Once upon a time there was a boy named Eddie who was so gifted physically and mentally that his every goal was attained with careless ease. This led to a life of pride and despair, as nothing had any real meaning attached to it. Thus he formulated a new life of challenges for himself. Eddie became Hunter Rose, wealthy novelist and playboy by day, crime lord and costumed assassin by night. It was this latter role as “Grendel” that lived long after his death at the hands of a Native American man-wolf named Argent.
So we are told in the stories by writer/ artist Matt Wagner, creator of Grendel. The character debuted in 1982’s Comico Primer #2 and continued first in his own series, then (when publisher Comico began to experience financial difficulties, resulting in the cancellation of Grendel) as a backup story in the pages of Wagner’s more heroic creation Mage.
Interest in Grendel rose (no pun intended) due to his appearances in Mage and resulted in a new ongoing series. By this time Hunter Rose had become a dark legend, spread by the (fictional) biographical novel Devil by Deed written by Christine Spar (daughter of Rose’s adoptive daughter Stacy Palumbo). When Spar’s son is kidnapped by (no, I’m not making this up) a Vampire Kabuki dancer, Spar becomes the first to take up the mask of Grendel after Rose, initially in a quest to rescue her son, then in a quest to pretty much shish kebab every Tom, Dick, Harry or Sally she comes across. And thus the legend became a legacy.