Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Savage Memories #2


If you read my first installment of Savage Memories, you learned of my discovery of Marvel's black & white magazine, Savage Tales and how I saw, in that issue, an advertisement for the upcoming Savage Sword of Conan magazine. I ended that post without saying whether or not I managed to get that first coveted issue of Savage Sword when it reached the stands. The answer is...no. Never even saw it. If any copies showed up at Blair's Food Town, the supermarket where I got most of my comics in the 1970s, I never saw them. Later I learned that they tended to only get two copies each of the various Marvel black & white mags. If I saw them and didn't have enough money on me to buy them, (My mom would spring for a 25 cents color comic but not a magazine that went for a buck.) I did what countless comic book fans have done for years. I hid them behind the stacks of Good Housekeeping and Sports Illustrated until I could get back with the cash. The trick was to go grocery shopping with my grandmother. She would buy all the comics I wanted without batting an eye, and better yet, she never even glanced at them, so the somewhat gory/sexy SSoC covers slipped right by.
Anyway, several months passed and I didn't see any issues of Savage Sword. Then, one Saturday morning when I accompanied the aforementioned grandmother to Blair's, I spotted a very Frazetta-ish cover painting featuring Conan facing off against what appeared to be a group of cave-men. Yes! An honest to gosh issue of Savage Sword of Conan. It was issue #7. So six issues had gotten past me. But not this one.
The Citadel at the Center of Time turned out to be one of my favorite issues of the early Savage Sword of Conan. In this story, written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by John Buscema and Alfredo Alcala, Conan runs afoul of a sorcerer who has found a way to pull artifacts out of different points in the time stream. The catch is, he has to put something in to get something out and the time pool he's discovered seems to prefer living beings to trade. Conan almost ends up in this pool (more of a well, really) but he manages to escape by fighting his way past cave-men, ape-men, and a tyrannosaurus.
This issue also featured part four of "An Informal History of Sword & Sorcery" by Lin Carter, and the first part of Thomas's adaptation of Robert E. Howard's essay, The Hyborian Age, with art by Walter Simonson. An all around great issue.
So now I knew more or less when SSoC shipped, you would figure I'd be able to get the magazine regularly, right? As it turned out, no. One of the problems of not being old enough to drive, mostly, but more about that later.

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