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For twenty-five years, the true origin of Matt Wagner's Eisner Award-winning anti-hero, Grendel, has remained largely unseen, available exclusively to collectors able to pay high prices for extremely rare, out-of-print issues. Now, for the first time anywhere, Dark Horse collects the original appearance of Grendel!

A successful novelist by day, Hunter Rose becomes the unstoppable assassin Grendel by night, the leader of a vast criminal empire opposed by the mysterious wolf Argent. Containing the black-and-white interiors and full-color covers of Primer #2 and Grendel #1-3 originally published by Comico, this handsome hardcover volume is an essential piece of comics history, presenting the earliest work of Matt Wagner, the legendary creator behind such acclaimed projects as Mage, Sandman Mystery Theatre, and Batman: The Monster Men among many others.

With new cover art by Wagner, the Grendel Archives is a must-have for Grendel fans and the ultimate starting point for those interested in one of the most influential creator-owned comics of the last quarter century!

Reprints the very first black-and-white appearance of Grendel in celebration of the character's 25th anniversary.

The first part tells the story of Grendel's murder of Everett Christie, a city councilman, and his subsequent fight with Argent.

The next three parts are framed by a conversation between Hunter Rose and Argent on a rooftop, after they have severely wounded each other. Rose tells Argent his origin as a precocious young boy named Eddie who won the world championship in fencing at fourteen years old. He had an affair with an older woman, Jocasta Rose, who taught him to treat life as a game. He eventually became a hitman for the mob as well as a world-famous novelist in his civilian identity, using the pseudonym Hunter Rose. He was finally recognized by a childhood friend, and killed him to keep his secret safe. Later, he took over the mob he had been working for, and began his career as the preeminent crimelord of his time.

Argent then tells his origin: he is an Algonquin Indian, and is over 300 years old. He fell in love with a woman from his tribe, but she was selected for sacrifice. He tried to save her, but was cursed for his troubles, and became a wolf. He found himself filled with bloodlust and a desire to live among mankind even in his cursed form.

The two of them then discuss their shared friendship with Stacy Palumbo. Her uncle, Barry, tried to manipulate them both in a complex double-cross scheme, but Grendel knew about it and poisoned him. Rose then left Palumbo to join his party. Unexpectedly, however, Stacy found Barry's body and screamed, alerting everyone as to what had happened.

Hunter takes Stacy outside to help her deal with the situation. He asks his friend Larry Stohler to cover for him. He changes to Grendel as he leaves, and runs in to Argent. They battle for a long time, neither able to get a firm advantage over the other.

Meanwhile, inside the house, the police investigate the murder and arrest Barry's girlfriend, whom Hunter framed by planting evidence in her purse.

At the same time, a pedophile happens to wander by and finds the unconscious Stacy, whom Hunter and Argent are ignoring due to their battle, which has set the garden ablaze. The pedophile grabs Stacy and runs away with her.

Hunter finally gets a temporary upper hand over Argent and looks for Stacy, but she's gone. The original series, reprinted here, was cancelled at this point, but the story was retold in Devil by the Deed, a back-up feature in Mage: The Hero Discovered. It explains that eventually Hunter rescued Stacy and killed the pedophile before he was able to take advantage of her.

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