mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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By Crom & Nodens! (1)

The Savage Sword of Conan, Volume 1 by Robert E. Howard, Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, John Buscema, Pablo Marcos, Alfredo Alcala, Tony De Zuniga, Sonny Trinidad, Alex Ninno, Tim Conrad, Young Montano, Jess Jodloman, et al.

where sits, on a gilded throne,
the barbarian.

This was given to me by fordmadoxfraud for Xmas-- one of the giant black & white collections, the equivalent to one of Marvel's Essentials. 544 pages long, fifteen issues in length, it is a monster. The Conan depicted here is much closer to the pop culture's perception of "Conan the Barbarian" then the actual Conan from the Robert E. Howard stories. Thomas' is much more the savage & the brute-- whereas Howard's is the rejection of civilization, & has an inherent nobility that Thomas' lacks. Over all, I thought that Roy Thomas' scripts were...well, way more misogynistic than Howard's text, for one. Not that Robert E. Howard writes anything that a feminist would really applaud, but characters like Valeria & Bêlit provide some agency for women-- & while Valeria is here, & Thomas' own creation Red Sonja, the vast majority of female characters are...well, literal prostitutes. With the occasional queen to play damsel & then fall into his arms. Not just Whore/Madonna complex, but also a constant threat of sexual violence. Not to my taste, to say the least. I think Thomas took a magnifying lens to the less savory elements of Howard's work. That being said, there were two stories that really stood out for me-- "Black Colossus" is one, with its demonic camel & half-ape charioteer? Magnificent. "The Forever Phial" is the other, with its fourth-wall breaking suicidal sorcerer. Tim Conrad's Conan isn't my favorite, but the rest of the art is great. The art over all really makes it; you can see how it set the stage in the zeitgeist for what "Conan" means.
Tags: books, comics, conan, haiku, howard

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