Written by: Robert E. Howard with adaptation by Kurt Busiek
Penciled by: Cary Nord and Thomas Yeates
Inked by: Cary Nord and Thomas Yeats
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Editor: Scot Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Living in Texas, I have somewhat a unique perspective on this book. Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, was a Texan. And having driven across the state more times than I can care to count, it is easy to see how the landscape might have inspired him to think of olden times and simpler ways. There’s even a town called Krom in the north central part of the state, which rumor has it was the inspiration for the name of Conan’s dark and morose god.
What does this have to do with Dark Horse’s new book? Precious little, save that landscape is a great part of the book as it is a part of Howard’s surroundings. This book is gorgeously illustrated in a style that is low on inking and heavy on shading. The artwork looks as if it genuinely came off an old scroll written by some scholar of ancient times recanting an ancient tale. The dialogue too is render thus, with typewritten characters providing the narration (as if Howard himself were typing directly to us) while the characters speak in typical comic-balloon fashion. Though for some reason, the words seem much bolder than usual….
This new Conan series, the first regular one in quite some time, promises to directly adapt Howard’s surprisingly small number of Conan stories for the comic’s page, similar to what Roy Thomas did in many of the early issues of the original Marvel Comics Conan series. This is not just to appease the many rabid Howard fans who scorn any and all original Conan stories outside of the Howard cannon, but also to establish the original and definitive version of the character. Busiek does a masterful job of adapting Howard’s words and purists will be pleased to see that nothing (as best as I can tell with my passing familiarity of Howard’s works) has been changed.
Newbies rest assured that this book will be enjoyable event to those with no familiarity with the character. The major parties and the basics of Conan’s character are introduced within a few pages and the story is very accessible even if you missed the first two issues. This book is one of my favorites right now and if you give it a shot, it could quickly become one of yours as well.