Sunday, June 02, 2013
Four Color Conan: When Roy Returned
"Since the night I walked out of Zukala's cave, I have often felt I were still wandering amid the visions he showed me there til it sometime seems to me as if all my life since then has been but a waking dream."
So basically Roy is leaving it up to the reader. If you want to disregard every issue of Conan the Barbarian between #115 and #241, feel free. Me, I'm inclined to do so, as I considered most of the stories done in that period pretty poor.
Anyway, issue #241 finds Conan back in Arenjun, the City of Thieves and at least in Marvel Continuity, the location of the Tower of the Elephant. Robert E. Howard never named the city in the original story. I think Arenjun was coined by L. Sprague de camp and adopted by Roy.
A decade has passed since Conan has been to the city and he finds that the citizens are still afraid to touch the ruins of the Elephant tower. Conan travels into the Maul and ends up in the very same tavern where The Tower of the Elephant begins. Not surprisingly a brawl breaks out. Conan is finishing up the brawl when Karenthes, a Priest of Ibis, whom Conan has met several times before, shows up and offers Conan a job escorting him to the rebuilt castle of the sorcerer Zukala where the priest is to officiate at a wedding. That's the stated reason anyway, but the priest isn't being upfront with Conan of course and action, chaos, and a meeting with yet another old acquaintance ensue.
All and all, it looks like Roy Thomas was having a good time, pulling in elements from his earlier work on Conan and pretty much picking up where he left off. Penciler Gary Hartle, while no John Buscema, does a nice job of rendering Conan and company, though he seems to have trouble drawing horses. (So do I. Horses are hard to draw.) Overall, the art is solid and the visual storytelling satisfactory. Big John Buscema was doing the penciling over at the black and white Savage Sword of Conan, which Roy was writing as well, so it was possible to see the old team together again. I'll try and get around to talking about that in a future Savage Spotlight.
So yeah, Roy was back and in fine form. As I mentioned before, I didn't read these comics in their original run, so for all intents and purposes this is 'New' Roy Thomas Conan for me. Not a bad thing at all.