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February 23, 2005

Letters to the editor - GrimJack: Killer Instinct #1

Feel free to submit your letters and comments on GrimJack: Killer Instinct #1 here. You may also use this space for commentary on The Legend of GrimJack #1.

Please note that any and all letters posted here may be used for print publication, unless specifically requested not to.

Posted at February 23, 2005 12:00 PM

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Is the Killer instinct storyline going to be collected as a trade in the Legend of GrimJack series, or as a standalone edition?
I hope a second series of GrimJack is planned for later in the year, Iam sure there are things which have a back story or need explaining which we never even realised needed explaining. I hope GJ succeeds in finding a new audience as well as the old faithfuls (remember Uncle Elvis?).

Ian Neve

Posted by: Ian Neve at February 2, 2005 07:09 AM

So far, issue #1 of the Grimjack "prequel" makes me want to buy issue #2.

I lost track of the original series around the time Gaunt's ghost inhabited a clone of himself, and all his friends, esp Roscoe, thought "Cheney" was just a clone of Grimjack.

I'm guessing that this is a direct lead-in to the First Comics series. At the end of Killer Instinct, GJ will be the PI/sword-for-hire that was one of the two First series I really miss (the other being E-Man).

I particularly liked the sequence on page 16, where Gaunt sizes up the situation. Despite his own variation on berserker rage, Gaunt usually won by being savvier than the opposition. But he wasn't a superman either -- on pages 20-21, a logical tactic becomes a nasty mistake.

One thing I minded is that the other grey wolves don't get _any_ stage time. There's just a few paragraphs -- they came, they fought, they died.

The most visually distinct characters -- "Punkin'" and Ilsa Kalter -- got very little stage time. I assume we may see Kalter again since Gaunt would be interested in her role in the set-up.

I'm more confident Blacjacmac will continue to be involved in the story. The "balding" Blacjac was a little strange, but I suppose at some point during this series he'll say 'heck with it' and shave.

So we meet Bob next issue. Do Gordon and Goddess come in following issues?

Posted by: Mitchell Maltenfort at February 2, 2005 10:29 PM

I think it is very important that we old school readers do not make Grimjack feel like a club that is not accessable to new readers. Not anything about us old schoollers, but I feel it needs to be open to
let new blood in. What do other old fans like myself think? I love talking about the old times, but I feel this could potentially cut off new readers.


Posted by: Ian Neve at February 3, 2005 10:11 AM

I agree. I myself have read Grimjack from the olden days, and have the complete collection of Grimjack from Starslayer all the way through to the GN & #81. I am quite familiar with Gaunt's story, from death to clone to Twilley. There is an immense backstory with GJ, and to know it is awesome, and I wold love to be able to explain the depth of the story and complexity of the character.

I was very curious to see how John Ostrander was going to reintroduce GrimJack when I heard the relaunch was brewing. With so much history availablem, I did not know how he was goping to introduce new readers to the fold. Afterall, First Comics was releatively obscure, and the back issues are not accesible anymore. By starting with Gaunt, in a story before issue #1 even began, we are learning more withoiut giving much away. Afterall, it hasnt happened yet.

I am very impressed with Killer Instinct, and cannot wait to see more of the book. Tim Truman's art has improved since he started this (obviously) and I am truly salivating over the possibilty of an ongoing monthly to continue the story.

The question arises though how to do it. Will Ostrander & Truman want to keep the story fresh and secret for the new readers, or will they dive into the post Twilley holocaust? Afterall, in the Spill yer Guts of Issue #81, we were teased with the next generation of Twiley in Hell, and then the hint of twins. The promo-images even showed a GrimJane. (Amazing how I can remember all of this without even opening up the old books, eh?)

Should the older readers keep the history secret so as not to spoil what might come? I almost think we should, at least until the entire run is reprinted in TPB.

Posted by: John Kozlowski at February 3, 2005 03:58 PM

As to the subject of whether we should keep the old continuity a secret is a tricky one. I for one am in two minds. I feel and understand that fans of the old series will naturally want to discuss the old issues we all read as kids, but on the other hand where does that leave the new readers?
I think this is a question that doesn't really have an answer. Something at some time is bound to slip even in conversation if kept "secret", also new fans may find the teaser comments enough candy to want to continue reading further new series and the back story in the Trades.
So, in reality I feel that it won't be kept secret from new fans, but maybe comments should be put as open as possible as to not alienate new readers.

Iam rambling so I'll shut up!


