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Paperback Product Description
In the mid 1970s following the colossal success of Conan the Barbarian, Roy Thomas helped expand the universe of Conan to showcase further stories and the talents of some of the comics industry's best with the equally popular Savage Sword of Conan magazine. Now, for the first time in over thirty years, these primal tales, featuring Robert E. Howard's most popular character, are available in this, the first in a series of massive trade paperbacks, collecting all Savage Sword Conan stories beginning with issue one. Included in this volume are tales by Roy Thomas, featuring the breathtaking art of such legends as Barry Windsor-Smith, John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Pablo Marcos, Walter Simonson and more. But that's not all. Also included in this tome are Conan's few appearances in the title Savage Tales - for the complete Conan collection!
I can still recollect that summer day in 1974 when, at the tender age of 12, I first encountered Marvel's "Savage Sword of Conan". I happened to have about $1.50 on hand and I was eager to go to my local drugstore (my only source for comics at the time)and see what all was new on the racks. So, I hopped on my trusty bike and rode like the wind over my 1 1/2 mile trek. When I got inside the drugstore the first thing that caught my eye was a magazine sized comic with one of the most glorious covers I had ever seen. It depicted a huge muscled sword wielding guy and a buxom sword wielding red haired woman apparently fighting for their very lives against a horde of scary looking axe wielding skeletons!! I was hooked. I had to have the magazine and find out just who this Conan guy was and how had he managed to get himself and this woman in such a dire predicament. Well, needless to say that was the day I first encountered sword and sworcery fiction, Conan, Robert E. Howard, Boris Vallejo, Barry Smith, Neal Adams, Esteban Moroto, John Buscema, Roy Thomas and a slew of other very talented folks. And all in one issue!!!
I still have a few of those original comics and to this day they still manage to evoke that same feeling of excitement and sense of adventure whenever I look at them all these long years later. Truly, this was Conan done right and no interpretation of Howard's barbarian hero done since feels quite as authentic as "Savage Sword" did. Which isn't to say I dislike Dark Horses recent Conan series. Its just that the new series is often hit or miss and the writers sometimes seem to be giving us what they think their interpretation of Conan should be as opposed to Howard's original conception. But SSOC, to me at least, seemed to be consistently firing on all cylinders and the storytelling and artwork were often nothing short of breathtaking. If you aren't familiar with SSOC just do a search on the internet for "Savage Sword of Conan" and check out the covers on some of those old issues. Or, better yet go to your local bookstore or comics dealer and check out this latest omnibus edition from Dark Horse and glance inside at the art.
Now I know that there are some purist folks out there who have some major complaints about page formatting, paper quality etc. (and their points are well taken) but in the end I'm just content to have access to these fabulous stories once again and at a very reasonable price to boot. This volume BTW collects issues 1-10 of SSOC as well as 5 rare story appearances in the magazine called Savage Tales. Thats over 500 plus pages of sword and sorcery action and barbaric mayhem! All rendered in some of the most fantastic fantasy art and comic book story telling you are likely to ever see.
Now, I would love to have seen SSOC given a deluxe treatment but then it probably would have broken my bank account to have collected all the volumes of such a series so I have to be happy with what I got, which is still pretty good BTW. So, if you are new to Conan and the genre of sword and sorcery and you are looking for a good introduction then by all means get a hold of this volume ASAP. If you are looking for the definitive editions of SSOC you may be sorely disappointed by this collection. Either way you look at it though I am just happy to see the re-emergence of this classic comic which, combined with the new series and the reprinting of Robert E. Howard's original works from Ballantine, helps to keep Conan and his creator well within the eye of current pop culture. Long may he stay there!!