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
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
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