Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hyborian Page!

Barry Smith

This lush page of Conan imagery was first published in Marvel's Conan the Barbarain #22. The story, another exotic chapter in the Turanian War saga which closed out Barry Windsor-Smith's tenure on the regular comic was delayed when the artwork went missing in the mails, and a reprint of the debut issue of the series was published instead. To add some value to the package, the try-out page above was printed.

Barry Windsor-Smith

The redrawm story titled "The Shadow of the Vulture" was ultimately published in the very next issue, but under a less than satisfying Gil Kane cover. Another issue and Smith would be gone, his place taken by the rugged and reliable John Buscema, who went on to make Conan his own.

Gil Kane

But for all Buscema's many virtues, a certain indefinable magic disappeared from the series when Smith left, a magic which can be detected in a tiny way even in his earliest work on the character.

In my copy of this comic, the pin-up page is cut out, so it's a treat to get to see it. I don't remember whether I did the damage or got hold of the book afterwards. I suspect the latter, since for whatever reason Conan was very difficult to get around this time on the newsstands in my area. I missed a few of them.

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