Graphic Novel Review: Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
Posted on March 21, 2023 at 6:32 am by Gene Ambaum
Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser adaptation and script by Howard Chaykin, pencils by Mike Mignola, Inks by Al Williamson, colors by Sherlyn van Valkenburgh, and letters by Michael Heisler. Dark Horse, 2007. 9781593077136. Originally published by Marvel Epic in 1991.
I remember trying to read this graphic novel adaptation in my 20s and I didn’t get it. But I just reread it and now I plan to seek out Leiber’s books and stories to read more. Maybe there’s something about being older that makes this buddy book more appealing. Or maybe it’s that I’ve read so many crappy sword and sorcery books lately that my brain is relieved to finally find a good one.
The dialogue is excellent, as are the layouts. This is pre-Hellboy work by Mignola, and it’s fun to see how Williamson’s inking changes the tone of his art vs. when Mignola inks his own work. Inside there’s evil wizardry, beautiful women, booze, and way too many rats for my wife, so I’m not going to try to get her to read it. But if you’re in the mood for a dark, swashbuckling tale that is both humorous and horrific, I urge you to track down a copy.
Worth noting: My copy of this book belonged to my writing mentor, the all around great guy and librarian extraordinaire Frank Denton, who passed away last year. Frank introduced me to Leiber and many other science fiction, fantasy, and mystery writers that I still love, and deepened my appreciation of their work. I hope each of you is lucky enough to know someone like Frank and his amazing wife Anna, who was my grade school librarian.