Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Conan The Comic Strip!
At the apex of his comic book popularity Conan the Barbarian, Robert E. Howard's lusty and murderous Cimmerian, devoid of modern morals and beliefs was deemed proper fare for the newspaper reading public. The Conan the Barbarian comic strip ran for several years beginning in 1979 and was produced by the same outstanding crew that produced many of the comic books - Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Ernie Chan.
With a team like that it's difficult to see how Conan failed to find firm footing in the syndicated realm, but he did and so these strips have become, like so much of the Conan material Marvel produced a high-water mark for the Cimmerian in comics form. For my money, no combination of talents, and they have been impressive from time to time, have been able to distill into comic book form REH's barbarian hero more successfully than did Thomas and Buscema.
To that end I was eager to see the comic strips reproduced by Dark Horse and gathered together in an over-sized volume. But a glance tells you this was done without the due care necessary to make this collection truly collectible. With a thirty dollar price tag I've let this one sit on the shelves for years, disdainful of the disrespect show the great work of Buscema and Chan by the editors who put this book out. It's really terrible in many ways.
But I still wanted to read these stories, and so when I found this volume severely reduced in price I haggled an even lower price and picked it up for just about what you'd pay for a single modern comic. At that level I can justify having it and if not overlook the shoddiness of the product at least know I got it for a relative song.
It's a shame it couldn't have been done better -- a damn shame.