Groo Trading Cards
Cards 1-27 have a gold/yellow back which have repeat characters around the border (including Sergio, Stan, and Mark ... no Tom)
This is Groo. But you already knew that, didn't you? After all, you decided to sink good money into this card set, so you must know who Groo is. Perhaps you've even purchased an issue of Groo. (We were going to do a collection of trading cards of Groo readers but there weren't enough for a set.)
This is not Groo. This is Rufferto, Groo's loyal dog. He follows Groo everywhere... which means that he is constantly being chased, frequently being threatened and invariably caught in the midst of huge battles. This is an awful life for a dog. It isn't all that great a life for a person, either.
- The Sage
And this is the Sage, probably the smartest person in this comic ... which, admittedly, is no great honor. That's like being the most dignified of the Three Stooges. Anyway, you can tell Sage is smart because, unlike Rufferto, he doesn't follow Groo. In fact, he does his best to avoid him!
- The Minstrel
In the first Epic/Marvel issue of Groo the Wanderer, we met the Minstrel - a strolling bard who roams the land and sings the praises of anyone who'll give him a kopin. His dialogue is always written in rhyme ... for no other reason than to make Evanier consider alternate careers.
The love of Groo's life (cheese dip excepted) first appeared in the seventh issue of Groo from Pacific. She was strong, she was brave, she was famous ... and, of course, she was way too smart to get involved with the likes of Groo. Groo still lusts after her ... a mistake not uncommon in the male population.
Taranto has been Groo's "friend" since they were together in the Army of Sakisama. He first appeared in funnybooks in Groo # 1 from Pacific and has shown up repeatedly since then, each time trying a different way to kill his supposed buddy. Fifteen more times and Groo might get suspicious.
- Granny Groo
Groo was raised - to the extent he was raised at all - by dear, sweet, scheming Granny Groo. We first saw her in issue # 41 from Epic, much of which she spent paddling the rear end of the youthful Groo. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.
It's a toss-up which is bigger: Arcadio's chin or his ego. Arcadio is proof positive that good public relations can substitute for actually doing good things. Arcadio first turned up in issue # 10 (Epic) and, the last time we saw him, he'd been turned into a frog. It was a slight improvement.
Groo's sister made her debut in # 18 from Epic. It was revealed that she was the Queen of Perudia, having married the King of same. The King is no longer with us - probably dropped dead when he learned who his brother-in-law was - but Grooella turns up every now and then.
- Pal & Drumm
Every time Pal n' Drumm show up, (which they've done often since Groo # 23, Epic) Pal has a sinister scheme to amass wealth without the inconvenience of work or honesty. And every time, it goes wrong. Meanwhile, Drumm seems determined to out-stupid Groo ... a foolish task, indeed. ("What pirates?")
- Captain Ahax
Here's how it works: Ahax assumes command of new ship ... Groo gets aboard new ship ... new ship sinks. It started when Ahax did in Groo # 5 (Pacific). More than a dozen years later, Captain Ahax has lost a great many ships ... and almost as many of his marbles. Poor guy.
- Weaver & Scribe
They first appeared in Groo # 70 (Epic). Weaver is the greatest writer of his day ... a chronicler of world history, not always accurate. Scribe dutifully takes dictation and says nothing. Any resemblance between Mark Evanier (Weaver) and Stan Sakai (Scribe) is purely coincidental. Sure it is.
- The Witch of Kaan
Back when Groo was published by Pacific Comics (back when there were Pacific Comics), he battled the witch with the glass eye. She turned up in # 4 and a few times after. Some readers thought we'd retired the lady after Arba and Dakarba were introduced, but the plain truth is that we just forgot about her.
- Arba & Dakarba
The two wickedest of witches first showed their faces in issue # 26. Arba is the tall, good-looking one ... Dakarba is the one who looks like Danny DeVito. And, yes, we know we've gotten the names reversed a few times ... so sue us.
Gravito is a sinister sorcerer who showed up in the sixth Pacific issue and a few times after.
We had one reader who wrote in to proudly announce that he had figured out the derivation
of the name: It was "Ovitarg" spelled backwards. Boy, try and keep a secret from you people...
- Thaiis & The Peludos
The lovely Princess Thaiis debuted in issue # 80. "Thaiis" is spelled like that - as everyone but the guy (not Stan) who lettered the cover of that issue realized. Anyway, she was abandoned in the forest where she was raised by the Peludos and I'll explain more when we get to the next card ...
This is the next card. Thaiis grew into a young woman (who looked like Sergio's daughter) and skilled warrior. She put her skills to work, reclaiming her kingdom and overthrowing the evil Lady Tropa (who looked like Sergio in drag) who had seized the throne. Everyone lived relatively happily ever after.
- Groo & Grooella
In answer to not one single request to date, we occasionally present tales of Groo's younger days. Here we see three characters in their natural states: Grooella as victim of Groo ... Granny Groo as punisher of Groo ... and Groo as he is about to get his bottom whacked. Deservedly so.
- Sergio Aragonés
Sergio Aragonés created Groo and draws him. Many people believe that Sergio is the fastest cartoonist alive (and, of course, by "many", we mean only Evanier) and that he started this comic because they'd only let him draw in the margins of Mad Magazine. Which is as good a reason as any, we suppose.
