After the aborted three-issue series, Matt Wagner began a second Grendel series at Comico. This time, various artists illustrated Wagner’s stories, with Wagner only illustrating four issues (#16-19). This new series was published (nearly) monthly, from 1986 to 1990. The series stopped at issue #40. While this was intended to be a brief hiatus, Comico’s bankruptcy prevented more issues from being published. A couple years later, after the rights to Grendel were worked out with Comico, Dark Horse Comics published what would have been issues #41-50 as Grendel: War Child #1-10, thus concluding the series. (Despite the mini-series format, War Child #10 was oversized, suggesting it was really issue #50 of the Comico series.)
In terms of its story, the series begins years after Hunter Rose’s death. Its initial storyline features Argent, the wolf who battled Hunter Rose, as well as Christine Spar, the daughter of Grendel’s adopted daughter, Stacy. Subsequent stories focused on Christine Spar’s lover and Captain Wiggins, a policeman from this initial storyline. Beginning with issue #21, three issues jumped centuries into the future, and the next extended storyline, begun in issue #24, takes place in a bizarre, post-apocalyptic future. Further stories would continue this storyline, culminating in War Child, in which a new Grendel — the robotic Grendel-Prime — debuts. He doesn’t die at the end of the story, although he departs, paving the way for stories set in this post-apocalyptic world, in which society is organized around clans who worship the idea of Grendel.
After publishing War Child, Dark Horse Comics remastered the Comico series, republishing it as a series of mini-series. While it was wonderful having these stories back in print, the proliferation of mini-series — some reprints, some original, and all set during very different periods — could easily lead to confusion (an all-too-common problem today). Only issues #20-22 of the Comico series were never reprinted as single issues, said to be a consequence of the original art to those issues not being available for remastering — although these three issues were finally reprinted in 2013 as part of Dark Horse’s Grendel Omnibus series of hardcovers. As of this writing, the “Grendel Tales” story from issue #40 is the only story from the Comico series that has not been republished — although it wasn’t written by Wagner and really belongs to the next Grendel era.
A couple additional stories set during the Comico series era have been published. Both were not written by Matt Wagner have also been published. In 1990, the same year the Comico series concluded, the British anthology comic A1 published a short story by writer James Robinson and artist D’Israeli that was set between issues #15 and #16. It has never been reprinted.
In 1999, Dark Horse Comics published the two-issue Grendel: Devil Child, a stunning story focused on Stacy Palumbo and expanding on a brief paragraph in Devil by the Deed explaining what happened to her after Hunter Rose’s death. Effectively a prequel to the Comico series, the two-issue Devil Child was written by longtime Grendel editor Diana Schutz and illustrated by previous Grendel artist Tim Sale. It was collected on its own and was included in the Grendel Omnibus series.