Thursday, October 20, 2016
Norman The Barbarian!
Norman the Barbarian is a satire with true bite. That's because frankly it's produced with such vitality and informed accuracy by the very artist whose style is being lampooned in the production. Barry (Not-Yet-Windsor) Smith grew by leaps and bounds stylistically as he produced the earliest issues of Marvel's surprise hit Conan the Barbarian. It was the birth of a franchise that would reap benefits for Marvel for decades. Smith left the title several times during the course of its run, sometimes by his own choice.
National Lampoon was an up and coming satire magazine at about this same time. And the confluence of events allowed for the creation of an exceedingly potent satire on all things Conan though the target is the controversial writer Norman Mailer. I won't comment on the story itself, save to caution one and all that National Lampoon was a magazine that held back few if any punches, especially in its early days. This is a prime example of what the magazine could do when it was operating on all cylinders. For what it's worth the Dojo presents "Norman the Barbarian".
Satire should never ask forgiveness and never beg for mercy. So whatever opinion you hold of the story above is valid. It makes its points and moves ahead. So will we.
I'm struck by the sheer craftsmanship that Smith brings to this work, right down the detailed imitation of Marvel's house style.