The Devil is back.
This fall, as part of the 25th anniversary of Matt Wagner's Grendel, Dark Horse will release a new eight-issue miniseries entitled "Behold the Devil" that will chronicle a mysterious incident from the life of Hunter Rose.
For those unfamiliar with the character, Rose whose tale was told in the recently re-released "Devil by the Deed," was a young prodigy who led a double life as the masked criminal mastermind Grendel. Though Rose died in that tale, flashback stories have helped flesh out the incidents from his infamous career, including a memorable duel with Batman.
In recent years, Wagner has limited his tales of Rose to short stories illustrated by other artists in the "Black, White and Red" and "Red, White and Black miniseries." He'll employ that format himself for Behold the Devil, his first extended story with Rose in more than a decade.
Wagner promised that "Behold the Devil" would appeal to "the new reader and the seasoned reader as well." "Part of the whole point was to kind of reintroduce people to Grendel, and try to incorporate its many different faces, while still making it a Hunter Rose story," Wagner told CBR News. "Hopefully, people will find it intriguing enough that they'll want to go pick up more."
The impetus for "Behold the Devil" came from Wagner's longtime editor/sister-in-law Diana Schutz. "When Diana and I first sat down to talk about what we wanted to see happen project-wise for the 25th anniversary, she said, 'Look, it's the 25th anniversary. You've got to draw a Grendel story and not just write one.' I said, 'Yeah, you're right,'" Wagner recalled. "Then she said, 'And if you're drawing it, it's got to be a Hunter Rose story.' I said, 'Yeah, you're right.' And she said, 'And if it's a Hunter Rose story, it's got to be something important, and not just a Hunter Rose caper.'
Meeting Schutz's challenge wasn't easy. "I was like, 'Ah, shit! I already told all his important stuff!'" Wagner laughed. "I thought about it for a while, and then eventually something came to me and I thought, 'There's a hole in the story, there's something I can do.'"