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Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser Paperback – March 27, 2007

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse; First Edition edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593077130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593077136
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are two undisputed godfathers of Swords & Sorcery fiction. One is Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan, King Kill, Bran Mak Morn, and Solomon Kane; and the other is Fritz Leiber who created the duo of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It was, in fact, Leiber himself who coined the term "Swords & Sorcery." The adventures of the huge red-haired northern barbarian Fafhrd and the slight, mercurial thief The Gray Mouser were written over a span of fifty years, beginning in 1939 in the pages of the fantasy pulp magazine Unknown. In all, Leiber wrote some forty stories about the pair.

This trade paperback from Dark Horse Comics collects the four-issue mini-series originally published by Marvel Comics' Epic line in the 1991. The stories are adapted by Howard Chaykin with art by Mike Mignola and the legendary Al Williamson. The pairs adventures generally take place in and around the Lankhmar, the most notorious city in Newhon. The first story, "Ill met In Lankhmar" is perhaps the most famous, winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards. It tells the story of the first meeting between Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser although this "origin" story was not written until 1970.

The pair are after the same quarry of riches and soon strike up a great friendship...over many tankards of ale. When both of their women are killed by dark sorcery, the two team to kill both the wizard and the thieves guild before vowing to never return to Lankhmar. After leaving the city, each will encounter a mysterious, patron wizard, who provide cryptic advice and send them off on dangerous missions, seemingly often for their own amusement.

Another excellent story is "Bazaar of the Bizarre", written in 1963.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a big fan of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser since the 1960's, when the first anthologies of their stories began to appear. They are seminal characters in fantasy, and Leiber's dark-toned, ironic narratives strongly appealed to me. The short stories and novellas of the early years aren't uniformly terrific, but some of them are very, very good.

So I was interested enough to buy it when this compendium of earlier comics of some of the stories came out. I found the adaptation to be only partially successful.

Partly, it's because half the fun of Fafhrd and the Mouser is Leiber's language, and in particular the gritty, languid descriptions. It must have been terrifically hard to adapt those descriptions. Ideally, some of the narrative gets moved to the drawings, but Leiber blended action and description so well that his own words can't be used, leaving the adapter with trying re-write. Chaykin isn't Leiber.

Partly it's the sacrifices that have to be made with the change in medium. Lots of elements have to be left out, some of them pretty important. Leiber's writing, again, is so tight, and his plotting has so few extraneous elements, that the narrative force gets lost when Chaykin unavoidably has to chop those important bits out. Maybe if this had started as a graphic novel and not as a series of comics, the excisions wouldn't be so big.

For whatever reason, because they were comics or to make them socially acceptable in the early 1990s, the stories are bowdlerized as well. Fafhrd and Grey Mouser are lusty guys. That lust, which motivates stories like "While the Sea King's Away," has been written out. The assignations with the Sea King's wives, critical to the plot, are simply gone. It makes the heros' motivations nearly inexplicable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hesitated between giving this graphic adaptation of Fritz Leiber's terrific Lankhmar fantasy stories three or four stars. On the one hand, the artists are talented and experienced, and the stories maintain a high degree of fidelity to the originals. On the other, the particular drawing style simply isn't much to my personal taste: it seems rather flat and simplified, which is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, especially for an action series. But I've always imagined these tales in a more shaded/gothic/art-deco mood: the artist I think really could have put them across is Barry Windsor-Smith. Recommendation: if you are already an enthusiastic fan of the books, you'll be glad to have these to see one approach to illustrating them, and you may like the style more than I did. But if you've never read the books, I'd start with them rather than with this ilustrated version.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For whatever it's worth this book was for me. I've always loved the Fafhrd and Mouser tales.
These adaptations are among my favorites. Howard Chaykin channels Fritz Leiber like a kindred soul. Chaykin brings out the pairs' wit, arrogance, doubts and, ultimately their worldly humor as they wander through through their many adventures and misadventures. They're friends who do not need each other but love playing off of each other, as if together they are better than they are alone. These are great buddy stories with a sword and sorcery world as the setting. Best of all is that these stories (all of them, not just those in this collection) are richly detailed, realistically powerful and memorable in a way few S&S tales are. It's easy to relate to these two scoundrels.
Couple this with the stunningly effective and distinctive art provided by Mike Mignola (inked by the always remarkable, fine line of Al Williamson, also proving there is no one Al can't ink and still look great) and colorist Sherlyn van Valkenburgh provides a great reason to shun digital color. She's a gem and one rarely seen in comics anymore. Even Michael Heisler's lettering is worth noting for it's melding so well with the stories.
The stories selected for these adaptations give everyone a chance to shine. Mignola establishes himself as one of the more respected artists in the American comic scene by drawing everything under the sun on Newhon.
The half star missing is for the book's binding. It's fine for what it is and the art director and editor deliver one of the best looking graphic novels to see print, a beautiful package. So, why did the publisher not put out a hardcover edition. It would have been worth another $5 to $10 dollars.
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