First off: I hate this WordPress theme, and I’m looking to change it as soon as possible. I just need to find a theme that doesn’t screw up my photos. This was what I could find on short notice. Change to come soon.
When I was a lad, I collected mostly Marvel comics, with the exception of a couple of black and white titles my friend introduced me to in high school. The only one of note was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Unlike most comics, TMNT didn’t come out monthly; it came out whenever the creators made a new issue. As a result, we were always hoping for more turtles, and were often disappointed. So, when my Friendly Comic Shop Owner slid a copy of Grimjack #26 in my reserve box, I wondered why… until I discovered the back-up feature, Munden’s Bar, had a story featuring the turtles…and it was in COLOR.
I bought it, of course. The turtles story was fine. The main story was much better. Thus I was introduced to one of my favorite comic books and comic characters of all time: Grimjack.
From Wikipedia: Grimjack is the street name of John Gaunt, a sword-for-hire, ex-paramilitary, war veteran and former child gladiator. He operates from Munden’s Bar in the Pit, a slum area of Cynosure, a pan-dimensional city to which all dimensions connect. All this is true. but it’s pretty bare-bones as far as the character’s full biography goes. He’s a war veteran, sure…but he’s a veteran of the Demon Wars, which has given him some sensitivity to magic; which is also a thing, depending on where you are in the pan-dimensional city of Cynosure. Although this hardly needs be said, he’s also a fucking badass.
There were three main incarnations of the character throughout the comic’s 81-issue run, the entirety of which was written by John Ostrander. A small British miniatures company, Wayne’s World of Wonder (available through Matchlock Miniatures), makes a version of all three. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of a friend, specifically the lovely and talented Carrion Crow, I now own these miniatures. A real bon homme, that Crow…when I opened the unexpected parcel last holiday season, I almost squealed with girlish glee. (OK, I did squeal.) As some of you may know, I have been in a bit of a painting slump lately…so these figures were just what I needed to get my groove back.
First up, the “original” Grimjack; as immortalized by the great Tim Truman’s artwork. This is the version we see at the beginning of the series: Gaunt as a man slightly past it, pushing fifty and hardened by a life of violence and loss. Hands-down my favorite version of the character, this is also the version they brought back when they finally began publishing Grimjack comics again, some fifteen-plus years after the comic ceased production upon the demise of First Comics. (I converted my own versions of two other First Comics characters, Nexus and Badger, for Forgotten Heroes back in June. Forgotten Heroes: a Carrion Crow joint.)
After a while, Grimjack comes to inhabit a much younger, cloned body of himself, and goes by the name “Chaney”. It doesn’t really fool anyone for long, kinda like when Wolverine started calling himself Patch but still popped his claws every issue. Tom Mandrake took over the bulk of the pencils for this incarnation, and it is the version of Grimjack I like the least. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s more that what came before and what comes after is so much better…
Then, in Grimjack #55, the timeline jumps a couple of hundred years. Grimjack is reborn (in fact, he’s doomed to be reborn forever) in the body of James Twilley. Twilley didn’t know he was Grimjack until he was in high school and killed someone; then it all came rushing back. Some of the best Grimjack stories were written during this run, which lasted until the series’s end; and Flint Henry’s artwork is so, so good….
Of course, while painting these miniatures I had to dig out my comics for visual reference. This prompted a re-read of the series, currently ongoing. I’m on issue 31, and aside from some unfortunate, racially-insensitive language (you could get away with that stuff back then, although it adds nothing to the story) and the horrid (yet blissfully temporary) art of Tom Sutton, it holds up pretty well. I remember why it’s so great and I’m looking forward to what I know is coming.
This post also marks the return of my long-neglected Insanity Pile tracker. Sadly, This year I haven’t painted as many miniatures as usual, but neither have I been purchasing many. Once again, I do not count miniatures I repaint (like Heroclix), or Gaslands cars that I convert.
Insanity Pile Progress
Miniatures Purchased: 30
Miniatures Painted: 46
Good to see you out of your slump, matey, and making a comeback with three excellent paintjobs! You’ve done a great job of reproducing the colours from the comics. All those minis are great, but i like the third one the best; his face in particular is really well executed.
Given my knowledge of comic books is as extensive as my knowledge of nuclear physics, I shocked myself when I realised I’ve heard of Grimjack… trouble is, I can’t remember where or how I heard about him.
You are right about the WordPress theme. I’m having a hell of a job finding one I like for my new blog. I used WordPress from 2008-14 and it’s really changed since then. It seems to be all about online stores these days, not so much the blogging (end old man rant).
Thank, Matt. Normally when I have a group of miniatures that will be painted in similar colors, I paint them as a group. I painted each one of these individually. Took more time, but I’m pretty happy with the results.
Grimjack has had a tumultuous legal and copyright history, but that seems to be resolved, and there has been talk of a TV series and/or a movie for a few years now. Maybe that’s where you heard the name?
Wordpress just up and started pissing me off with my last post…couldn’t get the pictures to look right without changing the theme. I’m not wild about red in general, so I’m shopping around to find a free theme that will do what I want. Hopefully this is only temporary.
Wonderful painting Keith, of a great gift, never read Grimjack, but your enthusiasm for it sounds like I should have.
Good that you feel you’ve got to the end of your slump, and motivation is returning
Thanks, Dave. Slump seems to be gone for now; keeping my fingers crossed. I really have too much stuff to paint to deal with that crap! It really was just the project I needed to get back into things, and it prompted the re-read I’m enjoying so much, so win-win!
Nice work on all three incarnation there Keith, Grimjack isn’t a character I’ve ever heard of (I think), but my comic buying has taken a bit of a back seat at the moment (well actually everything but bloody work has to be honest!
Good to see you back posting again though.
(p.s. my blog “theme” is really old it’s called “twenty ten” and I don’t think you can get it anymore, when I set up the brother in-laws blog I didn’t like any of the ones that were available (free). You aren’t the only person having sh*t with wordpress, a few bloggers are moaning about it!
Thanks, Roger. It’s nice to be back. This is the twenty-twelve theme. It doesn’t exactly scream “gaming blog” to me, but at least the pictures look as they should. It will work for now.
First Comics put out some really good books in their time…stuff that went beyond what was being published elsewhere. Sadly, they went out of business. Most of the properties found homes elsewhere, but Grimjack languished for a long time, unable to legally be published until the ownership and legal shit was sorted. You can get a full run in TPB format if so inclined. I am very much enjoying my re-read.