So as a man who works in the rarefied environment of a comic shop there’s a good chance I read more comics than you. Luckily for you I am willing to share my wisdom with all you people with lives and proper jobs. Sometimes I find amazing comics. This week it was Conan the Barbarian.
The new series of Conan started this week. Conan is a well-established character I knew nothing about beyond some 80s movies with a guy who looked like a refugee from a Manowar cover (Arnold Schwarzenegger, pictured). So despite the fact that Dark Horse have been publishing Conan comics since the dawn of time, I had never been remotely interested.
But Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan are working on the new series, and this excited me. Wood has just finished one of the finest comic series I’ve ever read in DMZ and Cloonan is a great artist who has worked with Wood on various titles. Wood has done historical fantasy before with Northlanders, so is well qualified to write about giant dudes swinging axes at each other.
The story focuses on a roguish young Conan just at the beginning of his career in adventuring and dismembering people with a big sword. When the story begins, Conan is being chased by the Messentia court guards. He escapes by threatening a merchant ships captain with horrific violence. Mere panels later, they are best pals, because Conan is just so damn charming. After encounters with pirates (there are always pirates in these kinds of things; pirates or bandits) and a wonderfully drawn silent sequence I hit the end of the book and wanted more.
If you are looking for a swashbuckling adventure this is for you. Even if you don’t think you want a swashbuckling adventure but appreciate well-made comics this is for you. Also if someone could tell me the origin of the term swashbuckling I’d be grateful. I’ve been curious about it for a while.
Next time I will take you on a journey through the dark mindscape of Shaky Kane.
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