- Mark Evanier
No one knows what he does on the comic and it's no secret that he hasn't been paid since the Carter Administration. But Mark Evanier has done whatever he does on Groo since the second published Groo tale, way back when. He has recently finished writing the copy for the back of (so far) 20 Groo trading cards.
- Luth & Sakai
Tom Luth has been coloring Groo since ... well, since our first colorist, Gordon Kent, escaped from the hardest job in all of comics. Stan Sakai does the lettering (and has, as long as we've had lettering). Nowadays, he does it between the pages of his own successful funnybook, Usagi Yojimbo.
- "A Fray!"
This is a picture that Sergio drew as a card for no visible reason.
- Title Maidens
Every issue of Groo has credits so you'll know who to blame. Often, these credits are adorned by drawings of comely ladies who otherwise never appear in the tale. Some call them design elements. Others call them an excuse for Sergio to hire models. You make the call.
- The Trap
This is Groo setting a trap, it must be agonizing and upsetting to be snared by something so simple. Almost like getting hooked on collecting Groo trading cards.
- The Thought
In order to make these cards really rare, we thought we'd include some things that are almost impossible to find. Here then is a shot of Groo thinking. (We were going to include a shot of Mark being paid but we couldn't find one...)
- "It's Groo!"
See explanation of card # 22.
- Cheese Dip
Okay, let's get this straight. It's just a joke. Sergio doesn't like the stuff, Mark doesn't like the
stuff, Tom and Stan doesn't like the stuff. As far as we know, no one likes the stuff. We just
stuck it in as a gag. So stop sending us cheese dip. (Yeah, we know. You don't like the stuff either...)
Cards 28-54 have a diamond pattern on the back which each have an individual character's picture, most look like someone who is on one of these cards (not all recurring characters)
- First Show!
The first Groo tale appeared, without words or Evanier, in Destroyer Duck # 1 from Eclipse. This was a benefit comic to raise money for someone who was suing Marvel Comics. Later, Marvel Comics voluntarily published Groo for ten years. Guess which one did them more damage.
- The Crackora
The second Groo tale appeared in the back of Mike Grell's Starlslayer # 5 from Pacific. In the story, Groo slew the little Crackora, then ran into the big Crackora and ... well, it was pretty funny. We should have quit while we were ahead.
- Emperor Sakisama
At one point in his wandering, Groo found himself in the army of General Sakisama (and in a one-shot Groo Special from Eclipse). By an incredible coincidence that we fabricated, they looked alike and changed places and ... well, it must have been good. Just try and find a copy.
- The Kallelis
This one's from a short story that ran in Marvel's Epic Illustrated - another going concern in the publishing world that didn't long survive the appearance of Groo. The story appeared in # 27 (December, '84) and we reprinted it in The Groo Chronicles where, like everything else in there, it didn't get any funnier.
- The Troplotz
In the spurious Groo Special # 2, Groo actually met up with a creature dumber than he is. (This issue also featured the results of our contest to win breakfast-in-bed served by Sergio. Congratulations, Phil and Janet Schneider of St. Louis, Missouri. Hope he didn't burn the waffles.)
This lovely fellow hails from the fourth issue of Groo back at Pacific. Groo was published for eight issues by Pacific ... then briefly by Eclipse ... then for ten years at Marvel/Epic ... then over to Image. Don't worry if you can't keep track of it all. Even Gatha can't ... and he has two heads!
- "Did I Err?" #1
Our ten year run in Marvel's Epic line commenced with a story called "The Song of Groo", including this spiffy scene of Groo leading a herd of beasts off a cliff ... a fine metaphor for many aspects of the comic book business.
- The Mocosa
In the second Marvel Epic issue, Groo went to seek out The Mocosa - a legendary creature who turned out to be a guy who looked an awful lot like Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee. Wouldn't life be simpler if everyone styled their name into their hair like that?
- "Did I Err?" #2
Our fourth issue: Groo gets no smarter as he rides a blimp to a nation run totally by woman.
(I wanted to put the nation inside the blimp and call the story, "One Nation In Dirigible." But try explaning that to a guy who learned English as a second language.)
- The Kings
When you collect cards # 37-45 and slip them into those little plastic pages that each hold nine cards, they will form a group shot that Sergio has drawn of some of the many kings that appear in the pages of Groo. I'll continue this discussion on the back of the next card...
- The Kings
Where was I? Oh yeah: So you assemble the nine cards and you have a magnificent drawing of some kings. Well, actually you have a magnificent drawing of some kings that's been cut up into ninths so we could put one piece on each card. More on this on the rear of the next card ...
- The Kings
Yeah, this comic has had a lot of kings in it. It seems like every issue there's a new king, and they all wind up being deposed or overthrown or slain ... and I think a couple even got eaten by dragons. Don't worry if you can't identify them all. We can't either ... as I'll doubtlessly prove on the card after next ...
- The Kings
As I was saying, this is a shot of a mess of kings. This comic is full of kings and nobody can keep track of them all. In fact, one of the reasons we keep adding new ones is that we can't
remember the names of the old ones. But I'll take a stab at it on the next card...
