Monday, December 12, 2011
Savage Memories #10
In 1998-2000 I was living in Decatur, the Atlanta suburb I mentioned in one of my previous posts. Weekends would often find me back at the used book and comic store The Book Nook, still occasionally digging through the boxes of old fanzines and magazines, and occasionally I would pick up an old Savage Sword of Conan that I hadn't read.
That's when I started enjoying some of the issues that Chuck Dixon had written. Dixon had become one of my favorite writers at DC comics during the 1990s, when he was doing great stuff on Green Arrow, Robin, and other titles. Most of Dixon's DC output fell into the crime fiction category, so that was understandable, but I found that I liked his take on Conan as well. He seemed to like writing stories about Conan as a mercenary or frontier scout, and most of the sorcery he put into his stories seemed to be of the Weird Tales/Lovecraft school, so all in all he had an approach that, while not imitative of Robert E. Howard, still had the 'realism' factor that Howard was so fond of. Dixon's Conan was down and dirty. I still wasn't always thrilled with the art, but a good story offset that enough that I could enjoy it. So I built up a decent collection of most of Dixon's issues to add to the 60 or so SSoC issues which I still had.
And that was where things stood until 2004 when I decided to move from a rental house to an apartment.
If you're a collector, or just someone who reads a lot then you know how books accumulate. Add comic books and magazines to that and you have a good idea of how daunting a task moving all of that stuff would be. I had roughly 4500 hardback books, about that many paperbacks, and 18,000 comic books straining the foundations of my house. I didn't want to move all that, and truthfully I didn't need most of it anymore. So I did a little research and I decided that I would buy six new 6ftX4ft bookshelves for my new place and the number of books that would fit on those shelves would be all the books I would take along. (About 800 hardbacks.) I also got rid of all but about 1000 comics and about 800 paperbacks. It was a painful process, but I'm glad to say that here, at the close of 2011, I haven't missed much of what I got rid of. But there was an exception.
I had decided that I would keep the original 51 issues of Savage Sword of Conan that I'd bought as a kid, but get rid of everything else, and that's what I did. And for a couple of years I was okay with that. But then my interest in Robert E. Howard, Conan, and all things sword & sorcery swung back around to the front of my manias and I suddenly wished I hadn't gotten rid of the SSoC issues. In fact, I decided that I wanted a complete collection of the magazine.
And that brings us back to the present, since my acquisition of the full set was covered here on the blog a while back. It took a lot of Ebay watching and the help of the redoubtable Cliff, but I own a complete run of Savage Sword of Conan magazine. That also brings us to the end of the Savage Memories series. Doesn't mean that I won't be returning to Savage Sword as a subject, but this is a good place to end the tale of one boy/man's obsession with a comic mag. Thanks to everyone who has read these posts and to those who have commented. I can tell that a lot of you know exactly how I feel.
PS. The cover that accompanies this post is my favorite Joe Jusko SSoC cover and the first one I bought when I began my quest to get all of the issues.