Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The Coming Of Conan!
The intoxicating cover by Barry (Not-Yet-Windsor)Smith and the late John Verpoorten for Conan the Barbarian #1 has been featured here a few times. I love how Smith approached this project with gusto and panache. He's unafraid to throw all his youthful vigor into an image which, while it might lack grace in some places, is not shortchanged in action or drama. In a wonderful variation of the classic Frazetta pose which decorated the first Lancer Conan paperback, this image of Conan is active, but nonetheless stands astride a beautiful woman who lingers around his knees. The action around him is furious and chaotic. This scene might in fact be a moment before the classic sedate and ominous Frazetta image.
The closest we'll likely get to seeing Barry Smith's original artwork is this cover for Marvelmania Magazine minus the Verpoorten inks. Here there is a a raw energy to the black and white presentation which is seen in full.
The classic cover has been reprinted dozens of times by Marvel and other publishers around the world. Here are some I have been lucky enough to gather up from across the globe.
Here's a painting which uses Smith's art as its inspriation.
And here is a recent homage by John Romita Jr. for a cover of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. It has some of the vigor of the original, but misses its charm somehow.