Friday, January 26, 2007

Everything Old is New Again


I mentioned in an earlier post how I had stopped reading fantasy novels when I was eighteen or so and didn't come back to the genre until almost two decades later. That went for fantasy comics too. (It could be argued, I suppose that ALL comics are fantasy, but you know what I mean.) So I bailed on the Marvel Comics version of Conan with issue 84 or thereabouts. Now if I remember correctly, this wasn't entirely because of my new found interest in crime fiction. I think the art in the comic had something to do with it.
You see, one of my absolute favorite comic book artists is the late John Buscema. My own art style probably resembles his work more than any other single comics artist, with the possible exception of Jack Kirby. Anyway, Buscema had been the regular artist on the comic since I'd discovered it, and suddenly he was gone. In those pre-Internet days, comics fans didn't have immediate access to news and information form the comic book companies, so I had no idea if Buscema's departure was permanent or what.
The new penciler was Howard Chaykin. Now I like Chaykin's work, but he was apparently only doing layouts for Conan, to be finished out by inker Ernie Chan. Chan has never been one of my favorite inkers, and the combination of he and Chaykin just didn't work for me. So I bailed.
As it turns out, Buscema returned after about six issues, so I was a bit premature in my departure, but I'd have left soon anyway. Guys with swords were off my radar, replaced by guys with guns.
BUT, and this is the nifty part, Dark Horse comics is currently reprinting the Marvel Conan comics in trade paperbacks, and with the new volume, number 11, they have just passed the point where I stopped reading Conan the Barbarian. So last night I got to read a two part story that was for all intents and purposes, a NEW story to me. New Roy Thomas script. New penciling wonderment from big John Buscema. And yes, new inks by Ernie Chan. Can't have everything.

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