The Russos and Grimjack: A Match Made in Heaven?
Largely buried in the coverage of Joe and Anthony Russo's San-Diego Comic-Con is the news that the pair will be adapting Grimjack as one of their next projects.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the John Ostrander & Tim Truman created character from the dear departed (and recently resurrected) First Comics line, Grimjack came out of the 80s grim 'n' dark era, but came to its darkness honestly, without pretension or affectation, and independently from the comic 80s zeitgeist. While the comic featured plenty of art talent over the years (Tom Mandrake, Kelley Jones), it was always Ostrander at the helm, and he has carefully managed the rights since First's implosion in 1992.
For those surprised by the Russo announcement, don't be. Grimjack has had a small but determined fanbase since his introduction in the Starslayer comic. That's in no small part to the setting – the pandimensional city of Cynosure. Cynosure is constantly intersecting, separating and re-intersecting with different realities, meaning the very laws of physics can change from block to block.
What that meant on the page was a series that combined stories laced with science fiction, fantasy and political corruption all colored with a noir fiction pastiche.
That wasn't the real trick of Ostrander's Grimjack, though. The trick was that he crossed these genres absolutely seamlessly.
So up until now, how would Hollywood be likely to tackle such a property? If history is any judge, likely by focusing on one element – probably the science fiction – and jettison the rest. This is why those of us who have been desperate to see Grimjack in other media should probably count our lucky stars we haven't.
But the Russos aren't like other Hollywood creators. In their hands-on work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have given us 70s style paranoid espionage in Winter Soldier, messy international and political conflict in Civil War, and full on cosmic-scale epics in the last two Avengers. They made us feel that a character like Captain America was perfectly suited to each of these (which if you stop and think about it outside the context of the comics, it's ludicrous). They created a story in which Rocket Raccoon and the Winter Soldier belonged together without anyone giving it a second thought.
And they did it – again – seamlessly.
Although they've given no details as to what this project will look like, it looks possible that Grimjack and the Russos (and the budget they're likely to command) may be the fit that John Gaunt's fans, as well as Ostrander himself, have been waiting decades for.