Friday, June 15, 2012

Conan the Outsized

Back in the 1970s and 80s, Marvel Comics put out a bunch of oversized comic books (10"X13") called Marvel Treasury Editions. They usually contained reprints of older comics, though some featured brand new stories. DC Comics had their own line of oversized books as well. At one time I owned a lot of them but I got rid of the majority of them when I moved back in 2004. Oddly enough, though Marvel published four Treasury editions featuring my favorite barbarian Conan the Cimmerian, I only owned one of them. Given the poor distribution of comic books in the small town where I grew up, I probably never even saw the others. The other day I was bumping around Ebay and I saw one of the Conan Treasury Editions, #23 in Fine shape for a pittance, so what the hey, I bought it. Some of the Treasury editions have become very collectible and thus very expensive, and I don't really care to collect them again, but if I can get one in decent shape for under 10 bucks, I'll go for it. This one arrived in the mail on Wednesday and it was indeed in Fine shape. Cover was glossy, pages cream colored and not yellow, colors vibrant. Not at all bad for a 33 year old comic book. The comic contains two stories. One is a reprint of the Roy Thomas/John Buscema adaptation of the Robert E. Howard Conan story A Witch Shall Be Born. This originally appeared in black and white in an issue of Savage Sword of Conan. It's reproduced here in full color. The second story is more interesting, being a color version of the first seven weeks of the Conan newspaper strip. Didn't know Conan had once had his own comic strip? Yep. Daily and Sundays too. The strips have recently been reprinted in a hardback from Dark Horse Comics but they are larger here and with much better reproduction. It was fun to get my hands on this comic. I'd forgotten how the larger size made the Treasury editions very fun. Just something about a great big comic book, I guess. Of the two remaining Conan Treasury Editions I have one more on the way. I'm keeping an eye out for an inexpensive copy of the last of the three. As I said, I'm only willing to pay a certain amount for this kind of silly fun. And fun it is.

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