- The Kings
Okay, let's give this a try: In the drawing. Sergio may have drawn King Ajedrez, King Aram-Bulam, King Caballo, King Cetro, King Enano, King Fazel, King Feroz, King Fuchikaka, King Kalcone, King Kanda, King Kassabist, King Kohon, King Lakakalo ... (more of these names on the next card)
- The Kings
More names of kings: King Londo, King Maldad, King Menso, King Ojete, King Pecanins, King Placido, King Rana, King Saco, King Sapo, King Senil, King Tabor, King Vaca and King Witt. How he missed King Kong, King of Spades, King Moody and King Of The Road, I'll never know...
- The Kings
Okay, have I written the backs of all the King cards yet? What? Two more after this one? Oh, great. Well, I suppose it doesn't matter. I mean, it's not like anyone's going to read these things, anyway. I can put anything down and it doesn't matter. Here ... watch, I'll do the back of the next one in Pig Latin ...
- The Kings - [Translation]
Oday otnay otherbay ookinglay orfay hetay issueyay ofyay Roogay escribedday onyay ardcay umbernay hirtytay-wotay. Ityay oesday otnay existyay. Eway ustjay ademay ityay upyay otay riveday hetay ollectorscay howay on'tway otherbay otay ranslatetay histay ardcay razycay.
- The Kings
See? The whole back of the last card was written in Pig Latin and nobody noticed. Anyway, this is the last of the silly King cards, I'm going to go get a ham sandwich and then I'll write the rest of these stupid things.
- Ojete's Love
In # 6 from Epic, Groo wound up dressed as a harem girl in the service of King Ojete. (He's the one with the lovesick expression and the obvious vision problems.) I thought the Comics Code was supposed to protect young impressionable readers from stuff like this. And pass the mustard.
- The Kantors
Sergio and I used to plan out issues over corned beef sandwiches at Canter's Delicatessen. (By the way: This is Mark writing the backs of these cards, in case you haven't figured that out by now.) Anyway, for # 8 at Epic we had these gorilla people and we needed a name and the menus were right there ...
Turulato (a name derived from no restaurant where I ever ate) appeared in # 10 - the same issue that introduced Arcadio. Sergio had to make Turulato short because Arcadio's chin took up so much space on the pages. So here's another vile character that we probably should have brought back but didn't.
- The Gorditos...
In # 11, Groo got involved with a bunch of little guys called the Gorditos who terrorized villages by using - (next card, please...)
- & The Gordosa...
A disgusting, dangerous creature who spread terror wherever he went until he met - (one more card, please...)
- Encounter Groo!
An even more disgusting, more dangerous creature who spread even more terror everywhere he went.
- Arcadio's Family
Issue # 11 ended with Arcadio and his family gathering for a glorious wedding in which he wed a woman almost as beautiful as himself. They really weren't all as hideous as they appear on this card. There was a curse which Arcadio undid and then Groo put it back and Arcadio undid it again and ... well, it was strange.
- King Sage
In our thirteenth Epic issue, the Sage told the tale of how he briefly became a King. By the way, his dog isn't in this picture but his dog's name is Mulch. "Mulching" was a running joke briefly in the comic and, when we had to give a name to Sage's pooch, we called him Mulch. We thought it was funny.
- The Monk
Groo joined an army with a strict rule: Once you take a human life, you must either choose death or the monastery. All the other soldiers chose death; Groo decided (wrongly, as always) that this monastery couldn't possibly be as bad. So he went there and ... well, let's just say that the monks were never the same.
Cards 55-81 have a plain yellow boxed background on the back on the bottom of which is Sergio in shorts and tennis shoes finishing up the line around the box with his large fountain pen ... Rufferto watches.
For a silly reason that I still don't understand, writer Len Wein and I decided to see how many fish we could encourage our fellow comic creators to feature in their books one month. It was the month Groo # 17 came out and Sergio easily topped all others in the fish competition. Not that anyone else tried.
- "Did I Err?" #3
Issue # 18: Young Grooella flies a kite. This is unusual since usually it's her brother that people tell to fly a kite.
- The Present
Also issue # 18. Grooella receives a present from the same brother ... with, most likely, a similar outcome.
- "You @*%!!"
Still from # 18. All grown-up but still getting her revenge.
- Grooella's Guards
This is a shot of Grooella's guards, also from #18. I have no idea why Sergio included this
but it's kind of a nice drawing and the guy at the right looks like my first agent.
- The Boatman of Brujas
It was in issue # 21 that Groo journeyed to the scary land of Brujas ... a domain of witches and demons and sorcerers. In order to get away, he had to ride the ship of the Boatman of Brujas. And we all know what happens when Groo gets on a boat ...
- The Worst Nightmare
But the scariest thing they ever saw in Brujas (still issue # 21) came when a magical spell replicated Groo, ad nauseum. And, of course, someone said one of those lines that ended, "... as any fool can plainly see" and a whole chorus of Groos answered back in unison, "We can plainly see that!"
- Ambassador Gru
Issue # 22 featured this poor man ... condemned to travel through life with the name of Gru. He is an ambassador, sent on a journey of peace. Once there, he hears people talk about "killing Groo" and ... well, this kind of misunderstanding is the king of thing that makes wars. And situation comedies.
