For all the big appeal of Groo is largely the silliness, in this particular instalment my favourite moment was a scene towards the end illustrating the theme of friendship which brought a warm smile to my face.  Again, moments of this nature, while admittedly not as integral as the overall silliness, have always been a part of Groo.

To sum things up, if you buy this graphic novel expecting Shakespeare you’ll be disappointed, but if you want something funny, not too demanding and for the most part light-hearted then Groo And Rufferto is definitely worth checking out. 

You can find out more about Sergio Aragones (the illustrator of Groo) at his official website:
Sergio Aragones' Official Website

You can find the blog of Mark Evanier (the writer of Groo) at the link below:
Mark Evanier's Webpage

Follow Mark Evanier on twitter:

Worthy Of A Bigger Audience is also on twitter:

Please note, all promotional images used on this blog remain the copyright of the respective publishers and are used in accordance with 'Fair Use' legislation for review purposes.

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