One Mad Dog


[Conan Vol. 4: The Hall of the Dead and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek,Cary Nord, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman)
August 2, 2012, 8:45 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Cary Nord, Conan The Barbarian, Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman
  • Chapters 1 and 2 : Kurt Busiek
  • Chapters 3, 4 and 5 : Mike Mignola
  • Chapters 6 and 7: Timothy Truman

“Hall of the Dead” is another solid Conan novel that continues the style and pace from the previous three.   Despite a change of authors throughout this volume it manages to have a consistent feel which is in doubt helped by Cary Nord’s great artwork.  It is easy to spot Mike Mignola’s work as he takes things off in a slightly Lovecraft direction (Dare I say plague of frogs ?) but this only adds to the books appeal.

Like volume 3 this book concentrates on Conan’s exploits as a thief and it matches him up against all manner of enemies and situations. It is essential that the reader has read the previous 3 volumes before reading this one if they are to gain maximum enjoyment.

“Hall of the Dead” is good value and has great artwork and story. There are also some nice extras from Mike Mignola in the back of the book which include cover art and a very interesting article on the relationship between Howard and Lovecraft.  (ISBN-13: 978-1593077754). 8/10

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[Conan Vol. 3: The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek,Cary Nord, Mike Kaluta)
July 2, 2012, 10:38 pm
Filed under: 8 Stars, Cary Nord, Conan The Barbarian, Kurt Busiek, Mike Kaluta, Uncategorized

“The Tower of the Elephant” continues on at full pace from the previous two Dark Horse volumes in another enjoyable and well crafted Conan tale. Tower of the Elephant concentrates on Conan’s development as a professional thief and culminates in a strange encounter with an alien being in the Elephant Tower. This third volume also deals with Conans attempts to understand and integrate into big city lifestyle which seems totally alien to him. Just like the previous two Dark Horse Conan volumes this is a very easy story to read, has witty dialog and moves along at good pace.

Cary Nord’s art is top notch and despite his some strange aspects the overall look captures the world of Conan admirably. I particularly liked his backdrops and landscapes which are a key part of the book.  Sometimes Nord’s faces are a bit unusual with the characters looking like they have grotesque smiles (Not quite Steve Templesmith strange but strange non the less). I also noticed that Conan himself can look quite different from one panel to another but is still instantly recognizable.  This does not detract at all from the story especially as Nord seems to dedicate much of his bandwidth to rendering voluptuous scantily clad female supporting characters. The book also features Mile Kaluta drawing a several page flash back sequence and although the art is good it doesn’t shine like Nord’s work.

“The Tower of the Elephant” is a great read and is highly recommended if you enjoyed the first two volumes.  You might not like it if you are offended by nudity but as this is an integral part of the Barbarian lifestyle you probably wouldn’t have picked up a Conan book in the first place. ISBN-13: 978-1593075477. 8/10



[Conan: Born on the Battlefield : Vol. 0] – (Kurt Busiek, Greg Ruth)
November 23, 2010, 7:47 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Conan The Barbarian, Greg Ruth, Kurt Busiek

This is an original Conan work, based upon ideas and letters to fans from Ron E Howard,  that Busiek has masterfully crafted into a prequel of the Conan mythology. It feels and reads just like a Howard Conan book which is a great achievement. The book tells the story of  Conan’s early life, from his birth on a Cimmerian battlefield to his coming-of-age as a warrior in the pivotal Battle of Venarium. His youthful adventures have a stark realism to them and Conan is portrayed as a vulnerable boy with the seed of something special rather than some sort of all conquering superhero.

“Born on the Battlefield” works so well because  the settings and supporting characters are lavished with exceptional detail.  Placing the young Conan in such a well crafted world allows his character to develop in a believable but no less impressive way.  The book has a very historical feel to it and the drama is more intense than is the norm for the high fantasy genre. I found it to be a very enjoyable read.

This book has a different, more gritty, artistic style to the work of Cary Nord. It uses a somber color pallette  and has a much darker  feel to it. I prefer a crisper look to my comic book art but Ruth’s work it is appropriate to the story and his style captures movement and action very well. This TPB should appeal to any fans of Dark Horse’s Conan books and I believe it is a good as any I have read. [ISBN-13: 978-1593079819]. 8/10



[Conan Volume 2: The God in the Bowl and Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek,Cary Nord)
April 28, 2010, 3:35 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Cary Nord, Conan The Barbarian, Kurt Busiek
There are many Graphical novels that are quite a challenge to read. They often have confusing cluttered artwork and convoluted story lines. This is not one of them. Conan, God In The Bowl is a straight forward classic adventure tale with a bit of murder mystery thrown in for good measure. The artwork is perfectly suited to the subject matter and great to look at. The character of Conan is built up nicely from the first volume and I found it difficult to put the book down once I started. [ISBN-13: 978-1593074036]. 8/10.


[Conan Volume 1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter And Other Stories] – (Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord)
April 28, 2010, 3:30 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Cary Nord, Conan The Barbarian, Kurt Busiek
I really enjoyed this book. The story was well written and it captured Conan perfectly. The artwork was beautifully colored and a pleasure to look at. It is done without bold inks so the images have a bit of a water color look to them. At first I found them to look a little lacking in detail but I soon warmed to the lush style. Nice biography of Howard at the end too. [ISBN-13: 978-1593073015]. 8/10.