Friday, June 14, 2013
Four Color Conan: Parallel Events
This made for some interesting challenges. For instance, Roy was picking up Conan's life around the time when the big Cimmerian was serving in the army of mercenary General Amalric, whose army was working for the city state of Khojara. This would be just prior to the REH story, Black Colossus. I knew where things were heading when Conan, along with his allies Red Sonja and Zula the wizard/warrior, joined up with Amalric. I also knew that Roy had already adapted Black Colossus in Savage Sword of Conan issue #2, so I sort of wondered what Roy was up to. I mean, he wasn't likely to adapt Black Colossus again.
What he did instead was show you the events leading right up to the beginning of the REH tale, and then he switched the focus from Conan to Sonja and Zula. So what we got to see were the parallel events. Conan was off stage, doing the things that we know he did in Colossus, while Sonja and Zula fought Natohk the Veiled One's army with the mercs. When they meet up with Conan again, it's right after the end of Black Colossus. Roy gives a summary of what Conan was up to of course, so the reader knows what's going on. It works pretty well, though I do wonder if folks unfamiliar with Black Colossus might have been a little confused.
Sonja and Zula leave the book at the conclusion of this story line and in the next issue Conan leaves the service of Queen Yasmela to strike off on his own again, after a summary of one of the L. Sprague de Camp/Lin Carter tales that Roy had adapted for SSoC way back when. More parallel events. By issue 252, we're back to new stories by Roy. The art chores at this point were being handled by penciler Mike Docherty and inker Ernie Chan. Docherty was trying hard to emulate star Conan artist John Buscema, and I think swiping some of Buscema's layouts, and Ernie Chan had, of course, inked hundreds of Buscema pages, so the art was very traditional marvel Conan.
Anyway, I'm still haing a lot of fun reading the stories from the second coming of Roy Thomas. I see from scanning the covers that my next issue #253 will see the return of Kulan Gath, the wizard originally created by Michael Moorcock and James Cawthorn.