You shut your filthy whore mouth
This is a nice way of putting it. This is also why I liked Tynion’s Detective Comics run so much.
Conan the Barbarian 1
First impression - I feel Ribic cover art wasn’t strong enough to launch this title. The cover is too indistinct, as is his generic rendering of Conan. It lacks boldness and the colours are rather muted - that was a disappointing art choice.
Beyond that, the map on the inside was nice touch, as was the opening collage of images from past Conan books in his various depictions - all which far greater capture his essence far better than the cover art they went with.
This collage tells me that Aaron is going to take the approach of reading and distilling the previous runs in to this new launch.
Mahmud Asrar is a brilliant artist, one Marvel’s best, but he’s been criminally badly utilised and he’s been misused completely here.
When you open the first story page it’s like opening a page of a Thor book or some other Marvel book. Conan shouldn’t look like the rest of the Marvel universe, he’s a force of nature. The tone is off here. Even the colour palate is a poor choice. The origin here of Conan being born on the battlefield is completely undercooked. It should be powerful and terrible and instead it is not even the first thing the reader is drawn to, only when I read the words did I understand what was going on with the baby. Despite the attempt to push the birth into the foreground. The page is too busy and the eyes are drawn to the action. I can’t work out whether it is meant to be two panels or one. It’s a poor composition.
I don’t know who editor Mark Basso is, but he should have been on top of this stuff.
As for the script, I found it a bit pedestrian and filled with posturing and exposition. It also felt very similar to how Aaron writes Thor in some ways.
This fell a bit flat for me, a bit of a missed opportunity for some R Rated Barbarian romp.
Maybe it’s the mood I’m in but I felt my eyes just glazed over and I lost interest very quickly.
Scarlet #5 - to be honest, I’m not sure I completely follow what was happening here; the events of this issue are quite the departure from prior events. I’m still on board for the next mini, but Bendis/ Maleev need to wrap this up quickly, as this book is bordering very close to jumping the proverbial shark territory now.
BPRD: Devil You Know #12 - Laurence Campbell is probably my favourite artist in the Mignolaverse (excluding anyone called Mike). His work is so detailed, and atmospheric. It’s gorgeous. So happy that he’s done the bulk of the work on this climatic chapter of this universe.
Conan, the Barbarian #1 - the last time this title was on the shelves, it was published by Dark Horse, written by Brian Wood and had artwork by Becky Cloonan, James Harren, Declan Shavley, and others. It was brilliant (a highly recommended, self contained run, that you should all read if you haven’t done so already!). The new Marvel title was going to have its work cut out trying to meet that standard. I don’t think it quite makes it. It is a fine debut issue, but it was all a bit formulaic and safe. Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar are a formidable creative team. I trust that they can knock me off my feet, but I need more than what was delivered here. I’ll give it a few more issues.
The story did feel a bit like the standard Conan story, nothing mind blowing, but I still enjoyed it. But I agree with you on the map and the collage, they were brilliant touches.
Every comic is enhanced by a map. More maps.
Grant Morrison is going to write a comic with just maps, but they’re different maps of different locations and randomly put together. It won’t lead to anywhere nor make sense but his fans will say it’s not the destination, but the journey. Everyone else will just feel lost.
Actually those were all really clever meta references to old maps in comics from 1973. If you’d read up on them then maybe you’d understand.
It’s interesting what others liked/didn’t like about the new Conan book.
I didn’t really care for the collage as it seemed like more of a nostalgia thing for the old comics. I thought the story was very much a Conan story much more akin to the books than carrying on a comic adaptation. Part of that includes walking a well worn path. There is a certain repetition/cadence to Conan stories that almost read like myths. I think Aaron does something similar with Thor for obvious reasons which might be why some have made that correlation. Maybe that is my difference in that I’m more connected to the Robert E. Howard stories (or the Schwarzenegger film) than any particular comic adaptation whereas, it sounds like most readers here would be more connected to previous comic incarnations. I also don’t think this was ever going to be an R rated affair.
The map of Conan’s world didn’t particularly excite or bother me as I’ve seen it several times. It pretty obviously coincides with the real-world map of the Eastern Hemisphere with some somewhat stereotypical associations.
I also really like Mahmud Asrar. He is one of the reasons I picked up the book. I loved his run on X-Men: Red and dropped once he left the book. Marvel seem to have a really odd policy with artists anymore. It’s almost like they try to keep them from building a reputation so they don’t have to pay them more or they won’t leave for Image or DC. Even their stable of great artists seem criminally underused and only on a book for a first few issue stunt stint.
And Alan Moore made a map in the 90s
I don’t think I’ve read any Conan comics, other than the Marvel mini series adaptation of the movie. I am pretty sure I’ve read some Conan books but it was around twenty years ago and don’t recall much. Are there any you’d recommend?
Several years ago, Del Rey started a series of collections grouping Robert E. Howard’s stories that were mostly originally shorts published in magazines. I started reading them but don’t remember where I left off. They are arranged chronological to publishing not Conan’s life and the stories skip around to various points in his timeline even within some stories. They are diminishing returns after a while as there is a lot of repetition by nature. The first book is really great though and has a lot of my favorites that I read, The Phoenix on the Sword, The Frost-Giant’s Daughter, The God in the Bowl, The Tower of the Elephant, Queen of the Black Coast, Black Colossus, Rogues in the House, etc.
Del Rey also did a series of Moorcock’s Elric stories in publication order.
TBH, I thought they were kind of a mess, and that they would have been better served in internal chronological order.
I like that the Conan stories shift around chronologically. I mean the very first story, The Phoenix in the Sword starts with Conan as king and plays into other parts of his life. I think it’s part of the charm of the character that you know he was all of these things and stories weave in and out of that.
Every decade or so, some publisher gets the rights to the REH catalog and releases a new series of trades or paperbacks collecting his prodigious amount of short pulp stories. And every decade or so, I buy everything they publish. The (relatively) recent DelRey collections are a classy package.
I loved the original REH comics published by Marvel throughout the 70s, including the black ‘n’ white magazines (Savage Tales, Savage Sword of Conan, Kull and the Barbarians); and I think Dark Horse did a great job carrying the torch throughout the 21st century – but now that the rights have been transferred back to Marvel, I think I’m done.
Conan could probably work like that; I haven’t read the Del Rey collections yet, though I think I have them.
I tried to read the Elric ones, but I preferred the order from the DAW series as there is a definite narrative thrust in the Elric saga.
I can understand how you might be less and less likely to pick up “new” material over time. There is a lot of repetition. I tend to dip in and out of Conan material as it goes. I read some of the Dark Horse material when it first started but left off after a couple storyarcs. I think DH over proliferated with multiple titles but it looks like Marvel is going that direction even quicker. So I’ll probably be out quicker.
I think the proposed crossovers with modern Marvel characters is what turned me off.
Ya. I’ll probably be out after the first arc. The initial creative team of Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar was the draw for me. I’m probably out once Asrar finishes.
Elric is another series I’ve always wanted to try but just haven’t yet.