Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its ninety-first choice, Fritz Leiber’sFafhrd And The Gray Mouser by Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola and Al Williamson and reviewed by Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows…
Fritz Leiber’sFafhrd And The Gray Mouser Writer: Howard Chaykin Artists: Mike Mignola & Al Williamson Colourist: Sherilyn Van Valkenrburgh Letterer: Michael Heisler Dark Horse Comics
Today’s pick is Dark Horse’s trade paperback of Chaykin and Mignola’s adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s classic fantasy novels featuring mismatched pair Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser. Originally published as four issues through Marvel’s defunct Epic Comics imprint back in 1990, it was reprinted as a single collection by Dark Horse in 2007.
Writer Chaykin has a connection to Leiber’s creations going back in the 1970s as he was the artist on DC’s Sword and Sorcery shortlived book, drawing the late great Denny O’Neil’s scripts. Here he is the scripter teamed up with future superstar Mike Mignola who is inked by industry legend Al Williamson.
The pair are ginger-haired Fafhrd and dark-haired Gray Mouser, two thieves and ne-er-do-wells who find themselves on a serious of outlandlish adventures in and around the fictional city of Lankhmar. Chaykin perfectly brings Leiber’s bawdy fantasy tone to life here in its dialogue and the interplay between the pair while Mignola’s slightly rougher style than he came to use later on means that it all moves along at a breakneck speed. Colourist Van Valkenbergh’s subtle tones are also the perfect foil for the artist’s lines.
Fafjrd and Mouser are no high born warriors like Howard’s Conan or Moorcock’s Elric and so they are forced to use their wits to get themselves out of their predicaments. Battling a series of supernatural threats, the pair show off their prowess as fighters and also as tricksters and thieves. Leiber’s creations predate figures like Moorcock’s Elric but you can see just how they have influenced more modern fantasy geniuses like the aforementioned Moorcock. Leiber was a contemporary of Conan creator Robert E Howard but these are a lot more tongue in cheek than Howard’s work.
Mignola talks in the afterword about how getting to draw this series was a dream job for the artist as he had been a fan of Leiber and Moorcock for many years.
For fans of bawdy, quirky fantasy, Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser by Chaykin, Mignola and Williamson is a fun-packed rowdy adventure collection, capturing the spirit of the source material perfectly.