Posted by: Ian Neve at February 4, 2005 02:37 AM

First congratulations for finally bringing back Grimjack. This is truly a great time for you and all the fans. Like anyone else I was pretty excited to read the first issue of the new series. Here is a quick rundown of what I liked and what not:
The Art: Awesome. Tim came up with great character designs. The Dancer looked truly creepy and Blackjackmac with hairs was worth the price of the issue alone. The Harlequin Squad looked great too. I loved the designs of the weapons especially the swords of the Dancer and Roscoe’s speargun. The only thing I missed was the graffiti that was all over cynosure in the old issues but then again we did not see that much of the alleys of the city in this issue.
The coloring: The thing I liked least about the issue. I always loved the very dark film noir atmosphere of the first 20 original issues with lots of shadows. In the new comic the colors seemed very bright to me. It just didn't capture the depressing mood of Cynosure as much as the old issues.
The story: The story really felt like meeting old friends again. All the characters were there exactly the way I remembered them. You did a great job of establishing Grimjack’s character again as a man torn between his noble self and his inner demons. I loved all the little Easter eggs you threw in for the fans like showing Sphinx and Crayne (and I think there even was a tourbot). The whole way the story was told was true Grimjack. Still I felt a little disappointed! The one thing that set Grimjack apart from other comics was the "philosophical issues" that each story had. In the first Grimjack story I read, "a shade of truth", you made me think about loneliness, getting old, loyalty and of course the pursuit of truth. Many issues with similar thought-provoking issues like dealing with the death of loved ones, family and friendship etc. followed and Grimjack was one of the most influential literatures I read in my youth. In the first new story you truly entertained me, but you did not feature any issues that made me think. I realize it is just the first issue and you probably wanted to deliver some action to the fans first but I really hope that Grimjack will be more then just action again soon.
Still I really enjoyed the issue and want to get new Grimjack stories for a long time.

Posted by: Hauke Scheer at February 4, 2005 12:36 PM

What a great first issue.
13 years...man do I feel old?!?
The first issue I had to read twice. Once for the excitement facter of having the creators and characters back, and the second time to actually read and enjoy the story.
John Ostrander stepped right back into the ring and through a knock-out punch,IMO. This was everything I loved about the original series and then some.
Tim Truman...wow. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Truman a few years back when I was working on an Indy title called the Traveller's Pub...a title by Munden's...and told him what a big influence he had been on my own artwork.
He looked me in the eye and said with a straight face, "I'm Sorry."
His artwork has just gotten better!
I am seriously considering dropping all my other books and throwing my funds into the support of Grimjack, Jon Sable, and the rumored Badger book.
This is what I have been missing in my comics...a fun, intelligent, read.

Are there any plans to tell the Jim Twilley Outlaw in Hell story with Flint Henry?

I don't really feel that we should keep the history secret...I'm going to buy an extra copy of Legends and beat everyone over the head with it. Okay maybe I will just give it to someone I think would enjoy the title.


Posted by: Kevin Halter at February 4, 2005 03:52 PM

What I wouldn't give for an edit function...
through should be threw, and facter should be factor...

Posted by: Kevin halter at February 4, 2005 03:54 PM

Hey, gang -- nice of you to drop by and share your thoughts. I can't tell you how happy I am to be doing GrimJack again which is kinda embarrasing since I'm a writer and I SHOULD be able to do that. I have an idea about solving the new/old reader question posed that I'll check with Glenn, our "Mr Wizard" of this webpage. In the meantime, hope you enjoy the site! Don't be shy about giving you reactions to our website as well.

-- John Ostrander

Posted by: John Ostrander at February 5, 2005 04:12 PM


I think I've come up with a solution to the new/old reader question you came up with. I know the concerns old school readers have for not ruining surprises for new readers. I've gone down to Munden's Bar and started TWO different threaads -- one for old school readers and one aimed at new readers. If the new readers go on the old school thread, well they may learn stuff they would prefer not but that's the choice. At least it gives some freedom of discussion. That's assuming I've DONE it correctly!

-- John

Posted by: John Ostrander at February 7, 2005 11:17 AM

It's good to have ol' Grinner back. I've missed Gaunt so much that I've got a D&D character named after him (a dual-classed mage/thief made using the "investigator" kit--probably not tournament-legal). The nice thing about having a character who's so "old" is that you have a lot of back-story that's essentially untold. Even "Killer Instinct" bypasses much of it. I've gotta ask, is "Youngblood" going to be part of the "Legends of GrimJack" trades, or is it going to be collected separately (and soon)?

