Tug's Pick of the Week
This weekís pick is one of those rare moments when I choose a book that I havenít read beforehand. I base these untested picks on previous issues, online previews, my general excitement about the book, or money from publishers. (Just kidding on that last one.) This weekís pick comes to us all the way from the Hyborean Age! Thatís right ó itís Dark Horseís Conan # 1.
Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith first brought Robert E. Howardís Cimmerian barbarian to the four-color world of comics back in the ' 70s. That Marvel series was something of a revolution, even claimed by many to be the first Bronze Age comic. Suddenly there was this savage, lusty, and downright conniving barbarian in a loincloth sitting on the shelves next to Superman.
Now Conan is returning to take the shelves back, by force if necessary. Kurt Busiek (Marvels, Astro City, Avengers Forever) is writing the scripts for the new series, all of which are based on the original Robert E. Howard stories ó much like Roy Thomas did during the earlier series. If the Conan # 0 preview issue is any indication, then we can expect some really great writing from Busiek that stays true to Howardís vision of the character without seeming like a stale copy of it. Really and truly, thereís not much that hasnít already been said about Kurt Busiek, but just in case you didnít know, heís one of the best writers working in comics today. His Arrowsmith series with Carlos Pacheco is a book that is far too often overlooked.
The real star of Conan, though, will probably be artist Cary Nord. He draws Conan with just the right touch of brutality, so that heís a hero the reader can pull for but still be scared of. Thatís what Conanís all about. Iíve never been much of one for lots of blood and gore in comics and video games and such, but Nord manages to make Conan a bloody book without overemphasizing the grossness of it. Check out the online previews linked at the bottom of this article; when he chops that guyís head off, itís such a strangely beautiful image.
Dark Horseís Conan # 1 looks like it will be a great reintroduction to the character through the medium that allowed him to gain more popularity than any other. If youíre a Conan fan, then you wonít want to miss it. If youíre not a Conan fan, then youíre already missing out. Jump on the train!
If you want to go back and check out the old Marvel series, Dark Horse has recently begun reprinting them as the Chronicles of Conan. The volumes feature brilliant re-coloring by Digital Chameleon. While purists will be upset to lose the original coloring, the truth is that there is no better way to make this more accessible and exciting to audiences today. There are three volumes out, and they are all available in our Essential Graphic Novel section, which is restocked every Wednesday. So if we donít have it in stock on the day you visit, check back with us.
Check out these links for preview images from Conan # 0, 1, and 2: