Dark Horse Comics masked vigilante Grendel is coming to Netflix in an eight part series starring Abubakr Ali in the lead role. Grendel will be written and executive produced by Supernatural and Resident Evil‘s Andrew Dabb and forms part of Dark Horse’s deal with the streamer. Along with Ali, who becomes the first Arab Muslim to lead a comic book movie, the cast includes Jamie Ray Newman, Julian Black Antelope, Madeline Zima, Kevin Corrigan, Emma Ho and Brittany Allen.
The comic focuses on Hunter Rose, a fencer, writer and assassin who is bent on taking on the criminal underworld of New York City to avenge the death of his lover, but over time he comes to realise that there is no need to beat them, when he could instead join them. Grendel is the latest Dark Horse project for Netflix, who have previously added The Umbrella Academy, Polar and the upcoming Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles to their collaborative content. Matt Wagner, the writer of the comic book series, joins Grendel as executive producer along with Mike Richardson, Keith Goldberg and Chris Tongue for Dark Horse Entertainment.
Wagner shared his excitement for the project in a statement which reads,” “I couldn’t be more thrilled about the Grendel saga, one of the longest-running independent comics series, finally being translated into live-action for the screen. Under the sharp guidance of showrunner Andrew Dabb, our incredible creative team, sure-to-be stellar cast and Dark Horse Entertainment have teamed with Netflix to produce this provocative adaptation that will bring my characters and concepts to an all new audience and yet still provide excitement and surprises for die-hard fans. I’m especially excited to see Abubakr Ali bring the character of Grendel/Hunter Rose to life – he has the charisma, style and vital edginess that I’ve been envisioning in the role for years.”
In July a copy of Primer #2 containing the first comic book appearance of Grendel went to auction. Dating from 1982, the comic book was listed with a CGC 9.2 and was sold by Glen Danzig from his own personal collection. The original character was done in a European noir style but evolved into a “a study of the nature of aggression.” The character came with certain commentaries that were not immediately obvious, such as him being a writer turned vigilante and turning the old phrase of the pen is mightier than the sword on its head. In the series, after waging war on New York’s criminals, he takes over the large network of villains lurking in the city’s streets. This original version of the character was cancelled at publisher Comico, and then appeared in the back of Mage, which was another of Wagner’s works. As the character developed into a franchise, Dark Horse jumped on board and more writers were brought in to expand the world Grendel resided in.
The character is still very much part of the Dark Horse family, having made his most recent appearance in Devil’s Odyssey in 2019. With Netflix having bought into comic book adaptations in a big way, there is no doubt that if Grendel proves to be another hit for the platform, when we will certainly not have seen the last of him. This news arrives from Deadline.