- "Fly, Chicken!"
In # 26, a witches' spell shrunk Groo down to tiny size and he was sent on a mission. He needed a steed so he lassoed a bird and climbed aboard, intending to ride it ... and then it turned out to be a chicken. I thought this was really funny but I was apparently alone in this. (See, chickens don't fly ... get it?)
- King Enano's Men
The Enanos were these little people - this is still # 26 - and Groo had to put together two pieces of a jigsaw-style amulet. When he did, something went awry and he was instantly returned to normal size. (Some later speculated that his brain was not included ... but it'd been that size before he was shrunk.)
- The Great Wizard
This is the Great Wizard from # 26. He had part of the amulet (see last card and next) and Groo had to invade his sanctum and make of with it ... which he did. He also made off with a piece of the Great Wizard's nose.
- The Wizard's Guards
These are the guards who were guarding the Great Wizard in that same issue. Despite their nifty uniforms, Groo managed to get in, steal the amulet, cut off the tip of the Great Wizard's nose and flee. A lot of good these guards were. But don't they have nifty uniforms?
Everybody tells Sergio how much they like his "Spy vs. Spy" in Mad (actually created by Antonio Prohias) so we did our own spy story in # 27. It started with this scene where the Sage and the Minstrel were arrested as spies and they had to talk (and sing) their way out of it. They did.
- The Royal Chef
Groo # 28 was all about a Royal Chef and "The Gourmet Kings" (that was the title of the story). The moral of this one was: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach - a route which takes you nowhere near his brain."
- Best of Friends
Issue # 29: Groo met a spotted dog named Rufferto. We weren't sure if the mutt was going to be around for a few issues or forever ... but once he fell in step with Groo, we knew readers would boil us in 30-weight oil if we got rid of the pooch. Like most great pets, he moved in one day ... and never left.
- The Arms Deal
"The Arms Deal" was the story in # 31. And I wanted to partially answer the question of what I (Mark) do on this comic. Once we added Rufferto, one of my main jobs became to draw the spot under the dog's eye in the one or two panels per issue where Sergio would forget. It's the one thing I draw better than him.
In issue # 34, Groo was turned into a fish. He was a big fish. He was a big, stupid fish. He was a big, stupid fish who had to find the amulet (see back a few cards) and deliver it to the Great Wizard .. who still lacked the tip of his nose. Since he got involved with Groo again, that's obviously not all he lacked.
- True Love
For the first several issues in which Rufferto appeared, Groo was deciding whether the canine was more valuable as a companion or as a meal. Finally, in issue # 38, Groo thought he'd eaten the pooch and, in # 39, discovered (happily) that he had not. Thereafter, he never thought of dining on his friend again.
- What Groo Does Best!
What Groo does best is to swing his swords in a fray. That's really all there is to say on this topic but there are nine cards in this grouping and I have to write something on the back of each one ... so I just thought I'd write out some of my favorite jokes ...
- What Groo Does Best!
A guy comes home from golf and his wife asks how it went. "Terrible," he says. "On the third hole, my partner George dropped dead." His wife says, "Oh, that must have really ruined your day." The guy responds, "I'll say. All afternoon, it was 'hit the ball, drag George, hit the ball, drag George ...'"
- What Groo Does Best!
Okay, so this duck walks into a bookstore, goes up to the counter and says, "Do you guys have any grapes?" The guy at the counter says, "This is a bookstore, duck! We don't have grapes." The duck says, "Oh, I see," and walks out. The next day, the duck walks in again ...
- What Groo Does Best!
"Excuse me," the duck says. "Do you have any grapes?" The man behind the counter says, "I told you yesterday, duck. This is a bookstore! We don't have any grapes!" The duck says, "Oh, I see," and walks out. The next day, the duck walks into the bookstore again ...
- What Groo Does Best!
"Excuse me, do you have any grapes?" the duck asks. The man blows his top. He screams, "Listen, duck - I'm sick of you coming in here every day, asking about grapes! I've told you already - this is a bookstore! The next time you walk in here and ask about grapes, I'm gonna nail your feet to the floor!"
- What Groo Does Best!
The duck says, "Oh, I see," and walks out. The next day, the duck walks into the bookstore again and says, "Excuse me, sir - do you have any nails?" The guy starts to yell and then stops. "Uh, no," he says, "we don't have any nails here." The duck says, "In that case, do you have any grapes?"
- What Groo Does Best!
A guy walks into a doctor's office and the doctor tells him he's overweight. The guy says, "If you don't mind, I'd like to get a second opinion." The doctor says, "Fine ... you're ugly, too." (No, but seriously ... Hey, I know you're out there, folks, I can hear you collecting ...)
- What Groo Does Best!
By the way ... in case I forgot to mention it on another card: "Mulching is a process of inbred fertilization which employs certain decomposed organic materials - including but not limited to animal sediment - to blanket an area in which vegetation is desired." (Continued on next card ...)
- What Groo Does Best!
Inevitable definition of "mulching" (continued): "The procedure enriches the soil for stimulated plant development while, at the same time, preventing erosion and decreasing the evaporation of moisture from the ground." This was a running joke for a time in the comic. I still don't know why.
