The Newcomer's Guide to Robert E. Howard

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Conan in Comics

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How about the comics, should I check them out?

You definitely should. Some of the Conan comics are near word-for-word adaptations of the original stories, and authors like Roy Thomas have done a good job adhering to Howard’s tone, style and canon. The modern comics from Dark Horse by Kurt Busiek and Timothy Truman are also of excellent quality, and I don’t doubt Roy Thomas’ run on the upcoming Conan: The Road of Kings will also be top notch.

Do you have any particular recommendations?

Certainly!

The Chronicles of Conan, Volumes 1 – 14. The original trailblazing saga by Roy Thomas, these were the first comics to show that Howard’s prose could be translated to a visual medium and retain their power and eloquence. Avoid anything after, until Dark Horse get to Thomas’ second run, which will be a few years yet.

The Savage Sword of Conan, Volumes 1 – 5. Much less constrained by the draconian measures of the Comics Code Authority, The Savage Sword of Conan could afford to show much more violence, nudity and moral ambiguity than the earlier Conan the Barbarian. Some of the Howard adaptations in Savage Sword are among the finest ever. Once again, avoid anything after Thomas’ run.

Conan and Conan the Cimmerian (ongoing). While I and others have some misgivings about Busiek and Trumans’ interpretation of the original stories and world, there’s no doubting that their intentions are true, and many diehard Howard fans are completely satisfied with their work. One of the neatest sub-series is The Frazetta Cover Series: this excludes the extraneous pastiche material, and includes only the Howard adaptations, with fantastic Frazetta artwork adorning the cover.

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Written by alharron

22 December, 2010 at 10:01 pm