Comfort those closest, entertain the rest.

Conan - Then and Now

Yesterday, one of my co-workers brought me a big pile of comic books he had when he was a kid. It was a bunch of stuff from the early eighties - which I loved! I’ve collected comics my entire life, but the early eighties are where it really came to life for me.


The pile was mostly a bunch of old Iron Man comics (and a couple comic adaptations of the Condor Man Movie!!??!!). But there, in the middle of the pile, was one issue of Marvel’s Conan The Barbarian series.


Talk about your unfortunately named antagonists…


I was never that into Conan. The only Conan books I ever remember owning were a few issues of Conan The King - and that was because he had these ninja bodyguards that I thought were cool when I was a teenager.


I just recently started buying Darkhorse’s Conan series, though, because it’s being written by Brian Wood and drawn by Becky Cloonan, two of my favorite creators. Their first story arc on the book is a retelling of the Robert E. Howard short story, Queen Of The Black Coast.

The series is two issues in so far, and it’s awesome.

Flipping through the old issue of Conan The Barbarian from the 80’s I noticed a page that basically recapped everything we’ve seen in Wood and Cloonan’s new series so far. It was a very weird experience to really only be aware of one Conan story - and to suddenly see it popping up in two different places at once.


When I got home, later that day, I pulled out the Wood and Cloonan issues and made a side by side comparison with the Marvel Conan book. Observe:


Conan fleeing local authorities:


Conan being attacked by pirates:


Belit taking Conan as a mate:


I find this really cool. Serendipity! You can even see a little nod to the 80’s issue in the costume Cloonan gave Conan in those first two panels!


No doubt there are some comic fans out there on the internet that would hold this up as the evils of decompression in comics - that would be stupid, though, because one is a quick recap in the middle of a larger story - and one is a straight re-telling. Two completely different things. Did I just build a straw man and knock it down? Yeah, but I spent the early 90’s arguing on the internet and I’m still kind of paranoid.


But I digress… Comics are awesome.