John  Gaunt, Grimjack

Real Name: John Gaunt

Identity/Class: Normal human, some magical affinity

Occupation: Mercenary; former soldier, demon hunter, special ops, gladiator, temporal bounty hunter, police officer

Affiliations: Blackjac Mac, Spook, Roscoe, Jericho Noleski, Gordon, Chris Heyman, Uncle Willy, Feetus, Bob, Judah Macabee, Rhian, Maethe Mathonwy

former Major Lash, Lawkillers, TDP (Trans-Dimensional Police), Cadre, Wolfpac

Enemies: Major Lash, Mayfair, the Dancer, MacCabre, Kalibos, Katar, Cadre

Known Relatives: Katar (son, deceased), Anya Laughton Gaunt (mother, deceased), Nick Gaunt ("Old Nick", father, deceased), Nick Gaunt Jr ("Young Nick", brother, deceased), Jake Gaunt (brother, deceased), Maite Laughton Gaunt ("Mouse", aunt/step-mother, presumed deceased), Joe Gaunt (half-brother, deceased), Jack Gaunt (uncle/alleged father, deceased)

Aliases: Grinner, Chaney

Base of Operations: Cynosure

First Appearance: (undentified, in shadows) "The Dogs of War", Warp #4 (First, 1983); (identified) Starslayer #10 (First, 1983)

Powers/Abilities: Gaunt has magical potential, but no control whatsoever "Long time back, old Maethe -- he taught me I didn't have what it takes to be a wizard. Said I had a warrior's soul -- too full of anger and violence!" (Gaunt, having just turned 50); "You have power, but not control! A wizard must have peace, order in his soul to control his power! You have power, but your soul cannot control it! You can unleash only chaos -- madness!!" (Spook, in response). One of the abilities he does display is summoning shades of the dead, manifesting his guilt as ghosts of people he has killed or feels responsible for having been killed capable of injuring those around him (these aren't the real thing, as one of the shades is his old friend Feetus, and as we find out when Gaunt dies, Feetus is happy in Heaven and not blaming John for anything).

History: "Call me mercenary. Call me assassin. Call me a villain. I am all that and more."

Born in the Pit

Sold into slavery in the arena, Gaunt became the second best fighter in the place after the legendary Dancer. Was a member of the Wolfpac. "It happened to me a long time ago. They nailed me for stealing and gave me a choice - I could fight in the arena or get my hand cut off. That's how I wound up in one of the gangs of child warriors they call Wolfpacs. We fought each other with sticks on the practice field until we became a team. Then we bled together on the sands of the arena for the pleasure of the crowd. Our opponents were wild animals or the occasional gladiator past his prime. Mostly we fought wolves.

Before I was nine I'd killed my first man. Before I was sixteen most of the kids I'd entered the Wolfpac with were dead. Some I'd killed myself. Those who survived the Wolfpac became gladiators. None of us strayed far from our origins. We were bred for violence; it's what we knew. What we know. What we do to make a living, in one form or another. In the end, there is no real escape from the Wolfpac."

Fought in the arena for thirteen years.

Fought in demon wars, went to Pdwyr - 20 years ago, Gaunt was in late twenties.

"There was a time in my life when I had lived with a wizard. He tried to teach me his wisdom. Those were the best days of my life. The wizard finally gave up - I had the soul of a warrior he told me. The violence that was my power came from within, and magic needed calm. Still, he taught me how to channel my mind and control it with certain disciplines."

Rode with Major Lash and the Lawkillers, becoming a Hard-Timer, a temporal bounty hunter. At this time in his life Gaunt was a "disturbed personality" to use his own description.

"He (Lash) found me when I was at my low ebb. The darkest days of my life. There was this woman... girl, really. Hell, I wasn't much more than a boy myself." "Her name was Rhian. She died in the Demon Wars. We never said good-bye. I could've saved her. That's fact lady; not just regret talking. But I was a foolish boy who thought he was a man. I thought I could save everyone. In the end all I could do was bury her.

After that, I fell in with the Major. He could play me like an instrument. I had to hide my feelings, riding with the Major. Learned a little too well; found I was getting a little too much like the Major to suit me. So I rode away."