Cards 82-108 have various facial expressions of Groo on the back (none expressing intelligence).
Groo almost got married in # 42 to the person (if, indeed, that is what she is you see on the other side of this card. It was all part of a scheme that Granny Groo had to collect a substantial dowry. It didn't work. But it does raise the question: If it had, which one of them would have been the worse off?
- The Wheel Keeper
I didn't remember this guy at all. In # 45, Groo went to work on a big person-powered wheel that ground up grain at a mill. This guy was in charge. He hired Groo and then announced, "Our next lunch break will coincide with the autumnal equinox."
This one's from the same issue as the Wheel Keeper. The lady tried to make Rufferto into some creature's dinner but he got away. It's amazing how many attempts there have been in this comic to eat Rufferto ... especially considering that he doesn't look particularly yummy.
- Rufferto's Reverie #1
The non-yummy Rufferto has been known to have fantasies. Here we see him in a scene from Groo # 44 in which he is imagining himself as a great warrior and romantic figure. We've all done this at one time or another ... except that most of us don't imagine kissing dogs.
- Rufferto's Reverie #2
And here we flashback to a fantasy from Groo # 45 ... a more painful one in which Rufferto, confronted by dog-traders, imagines being sold to a faire and forced to perform. Or maybe this was a nightmare about the Walt Disney Company acquiring Image Comics. Whatever ...
- Rufferto's Reverie #3
And this one is from # 50 as Rufferto's worst fears take form: he envisions Groo marrying Chakaal and growing hefty and home-bound in wedlock - maybe the scariest thing we ever had in the comic, not counting the months when we had to print circulation figures.
- The Surgeon
In our forty sixth Epic issue, Groo was mistaken for a great surgeon. Here we see him about to perform some sort of brain-exploratory surgery on a gent who, if he allows Groo to proceed, obviously has nothing on which to operate. This is also an example of the health plan provided for employees of this comic.
- Starburst Sapphire
Arba, Dakarba, Sage, Minstrel, Taranto, Grativo, Grooella and Arcadio all wanted to get
their mitts on this rarest of jewels in #47. How come, if some of them are so smart, they
didn't know that Groo would get his hands on it first and would cause it to shatter into a
zillion pieces? Hmm?
- The Wolfmen
In # 49, Groo battled a band of wolfmen, the leader of which was named Nivram. Many readers leaped to the conclusion that we were imitating the name (or nose) of writer Marvin Wolfman. This is a silly conclusion. It's true, but it's still a silly conclusion.
- Las Sirenas
People said we would never last fifty issues ... or maybe they said we should never last fifty issues. Either way, we celebrated in # 50 by raising the price for a month (we knew it would make you happy) and having Groo and Chakaal encounter a band of warrior women. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
- Groo & Chakaal
This scene from # 50 symbolizes the ongoing relationship between Groo and Chakaal; he loves her, she wants to be as far as possible from him. Isn't that the way it always is in life?
- Unfair Fray
One more scene from Groo # 50. I'm not sure why Sergio did so many from this issue. It couldn't be that he likes drawing legs or something - could it?
He must like drawing legs. In # 52, Groo battled a giant spider and got drunk. If you think he's frightening sober, wait until you've seen the Wanderer with a couple pints of Alipuz in him. The monster was called "Arana," which is Spanish for "spider". Guess which of us came up with that name.
- Another Dragon
This is from # 53. Another one of them dragon stories.
- Tough Mission
See previous card. Same story, similar dragon.
- Captive Audience
Here we see the Minstrel trapped in a dungeon (and in Groo # 56) singing a tale of Groo to a bunch of jailbirds. This is a dictionary definition of "cruel and unusual punishment."
- Mealtime Friends
Issue # 57 opened with Groo and Rufferto lost at sea and imagining each other as gourmet entrees, Groo's line was, "What a terrible, awful horrid thought! How can I think of cooking Rufferto? I have no firewood!" Soon after, a ship picked them up ... which meant, of course, they would soon be lost at sea again.
Groo # 58 found our friends in a land where they worshipped a dog-god (someone was dyslexic, I guess) named Sufur. Sufur, it turned out, looked a lot like Rufferto ... or vice-versa. Anyway, you can figure it all out from there.
- The Top Half of #103
This is a scene of a ship sinking. It'll make more sense if you get those nine-to-a-page sheet protectors and put all your cards in them. This one goes in a pocket directly over # 103. Thank you.
- The Mendicants
It was issue # 60 when we did a story about how no one ever seems to do anything about the homeless. Kinda sad that nothing's changed, huh?
The guy at the center is named Yegua for reasons that should be obvious. Caballo (in issue # 61) was a king who had some horses and Yegua was a guy who was trying to steal them and Groo was guarding the horses and ... well, let's just say nobody wound up too happy in this one.
- "Did I Err?" # 4
This is the fourth and final "Did I Err?" card. It's yet another ship sunk by Groo. He does this a lot.
In issue # 62, Groo briefly took to riding a horse. Boy, did Rufferto get jealous. This one had one of our better morals: "If you doubt a friend, you are not a friend."
