Conan Vol. 1 | Review


Published on Mar 27, 2019


Roy Thomas has had a very important role for what concerns the evolution of Marvel in the seventies. The then young student, Stan Lee, became manager of the publishing efforts of the brave that differed from those relating to the usual superheroes. Thomas, in fact, he knew that the magistrates in tights were back in fashion in the last decade thanks to the work of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and other extraordinary authors. However, the trend could also be concluded and Thomas think it right to propose a series of launch usually.

He focused, in particular, on the fantasy. Noticed that the books of Conan, the barbarian cimmero created by Robert E. Howard, they sold well and thought about any versions in the comics, able to attract the attention of the fans of sword & sorcery. In principle, the idea is not enthused Stan Lee, but Thomas began to explore the what, creating the first Arkon the Magnificent, a character similar to Conan, who appeared in an episode of the Avengers, and then Starr the Slayer, a forerunner of the Conan comics, in a register of the anthology Chamber of Darkness.

The readers are curious and, after having reached an agreement with the heirs of Howard Thomas was able to start the project of Conan. The texts were entrusted to him and the designer chosen was Barry Windsor-Smith, who at the time was signed simply by Barry Smith. He had already done something for Marvel but it was certainly not a star. In any case, they were the ones to make the first issue of Conan The Barbarian, and the rest, as they say, is history.

After a period broken, in fact, the comic-book prevailed, thanks to the compelling stories of Thomas and to the designs of Smith, who, episode after episode, became more and more sophisticated and personal. If initially, Barry was connected to the style of Kirby, still prevailing at Marvel, soon detached himself from it and revealed in his wonderful works to the influence of the aesthetic pre-raphaelite and art nouveau. His Conan, although a barbarian, he had a figure, graceful and the elegance, the refinement and the utmost care and attention to detail made Conan The Barbarian a milestone not only for the House of Ideas, but of american comics in general.

Panini Comics now publishes an Omnibus that includes the first historical twenty-six numbers of the comic-book. Thomas riot, describing, number after number, the world is dangerous and disturbing of the was hyboriana in which acts the barbarian. No shortage of monsters, evil wizards, dimensions, nether, women, sensual, and treacherous, and fights to the last blood. In short, lovers of heroic fantasy will have bread for their teeth. Between episodes it is important to mention that of the n. 6, Wings over Shadizar, considered one of the best Conan comics ever made.

In nn. 14/15 Thomas works even with the novelist Michael Moorcock, and with another writer James Cawthorn. The three tell a unusual team-up between Conan and another fundamental fantasy hero, Elric of Melniboné, created by Moorcock. It should be kept an eye on the no. 23, which marks the debut comic of the aggressive Red Sonja, destined to become one of the most beloved characters by fans. The designs of Smith, as I have already written, are always more precious and the last episodes are Art with a capital letter.

But there are other amazing penciler. The nn. 17/18 are illustrated by the extraordinary Gil Kane, which features his usual aggressive and punchy. The no. 21 is the result of the union of the talents of the sophisticated P. C. Russell and Val Mayerick. And in no. 26 meet John Buscema, which then will draw the largest number of stories of the barbarian. His Conan is more aggressive and rough, when compared to that of Smith, but it is really effective, and would later become a reference point for many designers, that will take care of the necklace.

The volume also includes the already-mentioned no. 4 of Chamber of Darkness, made by Thomas and Smith, who has Starr the Slayer, and then there are the nn. 1-4 of the anthology Savage Tales. In these adventures, Thomas and Smith give the best of himself, proposing situations of the most extreme and violent of those in the comic-book regular. The no. 2 sees the presence of Valeria, another charming warrior who will often appear in the adventures of Conan, and the no. 4 is drawn by another legend, the dark and striking Neal Adams.

In short, if you try this volume you will discover works of high quality.


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