Fifteen years before the start of the comic, the Dancer led the gladiators in an uprising to take command of the city.

Worked for transdimensional police, partnered with Roscoe. Left because he had "a disagreement with my commanding officer over how I interpreted the regulations." according to Gaunt. According to Roscoe it was because he couldn't hack the paperwork. Joined Cadre after he left the force.

Worked for Cadre, which was founded after the insurrection as a response to it - when left them arranged "peace treaty" with them to leave each other alone. joined Cadre when there were only twelve of them and they operated out of Mayfair's home, left when it had grown to be thousands strong.

Went freelance

Duped into staring the Trade Wars -  Dancer suggested to ACCE heir C'Janus to start covertly taking over the Council, using blackmail and bribes. Those who could not be controlled were removed - Honesworth's daughter was driven to suicide rather than be used as a tool for blackmailing her father while Seffington and the Shadow Cops were discredited - both cases involving Gaunt. C'Janus became patron of new Arena games run by Nasty Detmer, former Wolfpack member, which Dancer arranged knowing that Gaunt's hatred of employing children in Arena would cause him to become embroiled. Then had "patron" of games inform Gaunt of C'Janus involvement in Council and Wolfpac. Gaunt confronts C'Janus after arranging insurance - proof of attempt to take over council given to Feetus for safekeeping, to go to press if anything happens to Gaunt. But Katar murders Feetus and sends the letters immediately, initiating Trade Wars. Gaunt goes into the Dark, and hunts Katar down for the murder of Feetus. He finds him at Fort Leone, where Gaunt was stationed with Feetus during the Demon Wars. Katar is killed as Professor Mueller attempts to shut down the walls that protect Cynosure from the vortex. Gaunt goes on a shooting spree, firing madly, destroying both Mueller's machine and the controls that keep the fort aloft. He survives the crash but spends two weeks in a coma. He loses his left hand, which was badly injured when his gun exploded in it. Shortly after this he turns fifty. Gaunt's weapon block, designed by Uncle Willy.It is replaced with a weapon block designed by Uncle Willy, the weaponsmith (more complex device might not work in all parts of Cynosure.)

He later replaces this prosthetic with one of Kalibos' hands, which can work in any reality. He is approached by an old girlfriend and discovers that Katar was his son. Then he is forced to end Spook's existence, which plunges him into the Dark once more. Attacked by the Major and the Lawkillers, he confronts them in the cemetery where his brother's are buried. He kills Preacher and Grunt, but is himself killed by the Major. One of Professor Mueller's clones attempts to clone him, which nearly captures his departing soul. But Gaunt escapes, and is shocked to discover himself in Heaven - apparently in spite of his darker deeds, he always strove for the right. He is reunited with Gdeon, Maeve, Feetus, and most importantly of all, Rhian. He finds that Spook is in Limbo, awaiting rebirth, and that Katar has consigned himself to Hell.

Back in Cynosure the Dancer has animated his corpse in order to kill Blackjac with it. Watching this from Heaven, Grimjack is horrified to find out that if Blackjac dies at this point in his life, he will go to Hell. Gaunt cannot let this happen, and so he departs Heaven, animating the clone body he had previously spurned. Now he had a new, slightly younger body, though one that had no legal rights. Also he was less prone to the Dark, as he now knew his loved ones awaited him in Heaven.

Comments: He fights extremely dirty - as he says "I didn't get to be this old by being stupid." Can use lies and half truths with the best of them, but if given a taste of the actual truth must have it at all costs.

Gaunt is prone to being seized by a kind of brooding depression he refers to as the Dark. According to Blackjac "Gaunt got all this rage and hurt and pain, all this despair locked up inside him. What he comes from, what he has t'deal with regularly. It's never been easy for him t'talk 'bout how he's feeling. Sometimes it reaches up and drags him down and all he can see is evil. That's the Dark." While Gaunt is trapped in these fatalistic moods, nothing really matters to him, and if he is after someone he hates, he will go through anyone, even friends, to get to his quarry.

CLARIFICATIONS: None.

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

Back to US Independents Page

Home

All images and characters depicted on this site are copyright their respective holders, and are used for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.