Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Savage Sword of Conan Returns!

Dark Horse Comics has just put out the first volume of reprints of The Savage Sword of Conan. In the mid 1970s, Conan The Barbarian was one of Marvel Comics top selling comics, and they launched a second title, The Savage Sword of Conan, which was a magazine size comic in black and white, featuring artwork and stories from some of the top names in comics: Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Jim Starlin, Walter Simonson, and more. The stories tended to me more "adult" in that they were more violent and showed nudity, but at their core, they were just great sword & sorcery stories (frequently adapted from Robert E. Howard's original stories) in a graphic format.

When I was little, my older cousin had all the "adult" comics I was not supposed to read: Heavy Metal, Tales of the Zombie, Tomb of Dracula, Rampaging Hulk, Creepy, Eerie, and Savage Sword of Conan. I'd always sneak peaks at them when I could. Once I was old enough to buy them, the only ones that were still being published (or were sold where I could find them) were Heavy Metal and Savage Sword of Conan. I got hooked on Savage Sword somewhere in the mid 1980s, around issue 128 or so. While the magazine cost twice as much as a regular comic and was black & white (at the time I was reading the comics for fun, and color seemed "better"), it was one of my favorites. It was big (both page size and overall length) and always had several stories in each issue. The art was usually very well done, and a benefit of the b&w was that the pencils and inks were able to really show fine detail that color comics would lose in the coloring process. The covers were always great painted pieces featuring Conan doing what Conan did best-fighting monsters, jumping with his sword held high, saving the beautiful woman wearing little clothing from a giant ape, chopping off the head of a bandit, and so on. Big exciting action pieces were the norm, just like the stories.
Now that Dark Horse is reprinting The Savage Sword of Conan, I'll be able to read all the stories that came out before I bought the magazine, and once it catches up to where I started buying it, I can reread all the stories that I read and reread until the issues fell apart. I have the first volume sitting right next to me, and I can't wait!

1 comment:

Professor Pope said...

I'll have to check this out. I love the new Conan from Dark Horse, even as I am disappointed they seem to be getting all gimicky and restarting the series after issue 50.