The Groo Chronicles: Death, Destruction, and Cheese Dip

Groo the Wanderer is an interesting character. Created by cartoonist Sergio Aragones as a parody of Conan-type barbarian heroes, he is a bumbling and impossibly stupid wandering sword-for-hire who's only really good at fighting (and even then he sometimes ends up fighting the wrong people). He is also, according to the intro, one of the first real creator-owned comic book characters out there, which in and of itself is something to recognize.

This collection covers much of Groo's early appearances in comics, establishing some of the running gags that would follow Groo around for the rest of his career (his love of cheese dip, his hatred at being called a "mendicant") as well as introducing some of his supporting cast (treacherous friend Taranto, beautiful warrior Chaakal, and aphorism-spouting wise man The Sage). I found this to be a pretty good intro to the world of Groo, as well as to his creators, Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones, who show up in occasional cameos to explain about their creative process and the like.

The humor of "Groo" is rather broad and mostly revolves around the titular hero being a combination of thicker than a tree stump and overly eager to engage in a fight. It's not exactly the epitome of humor, but somehow the combination of Aragones' cartoony artstyle and Evanier's fairly snappy dialogue makes it all work. Despite their self-deprecatory humor depicting themselves as hacks, these two actually do know what they're doing.

All in all, while not being must-read material, "Groo" is well worth reading if you happen to encounter it. It's just fun, and worth a look to see if you'll like it.

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