Sunday, May 17, 2009

Buy This Axe...

The sixth and final issue of Dark Horse Comics' minis series Kull, came out this week, bringing a close to an adaptation of what many consider to be the first sword & sorcery story, Robert E. Howard's The Shadow Kingdom. As fond as I am of the Dark Horse monthly Conan title, I think this may be the finest adaptation of a REH yarn that Dark Horse has produced so far.
Freed of the constraints of having to make the adaptation fit into the continuity of a monthly title, writer Arvid Nelson was able to take Howard's story and turn it into a lean, fast moving comics script. I thought he did a good job of not only sticking to Howard's story, but of not loosing the power and momentum of a Howard yarn. Sometimes the Conan adaptations lose a lot of impact as they are stretched or molded to fit into continuity.
The art is great too. I had enjoyed Will Conrad's art on the earlier Conan mini-series, Conan and the Midnight God, but he seems to have improved a great deal since that series. The art on Midnight God seems a bit more cartoonish and not as fully developed. On Kull, Conrad is a powerhouse. His figures are lithe and muscular, his faces are expressive and have individual features,(as opposed to the cookie cutter faces of many comics artists) and his panel to panel storytelling helps propel things along. I hope Dark Horse plans to use Conrad for further Robert E. Howard properties in the future. Anyway, as you can probably tell, I was very taken with Kull. If you missed it, don't worry. Dark Horse will be collecting the mini series into a trade paperback soon so you can get the whole story in one lump. I'll be buying a copy.

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