The fantasy genre (and many other geeky genres) is full of beloved, unpolished, and hulking warriors. They’ve become a character archetype to themselves, represented by the ‘barbarian’ or ‘warrior’ in tabletop RPG manuals and counting Conan, Khal Drogo, and even He-Man among their ranks. For most fantasy fans, there’s something inherently charming to the big oaf who crushes his opponent with a single blow (and a single utterance of “Me crush”), drops his battle axe at the door of the local tavern, and celebrates his day with an overflowing mug of hearty mead. Creator/writer/colorist Courtland Brugger and penciller/inker Frank Fosco (Image’s TMNT, Savage Dragon) play to these innate strengths of the fantasy genre with their new independent comic book, Gronk, featuring a hulking, unpolished, and, perhaps in time, beloved hero by the same name.
One part 10,000 BC, two parts Conan the Barbarian, and one part Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – this may very well be the official recipe for Gronk. Featuring a lead character who looks like the illegitimate child of a Cro-Magnon who had too many drinks one night at Jabba’s palace, this is a perfect comic for those that enjoy epic adventures in alien worlds, the glory and honor of brutal combat, intriguing and terrifying creatures, and, generally, just smashing and stabbing things. This first issue of Gronk features two connecting stories following our meat-craving hero, and both are enjoyable and action packed! Gronk has charisma as a lead character, never backing down from a fight, never afraid to be the underdog in a skirmish, and refusing to bend knee to anyone. Be it giant demons claiming to be Meat Gods or huge, flesh-eating bugs possessed by the spirits of fallen enemies, Gronk and his trusty spear make short work of any enemy that stands in his way. Brugger’s script is simplistic, a perfect quality to share with the main character, but unique, fun, and quickly defines for the reader what to expect when following Gronk on one of his adventures. Fosco’s art and Brugger’s colors also really raise the quality of Gronk #1. Fosco’s work is expressive and otherworldly, but when combined with Brugger’s vivid colors, Gronk and his savage land come to life. I also want to make special note of letterer Adam O. Pruett, whose skill really adds an additional level of awesomeness to Gronk #1. Lettering is much more of a craft than people realize, but it’s clear to this comic book sniffer that Brugger understands the importance of a good letterer, and his choice of Pruett only proves that understanding. It’s something that might not seem like a big deal to the casual comic reader, but trust me, you’d notice it if it was missing.
Gronk #1 is available for purchase at Indyplanet. You can also find a preview of the comic and more about the creator, Courtland Brugger, on Facebook or his Deviant Art page. Also, be sure to check out artist Frank Fosco’s website at FrankFosco.com.
‘Till next time, keep f#$%ing with the Meat God!
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer