Monday, June 20, 2011

The Halls of the Dead and Other Stories: Conan Volume 4 Dark Horse Comics (Graphic Novel)

Conan Volume 4: The Halls of the Dead and Other StoriesConan Volume 4: The Halls of the Dead and Other Stories by Kurt Busiek

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read the Barry Smith illustrated Marvel comic version of this story way back in 1970 while on vacation in Hawaii. That version remains one of my all time favorite comics and artistic rendetions of the young Conan, so I approached this newer version with some trepidation. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I thought both the story (it's based on a short fragment of Howard's, not a full blown story, so there's plenty of room on the part of the creators to take in where they will) and the art were well done. The drawings of the Gunderman who is first Conan's adversary and then later his friend were pretty much as I thought they should be, and the drawings of Conan's deceitful girlfriend was pretty spot on as well I thought. Several authors contributed to the plot and dialog (Mike Mignola did chapters 3 and 4 for instance) and while that sometimes doesn't work I thought it worked very well in this instance. I read this in one sitting at the local bookstore cafe where my wife works and may even go back and buy it, so I guess I was pretty impressed.

As an added bonus, noted Howard scholar Mark Finn wrote the afterword where he mentions the epistolary relationship between Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft and how that relationship impacted both men's writing. Very well done, and probably alone worth the price of the book.

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