Posted by: Andrew Laubacher at February 7, 2005 08:57 PM

What a delight it is to have John Gaunt back after 16 years. (I know, the book hasn't been gone for THAT long, but the last Gaunt/Jack story was cover dated January 1989; Twilley/Jack took over in the next issue.)

I've read some concerns about accessibility to new readers, but I don't share them. This book shows us GrimJack's history, while at the same time giving long-time readers a new story. (Not to mention, it gives us the answer to a question some of us didn't know we had about Roscoe...) I think that if Ostrander and Truman can keep up this fine balance, it won't matter what part of GJ's life the stories come from. We can all just sit back and enjoy the ride.

As for ongoing vs. mini-series, I'll be happy with whatever keeps the book coming out. If a series of minis works better for you, then by all means, go for it. I've waited 14 years for new stories; a month or two between series will go by very quickly.

Just before I go, I have a couple of requests:
1. Any chance of some new Munden's Bar stories (perhaps in a stand-alone "Annual")? I used to look forward to them, too.
2. If you're going to do some Twilley/Jack stories, please keep them separate from the others and, by all means, get Flint back on the art.

See you next month,


Posted by: Michael Slark at February 9, 2005 05:06 PM

Oh where to begin... Well, I must say that I have had the chance to devour the first issue of the New Grimjack series and I am really kicking myself for not trying out the old series sooner.

The series felt like it was catering to two audiences and I'm happy to be in either one of them.

I remember when I was a kid of about 12 when I first read John's work in Suicide Squad and Hawkworld and I have followed his work for most of the last 12 years or so and I must admit that i never had an opportunity to check out Grimjack until now and I loved it. The story was funny, violent, action packed, intelligent, and most importantly worth my four dollars.

The one surprise for me was how good Tim Truman's work looks with the colors and the sharp looking paper. The line art pops out and it amazing to look at. I've enjoyed Tim's art since Hawkworld and since then I've been a fan, but here it shows that he's having the time of his life.

All I can say is that this was a pleasant encounter with Mr. Gaunt and I am more than willing to make his visits a monthly occurance.

Posted by: Frank Davis at February 15, 2005 07:47 PM

Gratz John (and Tim)

An older and wiser Grimjack? Not that he wasn't always wise beyond his years But I digress. Gratz on the release of the book (one of my favourites btw)

Honestly didn't know it was coming. I know "my bad" for not visiting your page here more often...

So I was "Jacked" (smirk) when I saw it on my friendly neighbourhood comic store shelf.

After reading it I'm just glad that it is back. The book felt like that "old friend" who (whom?) you haven't seen for a few years but you can just slide back into conversation as if it was yesterday.

I am curious about the colour process, the first 12 pages had a different look from the rest of the book? Was this on purpose?

Ordered the trade (even though I have most back issues).

I hope to pass it on to all those ner do wells who didn't read it in its first "go round".

Looking forward to issue two and beyond...

Quick question, will trade sales help support new stories coming out?

Cheers, Michael W. from da Great White North

Posted by: Michael W at February 17, 2005 09:07 PM

Hey guys,

I started collecting GrimJack waaaay back when it was with First Comics. Of Course, Badger and Nexus looked a lot cleaner and more comfortable, but when I first picked up GrimJack (with number 2), I was hooked. Even with Tim Truman off the artwork, I enjoyed the other artists, like Tom Mandrake and Henry Flint (jeez, that guy could really draw crazy fights!).

Reading the new GrimJack series was like a stroll down memory lane... only with better artwork! Jeez, I really wanted to find some flaws in this thing, but everything just came up incredible. I look forward to see where this storyline goes, and I guess the only thing that would make me angry at this point is if this mini series were to be the end of it all.

Great job, and thank you for bringing back this classic character. Oh, and PLEASE get Flint Henry to do some backup stories or something.


Tom Blakely
Blakely & Sons Comics

Posted by: Tom Blakely at February 18, 2005 05:43 PM

Thank all the gods there are. "Grimjack" is finally back! I have been a comic fan and collector for about 38 years and the original "Grimjack" was the best book I ever read. A very cool main character,great writing,wonderful artwork and the most brilliant concept ever. A city where every reality exists..just great. And the scary part is, the new book is just as good and the artwork is even better! The long wait is finally over, my "Demonstar" pin is proudly pinned to my black leather jacket and I can hardly wait for the next issue. Thanks again guys.

