|First appearance||Grimjack #2 (September 1984)|
|Created by||John Ostrander|
|Notable characters||John Gaunt|
Munden's Bar is a fictional bar featured in the First Comics title Grimjack. It is also the title of the back-up feature that ran in the Grimjack title for most of the first 69 issues and also received two annuals of its own, each mixing new stories and reprints. Munden's Bar is the operation area of John Gaunt and is located in the Pit, a slum area of Cynosure, a pan-dimensional city to which all dimensions connect.
Although many Munden's Bar episodes were written by Grimjack creator John Ostrander, the feature was a showcase for many other writers' talents. Notable people who wrote multiple Munden's Bar stories include Kim Yale, Phil Foglio, Timothy Truman, Peter B. Gillis, and Stephen D. Sullivan. A selection of Munden's Bar stories were co-written by Ostrander and comedian Del Close, whom Ostrander knew from the Chicago theater scene. Close co-wrote Munden's Bar stories in Grimjack issues #3, 4, 8, 10, 17, 22, 25, 28, 35, and 42. (Ostrander and Close went on to co-create the DC Comics weird horror series Wasteland, from 1987 to 1989.)
Artists for the Munden's Bar stories included Rick Veitch, Stephen R. Bissette, Hilary Barta, Joe Staton, Steve Rude, Don Lomax, Rick Burchett, Jerry Ordway, Terry Beatty, William Messner-Loebs, John Totleben, Phil Foglio, Jim Valentino, Steve Erwin, Brian Bolland, Timothy Truman, Howard Bender, Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird, Colleen Doran, Fred Hembeck, Stan Sakai, Tom Artis, Jill Thompson, Jan Duursema, Gordon Purcell, Larry Marder, Sam Kieth, John Statema, Matt Feazell, Steve Moncuse, Dave Hoover, Ted McKeever, Steve Purcell, Peter Krause, Don Simpson, Tony Akins, Gary Chaloner, Reed Waller, Tom Sutton, Batton Lash, and Evan Dorkin.
With issue #70, the feature was replaced by Youngblood, which delved more deeply into John Gaunt's past, especially his childhood. In the letter column, creator John Ostrander explained that he was temporarily pulling the Munden's series because it had gotten away from what he wanted it to be, but added that it would return upon the completion of Youngblood. As First ceased conventional comic book publishing at that point, several stories completed under Ostrander's new guidelines were released as a second annual, which also included a reprint of the Turtles episode (the first annual had been mostly reprints).
In contrast to the dark tone of the title character, Munden's Bar stories were often light-hearted and comedic in tone, although occasionally they could be as dark as or darker than the feature story. Munden's stories were usually stand-alone and were rarely related to the lead story.
The lighter tone of the back-up feature sometimes led to the stories becoming repositories for sight gags, often referencing other comic book and pulp fiction characters. Among the patrons seen in Munden's were someone resembling The Shadow, armored men resembling various iterations of Iron Man, an anthropomorphic bat and cat couple called Bruce and Selina, and a dead ringer for Keith Giffen's Ambush Bug.
The feature brought some notoriety to the series with the appearance, in Grimjack #26, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — their first color story. Other characters, from other creators, publishers, and media — such as Ms. Tree, Space Ghost, Nexus, Badger, Elektra, Wolverine, Phoenix, Starslayer, E-Man, Ted Baxter, Lou Grant, Usagi Yojimbo, Bing Crosby, Sam & Max, Santa Claus, Wolff and Byrd, Milk & Cheese, and Omaha the Cat Dancer — made appearances in Munden's Bar.
- see also List of characters in Grimjack
- John Gaunt—Owner.
- Gordon Munden—Manager. Took over the bar following Gaunt's first and, presumably, second death.
- Harry Martin—Part-time bartender. An old friend of Gordon's, Gordon hired Harry after rescuing him from the demonic brothel "The House of Lillith".
- James Twilley—Gaunt reincarnated. Reclaimed the bar from Skorzy.
- Skorzy—Owned the bar in Twilley's time. Demoted to bartender, and then fired after repeatedly conspiring against Twilley.
- Jason Nines—Sentient robot and high school friend of Twilley's. Became bartender after faking his "death".