- The Painter
Groo put down his swords and picked up a paintbrush in # 64. Art critics everywhere thought he was less dangerous before. Anyway, he became a painter and he painted a lot of junk and some folks thought it was brilliant and sometimes these stories aren't that far-fetched...
- The Garbage Issue
Issue # 65 was about garbage (as opposed to the previous 64 that were ... well, never mind). This one was all about recycling ... a practice that can be applied to almost every facet out lives including, obviously, writing comic books.
- The Gurus
Issue # 66 found Groo surrounded by philosophers. Everywhere he went, people were allowing others (including him) to do their thinking for them - a dangerous practice as his followers found out the hard way. In a Groo comic, the only way anyone finds out anything is the hard way.
- The Shaman
Oh, this guy was trouble. In issue # 72, Groo met up with one of our uglier villains - a self-styled prophet who had a lucrative way of making his predictions come true. It ended with the prophet jumping off a cliff ... as they all do, figuratively if not literally.
Cards 109-135 have a picture on the reverse side of Groo and Rufferto making a "strategic withdraw" from a burning city with silhouettes of people chasing them.
- The Prime Ministers
We did a three-parter in issues # 73-75 called "The Scepter of King Cetro." A whole bunch of characters were battling for possession of said scepter (and the powers that came with it). Among them were some evil prime ministers who did not have the well-being of King Cetro at heart. More in a moment...
- King Groo
So Groo got hit on the head and, while you'd think that couldn't do any damage, he lost his memory. That's right: the old amnesia plot. We had to get around to it eventually. Groo wound up with the scepter and the crown and Grooella's head on the chopping block ... but it all turned out all right.
In issue # 77, a magic gnome granted Rufferto his fondest wish ... which was to be transformed into a human being. His goal was to be closer to Groo than he could ever be as a dog ... a nice sentiment but one, he found, that was not without its drawbacks. Especially when Groo had to walk his new buddy.
- The Book Burners
The villain of # 78 was named Bowdler, a devout believer in governments deciding what people can read. Said he, "The people know nothing! That is exactly why dangerous ideas must be kept from them!" Of course, to those folks, any idea that isn't theirs is to be considered dangerous ...
- The Two Doors
Issue # 86: The tale of a walled city with an interesting, Groo-induced law ... that there must always be two doors leading into their town. You see, back when they had one door, they hired Groo to guard it - and he wouldn't let anyone through, including those who lived inside. Ergo, two doors.
- The Supreme General
One day, Groo decided he wanted to be a Supreme General (as opposed to his old job description as Supreme Chowderhead). A Supreme General is pretty much like a regular General, only Supreme. And you read all about it in Groo # 87 - that is, assuming you read Groo # 87. We did.
- The Stalking
In issue # 88, Groo went about stalking animals for food. Then he got mixed up with some sheep herders and ... gee, I forget what happened and I can't find my copy at the moment. Well, he probably messed everything up and caused a lot of grief to the herders and anyone who came near them.
- The Cult
"The Cult" was a band of semi-hypnotized folks who brought others into their fold and removed their independence and wallets - not necessarily in that order. It was in issue # 89 that they tried to brainwash Groo ... and discovered that one cannot wash what does not exist. Chakaal saved the day.
They say that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. So did Abogado when he became Groo's lawyer in our ninetieth Epic issue. The result was a trial that triggered mass destruction and expense. This issue was written long before the Rodney King or O.J. Simpson matters, by the way.
Odoman the Invincible appeared for the first (and, so far, only) time in Groo # 91. The best line in that issue was probably the one where someone referred to Groo as "feckless" and he said, "I am not feckless! I have plenty of feck!"
- The Search for Water
Issue # 94 (Epic) was all about Groo trying to find water. Now, when Groo sets out to find water, you know that two things are going to happen. One is that he's going to find water. The other is that there's going to be a major flood. Both things happened.
- Endangered Species
In Epic issue # 95, several bands of hunters were roaming about, trying to catch and kill certain breeds of animals that verged on extinction. Bands of environmentalists could have stopped them ... but it seemed easier (if not a bit inhumane) to just let Groo join them and try to help.
- Several Characters...
(That's Arba, Dakarba and Minstrel there, turned into toddlers.) In a two-parter that spanned issues # 92 and # 93, Groo and his chums went searching for the legendary, youth-inducing Fountain of Youth. Obviously, from the picture on the other side of this card, they found it.
- Turned into Babies in...
(That's Taranto, Arcadio, Grooella and Chakaal, all as infants.) You see, Pal and Drumm had this scheme to hoax people into thinking there was a Fountain of Youth ... only, at the time, they didn't know that there really was. Then Arba and Dakarba tried coming up with a potion to do it...
- The Fountain of Youth
(And here we see Drumm, Pal, Groo and Rufferto, all turned into babies or puppies.) Anyway, Groo got some potions mixed up and everyone wound up as a tot and then the Sage happened along and, well, maybe you'll come across the issues some day and read them. (Come to think of it, you can have mine.)
- The Learning
Issue # 100 of Groo (Epic run) was probably our most popular story ever - admittedly a dubious distinction. In it, Groo was sealed away for months in a vault-like library wherein he actually learned how to read. This one was a particular favorite of illiterates.
