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Groo the Wanderer, the long-running comedic comic from legendary Spanish cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, is on its way to animation.
Entrepreneur Josh Jones, who counts businesses in venture capitalism, cryptocurrency and airlines among his portfolio, has acquired the animated film and television rights to Groo, with the intent of producing the character’s first-ever animated adaptation via his film company, Did I Err Productions.
Jones and his Did I Err partner Scott Nocas will serve as executive producers on the possible projects along with Aragonés and Groo writer Mark Evanier.
Did I Err will seek out creative talent who understand Aragonés’ unique vision and characters. Projects are being packaged for streaming services and global distribution, with Did I Err able to co-finance as needed.
Groo, now in its 40th year of publication, is the longest currently running independent and creator-owned comic book property, outlasting even many of the companies that have published it. Aragonés was already an established cartoonist who was one of the key jokesters in Mad magazine, where he had begun work after arriving from Mexico in 1962, when he came up with the concept and look for his creation in the late 1970s. With writer Evanier, the onetime assistant to Jack Kirby who was then working in Saturday morning animation, he launched the book via indie publisher Pacific Comics in 1982 only after he was able to make a deal that let him keep the rights.
Since then, the title has hopscotched from Marvel’s Epic line to Image Comics to Dark Horse, which has been its home since 1998. And while it doesn’t have the broad appeal and awareness of the superhero set, the character has dedicated fans, including filmmakers Rian Johnson and Joe and Anthony Russo.
Groo follows the humorous exploits of a barbarian who is a mighty swordsman but also a walking disaster. He wanders an ancient land with his trusty sidekick, a dog named Rufferto. “He’s a nincompoop who ruins everything,” Aragonés tells THR. “He sinks ships, he destroys buildings.”
Hollywood has occasionally flirted with the character, but Aragonés says most times, interested parties weren’t willing to back that interest with money. Not so with Jones.
“I’ve loved Groo the Wanderer since I was eight years old, and to have the honor of bringing the character to on-screen life is, quite literally, a lifelong dream come true,” Jones said in a statement. “Sergio’s style, the characters, the world, and especially the humor have always appealed to me. I just want to help bring what I’ve loved for so long to the next generation!”
And it’s that potential reach that tickles Aragonés’ enthusiasm with the deal. “Sadly, comic books have a limited audience,” he says. “Even a good one with the classic heroes sells only a hundred thousand. Imagine 1 million people knowing your character! That would be a dream.”
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