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Vivat Gredel! Matt Wagner on the 25th Anniversary Plans

Diana Schutz and Matt Wagner image
This afternoon at Comic-Con, Matt Wagner and longtime editor Diana Schutz led a lively discussion centering on the past, present and future of Grendel in which they revealed so much information that I’m not going to belabor you with any further introduction.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Grendel’s first appearance, Schutz had suggested to Wagner the he needed to not only write but also draw a new Grendel tale (to which he agreed), that it needed to be a Hunter Rose story (to which he also agreed) and that it needed to be of major importance to the character (at which point, having fallen into the trap his editor had laid for the artist, he replied, “oh, shit.”).

Grendel: Behold the Devil coverThat new Hunter Rose tale, which does indeed sound like one of major proportions has been titled Behold the Devil, and hits stands in November. Wagner revealed that Behold the Devil involves “a section of Hunter’s private journals that were missing, that were deliberately ripped out,” that this section represents a two-week period and “has something to do with Hunter’s perception of himself.” Schutz added, “and it’s really gruesome.”

Behold the Devil will be presented “in black, white and red, which everything [starring] Hunter Rose will be from now on,” Wagner said, referring to that color palette as being “Hunter’s milieu” now. Oh, and in addition to hearing about it, lucky fans in San Diego will get a first peek at Behold the Devil as an issue #0 was to be premiering at the Dark Horse booth immediately following the panel discussion.

The Art of Matt Wagner's Grendel coverIn addition to Behold the Devil this winter, Dark Horse will also be publishing The Art of Matt Wagner’s Grendel in September, a massive tome celebrating all of the artists who’ve worked on the character over the years. The plan had been to have a limited number of copies available for San Diego, but they weren’t ready in time, so Comic-Con’s loss will be Wizard World’s gain as Schutz promised that there will be a hundred advance copies available in Chicago.

At the end of the year, the complete Batman/Grendel will be collected for the first time. All four issues will be included (the two Comico issues and the two Dark Horse issues) with loads of bonus materials including copious production sketches. Schutz confirmed that there will be both a trade paperback and a limited hardcover edition of the book.

Looking towards next year, Wagner answered a question from the audience regarding the future of Grendel Prime by revealing that “in 2008, I’m going to be writing a Grendel Prime series.” Schutz informed him that she has found an artist for the series (which was news to Wagner), but wouldn’t reveal yet who the artist will be.

In other Grendel news, Wagner revealed that Matt Brady of Newsarama has been conducting the “definitive Grendel interview” with him, that it is an “enormous monster of an interview” and which will begin serializing (daily) in Newsarama this coming Monday. Wagner said that they were “up to fifty or sixty manuscript pages so far” and that the complete interview will ultimately be collected in book form following its Newsarama serialization.

In response to a question about the status of the Grendel movie, Wagner explained that it’s optioned at Warner Bros., and that though the plan was originally for the movie to feature Christine Spar, the wheel has turned and Hunter Rose is now being developed for the big screen.

Needless to say, it sounds like Grendel fans are in for a wild ride well into next year. Vivat Grendel!

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