The Comic Speculator: The Early Works of Matt Wagner

Cover of Grendel #1
Cover of Grendel #1
Cover of Comico Primer #2

For those of you who can’t drop upwards of $200.00 on a comic book, you’ll be happy to know that you can find most of these old Zorro books in poor condition (reader copies) at any comic shop with a decent back stock for under $10.00. Most of the old Dell Toth Zorro stories were reprinted in the pages of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories which are also hard to find in good shape and are valued considerably lower but seem to be readily available in poor condition. You can also find the collected Alex Toth Zorro stories reprinted in trade paperback in The Complete Classic Adventures of Zorro from Image Comics, 2001.

Welcome back to the comic speculator where I discuss older yet still affordable classic comic back issues. Last weeks episode found us in the golden-age looking at the mastery of Alex Toth. This week we leap forward into the 80’s and early 90’s to discuss the works of famous comic writer/artist Matt Wagner.

I believe my first Matt Wagner experience was with his Grendel: Warchild storyline back in 1992. I remember seeing Grendel comics before but passing for the latest issue of Batman or Wolverine. However after seeing the cover of Warchild #1 by legendary painter Simon Bisley, I was intrigued and would soon count myself a fan of Wagner’s hard-edged-ultra-violent storytelling. Wagner has been writing excellent comics since the early 1980’s and continues to write his Hunter Rose Grendel Character for Dark Horse comics, the latest Grendel series is titled Grendel: Behold the Devil and should still be readily available at most comic book shops.

Grendel’s first appearance was in 1982 in the pages of Comico Primer #2. Comico was a small press company in the 1980’s that printed other books like Robotech, the Elementals and Johnny Quest. While most of these books are not worth much their print runs were very small making comics like Primer and the first Grendel series extremely hard to find.
Surprisingly both the 1st appearance of Grendel in Primer #2, Comico 1982 and the origin of Grendel in Grendel #1, Comico 1983, guide for under $200.00. Even possibly harder to find is Wagner’s Mage: The Hero discovered, Comico 1984, a modern day King Arthur tale wherein Excalibur is an enchanted baseball bat. Again Mage had a tiny print run but the Hero Discovered #1 guides for under $20.00. These old Comico Wagner story’s are excellent reads and have been highly undervalued for too long. If you can find these any of these comics in nice shape I would recommend picking them up. Early Wagner comics are only going to become harder and harder to find and it’s only a matter of time before the comic collectors start to realize the true value of these issues.

Both Wagner’s Grendel and Mage comics are all reprinted in graphic novel form are in print and readily available at your local comic book shop.

For more on Grendel check out
Make sure and post your favorite Matt Wagner comics in our Comic Book Forum:

Until next time free to post to the forum topics in the comic books community and tell me what you’re reading/collecting. Also check out my other blog, This Week in Geek where I discuss the new comics of the week that could be tomorrow’s collectibles. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact me or post your question in the Comic Book community forum. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join Worthpoint for free and post your titles in the “Ask A Question” section.

  • zogwretch

    It has been a long time since i have read any matt wagner,but i do recall loving what he did with Dr. midnite. the run he had really grabbed me and made me want to learn more about the character. it was dark and gritty the kind of detective comic i can get behind.

  • Mark Titan 658

    Mr. Wagner gave us Mage & Grendel & there are some things that Mad Magazine Writers have pondered on his series & that is his character, Edsel. What was her real name? How did she acquire The Excalibur Bat? How did she acquire her 1959 Edsel Corsair? And what went on inbetween the 6 month gap between the series, #8 and #9 of the first Mage Series. And another thing, did Matt Wagner have a close encounter with a real life counterpart of Edsel? However I did bypassed The Mad Magazine readers and did some research on things and gap fillers. However Edsel should be givin the same status as a fallen police officers who died in the line of duty. I got the answers of the questions, but will post them in another time. However in April, 1963, I did meet a real life version of Edsel and saved me from an unjust beating by a school bus driver for “doing something I didn’t do.” and she punished him “Joe Jistu Style” & she owned a 1955 Packard Clipper and not a 1959 Edsel Corsair.
    Mark Titan 658

  • jimmy torres

    iv got both primer 2 and grendel 1 really cheap its only a matter of time before these books become very high priced im looking for mage now i now these books with the low print runs will soon be very hard to find

    • Rad! Do you mind sharing how much you paid for them? Pics?


      • jimmy torres

        iv got a primer 2 cgc 9.8 at a yard sale for $4.00 the old lady thought that that was to high priced i told her i would buy it for that amount i bought 20 boxes of golden and silver age books for $50 in the boxes were werewolf by night 32 ,fantastic four 1-89 , hulk 181, detective comics 30-45 amazing spider-man 2,3,4,5,6 superman 1-4 to name a few they all belonged to her late husband who died recently thats why i love yard sales !

        • DUDE! I gotta start shopping with you on the weekends!

Ready to invest in WorthPoint? →

Securities offered through North Capital Private Securities, Member FINRA/SIPC