Friday, November 03, 2006

Barbarians and Jungle Lords

I have a pen and ink illustration on my wall by comics artist Thomas Yeates. It shows Conan the Barbarian, holding an axe and pointing off camera. Beside him stands Tarzan of the Apes, looking at whatever Conan is pointing to and nocking an arrow into his bow. Many times I have looked at that drawing, wondering what these two iconic characters are looking at. When I commissioned the drawing from Yeates, I simply told him I wanted Tarzan and Conan, two characters he had drawn for the comics, and that I didn't want them fighting each other, a standard comic book cliche. What I got back was an amazingly detailed black and white illustration.
I have often thought to write a story explaining what brought these two heroes together, across thousands of years, and what menace they are facing. Of course Tarzan and Conan are both trademarked characters, so anything I wrote using them would be fan fiction at best, but recently I've begun to think of Philip Jose Farmer's Lord of the Trees, which teamed thinly disguised versions of Tarzan and Doc Savage, and it occurs to me that I could create my own jungle lord and barbarian savage. Today I thought of an opening scene. We'll see where that takes me.

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