Grimjack was a comic book and character that really appealed to my adolescent need for hardboiled dialogue, dark storylines, and brutal anti-heroes. Published by First Comics, Grimjack was created by writer John Ostrander and artist Tim Truman, two GIANTS of the comic book world if you ask me. It ran from 1984 to 1991, and is now being published again by IDW, which can only be a good thing.
Grimjack is the street name of John Gaunt, a tough private investigator who works in Cynosure, a huge interdimensional city made up of a patchwork of different realities, each with their own physical laws. Gaunt was always getting mixed up in sordid and violent schemes that were often best resolved with the slash of a broadsword. I liked Grimjack because he was hardcore; unfettered by the Comics Code Authority that other so-called bad-asses like The Punisher and Wolverine labored under, Grimjack could really, if I may use the vernacular, fuck shit up. The violence in Grimjack is graphic and brutal, and John Gaunt always had a nasty trick or a grenade or two up his sleeve for the exotic enemies who always underestimated him. Plus, Grimjack is ugly; he's the Lemmy of comic books. You gotta love him.
This is one of the earlier issues of Grimjack, and Truman's art is a little crude at this stage of his career, but then Cynosure and Grimjack aren't supposed to be particularly attractive. In this issue our hero teams up with Blacjac Mac, who is a blacksploitation character cast in the Isaac Hayes mold and staunch ally. Here, the two meet:
The two team up and the mayhem begins. Multiple shootings, a hand gets chopped off, multiple deaths by grenade, stabbings, beatings, people get crushed by heavy machinery, and people generally not treating each other with respect. This is an average issue of Grimjack - just what a growing boy needed. Wolverine just wasn't hard enough for me when I was a kid. My heroes growing up were Snake Plissken from Escape from New York and Mad Max, not these sissies who pull their punches and shoot to wound. Besides, I didn't have all the violent video games that you punks have these days, I had to get my gratuitous violence the old-fashioned way: through comic books and on VHS.
And look: I turned out okay! Sort of...