I met Matt Wagner sometime around 1987. Matt was a bit of an oddity back then seeing things in people's work that no editor would ever consider. Case in point: Bloodlines. What Matt saw in my story was enough for him to talk Grendel with me. The result became "The Devil's Hammer" a three issue story about a man who attempts to use the power of Grendel to destroy Grendel, and the ensuing consequence of that folly. Visually, I attempted to the best of my ability to present the story in the style of the European graphic album with varying degrees of success. I instructed colorist Bernie Mireault to paint the series brightly with lots of sunshine and clear blue skies. I wanted to show that evil operated in the daylight as well as the darkness and that God makes his light shine upon good and evil alike. There are heavy under currents of Ecclesiastes in the series and I wanted to make literal the refrain "...the evil done under the sun."
"The Devil's Hammer" became something of a cult classic and the center of a court case in Chicago involving censorship. The comic also won Moondog's Pop Culture Radio Hour award for Best Overlooked Book of the Week. Thanks. I think... I still have the post card I received from Neil Gaiman offering his praise and compliments on the series. It is an appreciated stamp of approval from another writer in the face of editorial indifference. Sadly, and inexplicably, "The Devil's Hammer" remains the only Grendel Tale uncollected although that may change should the Grendel Omnibus materialize. Until that happens, here is a selection of pages from the series for you to peruse.
From Issue One: Black Blood