The man who taught Groo how to read in # 100 was Abecadario. If it's true that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, then he did the world a grave disservice. (Now, if someone had only taught me to read the contract for these cards before I'd signed it...)
- Armas & Babas
Armas and Babas were two plotters who plotted their way through issue # 101 and then came back and plotted some more in # 107. Armas was a believer in munitions; Babas, in manipulating people under the guise of faith. Together, they were more than a little dangerous ...
- The Wager of the Gods
Here's another one of those nine-card form-a-picture jobbies. This one recalls a four-issue spectacle (Epic issues 96-99) in which various gods debated over their various champions and attempted to figure Groo into life's equation. I'll,admit to summarize the story, starting on the next card.
- The Wager of the Gods
One of the gods, Megatheos, proclaims that his hero is greater than all others ... and even offers to wager that this is so. The other gods rise to the challenge. You'd think gods would have less ego about this kind of thing, wouldn't you? But they act like they think they're gods.
- The Wager of the Gods
The chosen champion of Megatheos is our old pal, Arcadio - he of the giant economy size chin. Megatheos relates a tale of a great feat performed by Arcadio ... but as we know (even if those gods don't), it was actually Groo who performed the feat in question. Following all this so far?
- The Wager of the Gods
A messenger is dispatched to Earth to give Arcadio another task to carry out - which is fulfilled but which, again, is really the work of Groo. Arcadio doesn't actually do anything but take bows and grab credit - why he didn't become a successful TV producer, I'll never know.
- The Wager of the Gods
As the gods continue playing "Can You Top This?" in the heavens, a rival goddess tells a tale of a great heroine. To match (or better) that, Megatheos sends another champion into a test. This time, it's Chakaal he enlists to prove that those he inspires are the greatest heroes/heroines of our world.
- The Wager of the Gods
Chakaal, of course, succeeds ... and Arcadio (again with Groo doing all the real work) succeeds in yet another task. It eventually comes to pass that the gods have reached a stalemate: the champions of Megatheos have equaled but not surpassed the deeds of the others. A way must be found to break the deadlock.
- The Wager of the Gods
Arcadio, they decide, must perform a feat that no other hero has ever accomplished. He is dispatched to battle Death and free the lost souls held by the God of Darkness. Arcadio ventures forth and is promptly turned into a frog. As far as we know, he is still a frog. Serves him right.
- The Wager of the Gods
Groo assumes the task and, since he is too stupid to know one cannot defeat Death, he actually succeeds in defeating Death. The lost souls are freed and the other gods are so impressed that they insist on bringing Groo to their lofty world and meeting him in person. You'd think, being gods, they'd know better.
- The Wager of the Gods
Groo is transported to the realm of the gods, where he causes disaster with everything he touches ... fires, earthquakes, the CBS Fall schedule. Finally, they return him to Earth and that's pretty much the whole story, at least as told by the Sage. Do you believe all or any of it? Sergio and I sure don't ...
Cards 136-153 are like cards 82-108, except it's Rufferto instead of Groo.
- Rufferto & Oso
Every so often, we do a story that has a relatively happy ending. In # 104 from the Epic run, Groo and Rufferto met Oso, a canine eager to find a master as devoted to him as Groo is to his mutt. Jealousy rears its inevitable head, but, in the end, Oso finds a home. All together now: Awwwwwww ...
- The Curse
Here we see Groo, as per # 105, with the head of a pig. All jokes about there being no visible difference aside, this story was called "The Curse of Criaturas" and it was about a curse that made people into animal-type beings. Groo destroyed the curse as efficiently as he destroys anything.
"The Man of the People" (issues # 106-109) introduced the sport of Footbull. Footbull was a mindless, violent pastime ... which, of course, made it extremely popular. You don't really have to know the rules to play Footbull - you just need a bull and at least one foot. If you survive, consider yourself a pro.
Isagul was a vampire-type mummy that Groo encountered in issue # 116. His handle demonstrates how clever we are in naming characters. A lesser comic book faced with naming a monster would have just taken Bela Lugosi's last name, changed a letter and spelled it backwards.
- The Great Oslaf
His name was Oslaf. He was in Groo # 111 and he was a pretty pathetic, unpopular guy until people started believing he had killed Groo. There's something that can do wonders for your reputation. He was a hero ... until, of course, you-know-who showed up.
- The Rainmaker
Groo became a professional rainmaker in # 113. He freed a genie from a bottle and thus earned himself three wishes ... only he didn't know it. So when he wished it would rain, it rained ... and he earned a reputation as a great rainmaker. But then the wishes ran out and so did his luck.
- The Birds of Vultura
Can you believe we actually did two whole issues about bird droppings? Honest. They were # 114 and # 115 - all about a land high atop a mountain, reachable only by riding a big bird to the top. But the story was really about the village that lived under those big birds ... not a fun place to be.
- Macha & Buffas
Macha is the lady, Buffas is the mutt. One had her eye on Groo as husband material; the other thought Rufferto would be a loyal companion and mate. It was issue # 117 wherein we saw that, though Groo doesn't fear monsters or dragons or whole armies, mention "marriage" to him and watch him pale.