Posted by: Howard at February 21, 2005 05:34 PM

All I can say is today, February 21, is a remarkable day for me! First off, it is my first wedding anniversary, and the traditional anniversary present is paper. Well, I have the best wife in the world, for today, as we were getting ready to leave Chicago, we dropped into a local comic book store by chance (something I haven't done in over 10 years), and what do I see! GrimJack is back! To top it off, my wife did the traditional paper thing for our first year anniversary in the form of GrimJack Killer Instinct (standard cover and variant cover) along with The Legend of GrimJack Vol. One! You guys, along with my wife, are the greatest!



Posted by: Buzz Clore at February 21, 2005 08:54 PM

I have every Grimjack issue including the Starslayer backups and of course the GN and Munden's Annual.

I had been recently reintroduced to comics in college. I saw Grimjack 5 on the shelf and thought "Hey this looks cool". The next day I had every issue to date!

My best piece is a Tom mandrake portrait of Grimjack that I had him draw for me at a Con the same month that the first mandrake issue came out.

He asked me what I wanted.

I said "Just make it GRIMJACK".

The artist next to him said it was teh best work he had done all day.

I agree.

I turned many people onto ol' Grinner.

But when the series ended, well - I found my interest in comics in general waned.

Over the years, I missed only one series, one character - Grimjack.

Then - on a whim - I checked to see if grimjack had been released from legal limbo and behold!!!

I am ecstatic to be reading Grimjack once again.

To have it created by the Original Team is nothing short of giddy delight.

Thank you John and Tim and Mike for not giving up and making this old fan's dream come true.

BTW - I actually GIGGLED with delight as soon as I read Roscoe's "Jawn"!!! the memories of devouring the latest Grimjack in my old dorm room came flooding back.

Posted by: themadhobbit at February 22, 2005 11:25 AM

Gawd, I love you guys.

In a butch, manly way, of course.

Shall I tell you a secret? Issue 1 of KI is first gear. We're revving this sucker UP!

-- John

Posted by: John Ostrander at February 22, 2005 03:56 PM


Thanks! I was caught by surprise when I heard Grinner was back. Hope he sticks around for a long time.

Loved Killer Instinct #1, Mr. Truman's artwork was spectacular and Mr. Ostrander's work was very reminiscent of the past.

Keep up the good work!

I just have a few comments:
1. When did Gaunt get Spock ears? That was a little unnerving... Almost looks like an elf. Was that intended?

2. On page 14, panels 4 & 5, was kinda clichéd. New readers won't notice, but it took me out of the story for a second. Remembered it from Youngblood. Although you could argue that people often repeat phrases they like. Just wanted to make you aware of the effect it had on me.

But I'm knitpicking... I loved it. Once again, thanks. Count on me to buy and read every single one you guys put out.

Posted by: Jose Borges at February 23, 2005 09:11 AM

Thank all the gods there are. "Grimjack" is finally back! I have been a comic fan and collector for about 38 years and the original "Grimjack" was the best book I ever read. A very cool main character,great writing,wonderful artwork and the most brilliant concept ever. A city where every reality exists..just great. And the scary part is, the new book is just as good and the artwork is even better! The long wait is finally over, my "Demonstar" pin is proudly pinned to my black leather jacket and I can hardly wait for the next issue. Thanks again guys.

Okay...#1 I wrote the above note..not Tom Blakely, he probably wrote the one I got credit for.

#2 Grimjack:Killer Instinct#2 is just as great as issue #1

Posted by: Howard at March 7, 2005 08:54 PM

The internet is a worse place then cynosure-- how just to navigate these 'sites just to LEAVE A WORD FOR Truman and Ostrander?
YOU TWO: Back then I had them all, the Starslayers, the original posters, and every issue thru the original end... these days I wonder if it'd be even worth it to educate the local comic shops on how good they were then and STILL ARE.
But mostly I wanted to share the geekiness of letting you folks know that I am one of only two verified Americans with the Demonstar tattooed on us.
Had it since 1988- and in honor of you folks propelling me to spend 4 bucks a month for more grimjacks.. it's getting a touch up this year.
Cheers mates.. you've done very good... again.

Posted by: thayer at March 31, 2005 07:45 PM

Thayer: we want photos. Send them to tattoos@grimjack.com and we'll post them.

Posted by: Glenn Hauman at April 1, 2005 12:30 AM