Of the entire Dark Horse run of original Conan graphic novels, Cimmeria (number 7) is perhaps the one with the thinnest grounding in Robert E. Howard’s stories—the entire basis for it is a mere sentence or two in the synopsis of Conan’s career—but it is as on-target as any of them with respect to the tone of Howard’s own work. Tim Truman has really managed to do justice to the legend.
Although collected from the individual issues of the ongoing Conan the Cimmerian comic book, this volume represents a well-integrated narrative, with a single story arc, or rather a double arc: Conan’s homecoming after his initial adventures outside Cimmeria is told in parallel with reminiscences about his grandfather Connacht’s travels. Art duties are divided on these lines between Giorello (Conan) and Corben (Connacht). Also included are some splendid pieces of art from the individual comics covers as drawn by Frank Cho.
Anyone interested approaching Conan in the comics medium for the first time could begin here quite profitably. And for those like me who have been reading Conan comics of one sort or another for decades, this book has a lot to offer that is both new, and also deeply reflective of the highest quality of what’s come before. [via]
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The House On the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, adapted to graphic novel by Simon Revelstroke and Richard Corben, with Introduction by Alan Moore.
This graphic novel version of Hodgson’s novel takes many liberties with the original narrative. All of the characters are younger than in the original, the setting is some 40 years later, and the framing story of the two men who discover the crucial manuscript is changed and made more violent. The nameless recluse of the original is given a name, for some reason, and his dead beloved and his live sister are telescoped into a single character, with jarring effects. Additional sexual elements have been added, evidently to gratify Corben’s desire to depict them (I won’t gainsay the impulse). A visionary coda reveals a great arcanum absent from the original.
The story that results is in some ways more integrated and easier to follow than Hodgson’s 1908 novel, but part of the charm of the original (to me) was its unwieldiness and unresolved enigmas. This version piles horror upon horror with a steady pace, and Corben’s illustrations communicate that very well.
Alan Moore’s introduction does not address the present adaptation, but rather the original story by Hodgson, and it is a good read of its own, though brief. [via]
This graphic novel collects the first four issues of Daniel Way’s 2009 reboot of Roy Thomas’s 1970 Conan knockoff Starr the Slayer. The 21st-century version is an “adult” fantasy title from Marvel Comics’ “Max” imprint. Richard Corben furnishes the art in his inimitable style. The story is very suited to Corben’s work; it is a profanity-riddled barbarian-boy-makes-good adventure, with the narration provided in rhyming doggerel throughout by a ludicrous minstrel. Complication is provided by a hack pulp writer “Len Carson” (Thomas’ creation), who is supposed to have invented the barbarian and his world, becoming enslaved by a fictional villain he created; thus the evil sorcerer Trull effectively has the demiurge as his thrall. This metaficitonal opus is sort of what you might get if a drunken 19-year-old D&D player tried to write James Branch Cabell’s The Cream of the Jest.
This slender volume is a fast read, full of disgusting violence, nudity, and general hilarity. [via]