In issues # 118 and # 119, Groo met a porcine gent named Vano who learned that, when you seek to amass followers, you can add by subtracting, and multiply by dividing. Vano dispensed hatred and bogus facts in mass quantities ... and did more damage than any ten armies in other issues.
This is a drawing of Groo and Rufferto eating. See card # 22.
In our ninth issue from Image, we revealed that Rufferto has a brother. Arfetto turned out to be no less the klutz than Groo. This was one of my favorite issues, not just because of the story but because I also got to correct the spot when Sergio drew it under the wrong eye, as he occasionally did.
- Rufferto's Family
And in the same issue (# 9), we learned that Rufferto and Arfetto were but two of a very large, very spotted litter. Rufferto was the pick, Arfetto was the runt and, one of these days, maybe we'll get around to divulging the spotty careers and lives of some of the others.
It was in issue # 6 from Image that Groo met a man whose name was ... uh, gee - we never got around to giving him a name. Well, he was an ancient Asian who brought into Groo's world "The Great Weapon" - known to us today as gunpowder. Actually, in the hands of Groo, chicken salad is a weapon.
- Kartas & Barahas
Soon after Sergio and Mark did a bookstore signing in Las Vegas, you met these two maniacal gamblers ... who thought that wagering on Groo to screw up was the surest bet in the history of mankind. Of all the issues of Groo that were published by Image, this was probably the eleventh.
- Pipil Khan
With the might of Caesar, the fame of Alexander and the diction of Elmer Fudd, Pipil Khan first attempted to destwoy (uh, destroy) our hero in Groo # 8 from Image. He returned in # 12 ... to no more success than his first try. Someday, somewhere, he will try again. I wouldn't bet money on him succeeding.
- "Is That All?"
Groo stands on a pile of past-tense warriors, wondering if there are more to slay. If you want to know how those guys in the heap feel, stay up 'til 4 AM some morning writing the backs of Groo cards that they need at the printer tomorrow. You will welcome the sweet release of death.
As our heroes wander off and you wonder if you can trade this card collection to someone for a Barbi Twins set, we bid you a fond farewell with this scene from the last Marvel/Epic issue. We hope you had as much fun collecting these things as Sergio and I did preparing them. Thanks!
The Images of Groo cards have a scroll on the reverse side with tassels hanging from it.
- IG-1 Images of Groo (Mike Allred)
The madman behind Madman brings us another interpretation of everyone's favorite cheese dip eater. And no, no Groo-Madman crossover is in the works. Any crossovers with Groo would last two panels. Panel 1: Groo meets other hero. Panel 2: Groo kills other hero. End of crossover, end of other hero.
- IG-2 Images of Groo (Kevin Nowlan)
Kevin's distinctive graphics first got noticed (at least by us) on Moon Knight. He now has companies fighting over him - DC and Dark Horse just shared him on a Superman-Aliens special. He is also now the world-class champ at drawing realistic versions of The Sage. If that doesn't end his career, nothing will.
- IG-3. Images of Groo (Stan Sakai)
When Groo started, Sergio asked Stan Sakai to letter it, little suspecting how overqualified he was for the job, as proven by everyone's favorite samurai wabbit, Usagi Yojimbo. As for the possibility of a Groo-Usagi Yojimbo crossover, see the explanation on the Mike Allred card as to why that will never happen.
- IG-4. Images of Groo (Dave Sim)
Every time someone compliments us on the incredibly long run of Groo, we have to remind them of what Dave Sim has been doing all these years with Cerebus the Aardvark. Cerebus is a lot smarter than Groo. But, come to think of it, so is my coffee table.
- IG-5. Images of Groo (Sam Kieth)
Here's Groo as depicted by the creator of The Maxx. We love Sam's work and seem to be the only people in the industry who know that his last name goes "I" before "E". As for the possibilities of a Groo-Maxx crossover... See the rear of the Mike Allred card for why that won't happen.
- IG-6. Images of Groo (Simon Bisley)
Simon Bisley specializes in gritty renditions of kick-butt characters. Here he is, drawing the most savage creature it has ever been his misfortune to render - and that's including Judge Dredd. We first saw his work on the British 2000 A.D. book. Currently, he is working with Frank Frazetta on Death Dealer.
- IG-7. Images of Groo (Jeff Smith)
Years ago. Sergio and Groo won all the awards for best humor artist/comic. Then Jeff Smith started his wonderful Bone comic and now he's winning all the awards. As for the possibility of a Groo-Bone crossover, see the back of ...hmm, wait a minute. Maybe that isn't such a bad idea in this case...
- IG-8. Images of Groo (John K. Snyder III)
We have a soft spot for John's Fashion in Action comics and also his work on Grendel. (Actually, we have many soft spots, but let's leave our craniums out of this.) Recently, he's turned up at DC and elsewhere, and it was onlt through the powers of persuation -(read:blackmail)- that we got him to do a card.
- IG-9. Images of Groo (Jim Lee)
The wizard at the WildC.A.T.s first came to attention with his innovative work on Marvel's Punisher and X-Men books. A lot of folks love the way he draws powerful, sexy women. After seeing his rendition of the powerful, sexy Chakaal, we don't wonder why.
Please Note! This information is © Sergio Aragonés & Mark Evanier, 1995.
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