Monday, October 24, 2011
Conan, the Controversial
The announcement that the creative team for Dark Horse Comics adaptation/expansion of Robert E. Howard's classic Conan story Queen of the Black Coast would be writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan has set the interwebs abuzz with comments, not surprisingly many of them uninformed and premature. Just from the few sketches and one color illo provided, I've heard Cloonan's version of Conan called everything from Emo Conan to Twilight Conan. Other comments attached to the art include pencil necked, too skinny, too manga, and too much eye makeup. Here's the deal folks. These are preliminary sketches. Let's wait and see what the comic book looks like.
I have a few reservations myself but I had some about Conan:Road of Kings artist Mike Hawthorne in the beginning and I ended up liking his version of Conan enough to buy a commission for Crom's sake. What did I learn from that? My knee jerk reaction isn't always an accurate one. (No, no. It's true.) I was familiar with Wood (more on that later) from his Viking series Northlanders. Cloonan I knew not at all. So I googled around and came up with enough of her artwork to see that she's very talented. I also have ordered her self published comic Wolves from her website, which she says is in the Conan genre. I'll review it when I get it.
The main positive thing I've noted from the sketches and art is there's a tremendous amount of energy and character to her drawing. I think Belit looks great, and since at least half the story is hers, that's a good thing. I would like to see some drawings of Conan and Belit together to get some scale however.
I've made no secret that John Buscema is THE Conan artist for me. He always will be. But that doesn't mean that I can't wrestle down the rabid fanboy who lives in the back of my brain who is screaming that anything that doesn't follow Buscema's lead is wrong. It's kind of like when another singer does a cover of a favorite song. If they stick too close to the original people call them unoriginal and if they stray too far, people say they've ruined the song.
So anyway, trying to keep an open mind here, just like I did with the Conan movie. Yeah it was awful, but I didn't decide that until I was sitting in the theater. So I plan to give Becky Cloonan's Conan a chance as well.
As far as Wood goes, my biggest concern is that he is admittedly not a long time fan and reader of Robert E. Howard. But I know he can write hard hitting comics and that's a start. I almost wish he were doing an original tale rather than an adaptation. Maybe later. Truthfully, at the moment, the writing concerns me more than the art, but again, let's give the guy a shot.