New Reviews of Old Comics
The official title is Sergio Aragones Groo the Wanderer, but I’m shortening it up for the purpose of this review. Growing up I was a huge fan of Mad magazine. This first issue I remember reading had the iconic Alfred E Newman face blended into Yoda’s on the cover, which was the lead for their Empire Strikes Back satire. I laughed hysterically and was hooked on Mad for many years. As any Mad reader knows Sergio Aragones was responsible for tiny drawings in the margins throughout each issue. He might still be doing them, but I haven’t read Mad in years, so I wouldn’t know. I bought the first issue of Groo off a spinner rack at the Ames department store in North Haverhill, NH when it was first published and thought it was hilarious. Eventually I traded my Groo collection for other issues and in recent years I’ve wondered if they were as funny as I remembered.
“The Village of Miggledy” like all Groo stories was a collaboration between Aragones and Mark Evanier. As Groo approaches a village with his dog, Rufferto, he realizes he is lacking money and tries to teach the dog to find pelts that can be sold. During this training Groo (literally) runs into a villager. Upon learning Groo is nearby the town basically goes crazy and sabotages themselves in preparation of Groo’s imminent arrival. Apparently he has a well known reputation of causing chaos wherever he goes and no one is ready to handle the impending disaster. That’s pretty much the plot. The jokes are like a series of dominoes falling, with one thing leading to another. Short on plot, but with plenty of gags.
Groo wasn’t nearly as funny as I remember it being 20 some years ago. Is that because I’m not a teen-ager anymore and my tastes have changed, or is it because Groo just isn’t all that funny? I tend to think the former in this case, or maybe I’ve just seen this before. Bottom line, I don’t despise Groo, but I’ve definitely sated my curiosity about Groo, and wondering if it was funny.