Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Savage Memories #3

As things would turn out, I didn't get copies of The Savage Sword of Conan issues #8 and #9. Once again I can only suppose they sold out at Blair Food Town before I could get there, still being too young to drive, though for all I know, they never got copies. Newsstand distribution was very spotty back in the 1970s.
Issue # 10, however, marked something of a turning point. I don't know if they started ordering more copies at the supermarket because every issue was selling out, or what, but after issue #10 I wouldn't miss more than a couple of issues until I stopped reading the magazine along about issue #60. (Actually I think it was issue #58, which would tie in with other things I'll get to in another post.)
Anyway, the other reasons I managed to get further issues were that I found at least one other source (a drugstore in downtown Canton) and I figured out how to walk to Blair's. See, Blair Foodtown was a couple of miles from my house, and while I certainly was up for the walk, my dad wouldn't let me walk anywhere that required I walk along the highway. Not an unreasonable restriction for a parent. There was one convenience store that I could reach entirely by going through woods and back roads (Canton was still very rural at that point) that sold color comic books (Yay!) but not the black & white mags like Savage Sword (boo!). They also sold Doc Savage paperbacks which was a plus a couple of years later.
I figured that there probably was some way I could cut through back roads and what have you to reach Blair's and after a little experimentation I found it. It was a long, roundabout path that probably involved a great deal of trespassing, since I was literally ducking through people's back yards, but it would get me to the Supermarket without getting too close to the highway, so I made it work. (So yes, you young whippersnapper fans, I really did walk miles to buy my Conan comics.)
But back to issue #10. This is an interesting issue in that it contains the last part of Marvel's Adaptation of Robert E. Howard's single Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon. The penultimate chapter had apparently appeared in SSoC issue #8, and the four preceding segments in the first four issues of Marvel's short lived color comic, Giant Sized Conan. I owned those comics, but of course I was missing a section because I didn't have SSoC #8. Still, I was pleased to see the end of the story. (Keep in mind that the Conan paperbacks were still out of print at this point, so I couldn't read the actual book.)
As far as I know, no one has ever collected all six parts of this adaptation under one cover. That would be a nice graphic novel. Are you listening Dark Horse!?
The best thing though, about issue #10, was that the story took up the whole issue and the entire thing was drawn by John Buscema, who was pretty much my favorite artist at the time. It's a great art job too, with lots of action and weird adventures and scantily clad women.
As I noted earlier, after this issue I was able to get most subsequent issues without any problem, but there were other adventures ahead. Next time, I'll tell you about how I risked eternal damnation to read Savage Sword of Conan.


Tim Mayer said...

The story of what you had to do to get it is probably better than the magazine.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Ha! You may be right, Tim. I was so crazy for those comics back then. It's a shame we can't hold on to that kind of intensity as we get older.

Dougie said...

I wrote on my own blog recently about how badly I wanted to read the SSOC adaptation of The Slithering Shadow.

I think the Sphere paperbacks of Conan started appearing in Scottish bookshops about 1976/7- I saw them in Glasgow and Lanark. That would coincide with me being thirteen/fourteen. I would probably be into Warhammer if I were in my early teens now!

Charles R. Rutledge said...

We're about the same age, then Dougie. Oddly enough, my first new Conan paperback was a Sphere. The books were still out of print here because of the Lancer debacle, and one of the chain bookstores got copies of a couple of the Spheres. However they were like $3.99, because of being imported I guess, and the average paperback was $1.25 at the time. I still managed to scrape together the cash but boy did I feel like I was being gouged. Wasn't too long before ACE picked up the Conan rights in the US though.

Dougie said...

Yep, I reckon we are of the same vintage.
The first Sphere book I read -as opposed to glimpsing on a shelf-was "Conan of the Isles", when I joined our local library in Seventy-Eight. I think paperbacks cost around 50p or 60p- the equivalent of four or five comic books.
Last weekend, on the train from Glasgow to Inverness, I was reading Lin Carter's "Ylana of Callisto" and (whisper it) I enjoyed it more than Burroughs.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

My first Sphere was Conan the Wanderer I think. I still have it, but it's not where I can lay my hands on it.

The Jandar of Callisto books are my absolute favorites of Lin Carter's works. In fact, I wrote a sequel called Secret Masters of Callisto, which is online at Erbzine.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, Charles. I had no idea you wrote a Callisto pastiche. Back in the day, when I was a nigh solitary fan of sword & sorcery type fiction, I used Carter's Callisto series to "break in" and addict my unsuspecting friends who read, but didn't get my kind of reading. As far as Carter's stuff goes, I guess I don't mind Callisto (haven't read one since the 80's) but prefer the Thongor books, especially the cosmic ones.

Geez, I'm old. My first Conan was the Lancer Conan the Adventurer. I read the lead story, People of the Black Circle, and was never the same.


Charles R. Rutledge said...

I'm a big fan of Thongor too, John, but I always liked the Callisto books. Get this. I'm such a fan that I actually own two of Vincent di Fate's cover paintings for the series.
I had a lot of fun writing the Callisto pastiche though. I set it up for a sequel, but other writing commitments (aka stuff I can get paid for) keep getting in the way.