I have to say, I am always a little excited when a new Groo series comes out, because me and the barbarian with mulch for brains go back a long way. For the uninitiated, Groo is a Conan pastiche, brought to life by the greatest artist Soy Vs Spy never had (read the comic – in joke) Sergio Aragones. Sergio’s art has always been a joy to behold, full of life and energy whilst at the same time totally cartoony. Ably assisted for many years by writer Mark Evanier, Sergio has never failed to amuse with Groo, and this new series follows on from one where he teamed up with Conan himself back in 2014.
As with the previous Conan crossover, the classic character is drawn by Thomas Yeates, who draws in classic pulp style and has done several canon Tarzan comics in the past. What we have, then, are Tarzan segments that look like they’re from a pulp newspaper strip (a good, one, though) and Groo segments that look like they’re from a mad Spaniard (they are). Tarzan is investigating some slave trading (his sections are straight, no jokes), and his course is leading him towards Groos land, where the cheese dip obsessed barbarian is being tricked by a succession of villages who understandably want him to move on without eating everything in his path and accidentally destroying their homes. Added to this are the adventures of the authors, as in the ‘real’ world Mark and Sergio attend a comic con and go looking for wild animals for Sergio to draw in his upcoming Groo and Tarzan comic. It’s all a bit meta, sure, but it’s a device that has worked before and works well here, partly due to the self depreciating way Sergio allows himself to be portrayed, and theses sections will delight people partial to Mad magazine type humour.
In this issue the two protagonists don’t meet, so their segments are purely drawn by the respective artists. When they do meet, however, the artists will share the panels, with the realistic looking Tarzan and cartoony Groo confusing the brain, as you can see in the cover. If the Conan series is anything to go by, this will work well.
It’s admirable that a one note character such as Groo has lasted this long without becoming stale or unfunny, and Groo Vs Tarzan is a must for fans of the invincible idiot, and if you’re a Tarzan fan with a sense of humour you should give it a go as well. Read it, or forever be known as a mendicant (whatever that is).