Vids I Dig 154: Midnight’s Edge: The Ultimate ‘Conan The Barbarian’ Retrospective

From the Midnight’s Edge YouTube description: In January of 2019, Conan the Barbarian returned to Marvel Comics. This is a homecoming of some significance, because while Conan didn’t originate with and even predates Marvel Comics, it was arguably that initial Conan comic book run from Marvel that more than anything else, paved the way for the 1982 feature film Conan the Barbarian by John Milius starring Arnold Schwarzenegger – and thereby the characters mainstream success.

In this retrospective, Andre Einherjar will explore Conan’s literary origins in the writings of Robert E. Howard, and how Conan came to Marvel in the first place. Then, the production and the philosophy of the Conan feature film will be explored, and the definitive answer to The Riddle of Steel will be provided. Unlike most other Conan retrospectives out there, this one will also detail the differences between the Schwarzenegger Conan and the literary Conan, and why the movie, for all its standalone strengths and virtues, remains controversial with fans of the literary and comic book versions of Conan.

In the upcoming part two of this retrospective, the sequels, the attempted sequels and other spin offs will also be explored.

Comic Review: Conan Chronicles – Epic Collection III: Return to Cimmeria

Published: October 2nd, 2019
Written by: Kurt Busiek, Timothy Truman
Art by: various
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Dark Horse Comics, Marvel (reprinted), 494 Pages

Review:

I’m glad that Marvel’s ego isn’t so big that they didn’t care about putting these collections out.

The stories collected in these Conan Epic Collections are the stories from the character’s era at Dark Horse. It’s exciting to read, at least for me, as I didn’t read the Dark Horse stuff until now. Mainly, due to not reading a lot of comics in the time that these were originally published.

These stories are mostly written by Kurt Busiek and this picks up from his run that was collected in the two previous volumes of the Conan Epic Collections.

This string of tales adapts some of Robert E. Howard’s classic literary stories but it also has some stories that happen before or after famous Conan tales.

For the most part, this is nearly as good as the previous volumes but there seems to be more of a mixture of art styles. While most of the art is good, some of it becomes visually jarring when going from chapter to chapter in that the styles differ greatly in parts. But this tends to happen with Epic Collections and other large collected works in the comic book medium.

Ultimately, this was still a good read and I’m most likely going to pick up the fourth volume when it is released in a few months.

Rating: 8.25/10
Pairs well with: the rest of Kurt Busiek’s Conan run, as well as other Conan comics from the Dark Horse era.

Book Review: ‘The Marvel Art of Conan the Barbarian’ by Various

Overall, this was a pretty cool art book that had enough text and information to give good context to the pages of art that were featured.

My only real complaint is that I wished that this also featured the great art that was used in the Savage Sword of Conan magazines.

But that could be due to a future release where Marvel does another art book focused solely on that unique series.

Plus, this is the art of Conan the Barbarian, as the title specifically states. Although, it also features art from the King Conan series too.

Anyway, this is a pretty cool book to check out if you are a Conan the Barbarian fan. It’s mostly giant art pages with blurbs. But it does have a nice introduction and some pages with more text than those standard blurbs.

Whether or not it’s worth the price point is up to the buyer, I guess. I can’t recommend it as a must own. Full disclosure, I read my friend’s copy and didn’t buy one, even though I was mostly pleased with it.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Marvel art books.

Vids I Dig 121: Midnight’s Edge: Conan Deeper Integrated Into the Marvel Universe – Could a Movie Be Next?

From the Midnight’s Edge YouTube description: On September 11th, The Hollywood Reporter could reveal that Marvel Entertainment have expanded their agreement with Conan Properties, the corporate owners of Conan the Barbarian. This expansion will see more of Robert E. Howard’s characters, such as Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes, appear in the pages of Marvel comics – where we’ve since learned that they will all be crossing over with Moon Knight, in a miniseries called Serpent War. Could there be more to this than it seems? Could even a new Conan movie co-produced by Marvel possibly be on cards further down the line?

In this editorial Andre Einherjar will begin covering by how Conan has fared with Marvel Comics so far, and who Solomon Kane and Dark Agnes are. Then he’ll address the speculation of what this crossover could lead to, and give an update on the current state of Conan on film.

Comic Review: Conan the Barbarian: Exodus – One-Shot

Published: August 14th, 2019
Written by: Esad Ribic
Art by: Esad Ribic
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Marvel Comics, 26 Pages

Review:

Esad Ribic is a comic book cover artist that has done his fair share of interior work. He has an art style that is reminiscent of fantasy novel covers. It’s a good, solid, classical style.

However, as far as I know, he’s never written anything. This whole one-shot is all him though.

But I guess it works in that this is mostly a silent comic without dialogue. Well, there is some dialogue but it is brief and in a foreign language that isn’t translated.

This is essentially, a series of cool action sequences but not much else.

Ribic’s art is mostly good but there are some panels that feel sub par compared to his best work. Maybe he was rushed due to deadlines, I’m not sure. But taking a guy that is mostly a solid cover artist and having him do 26 pages with multiple panels means that he can’t give everything the attention it needs. Especially when working for Marvel with strict deadlines and short production times.

This isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it just sort of exists. I guess it is a fine book to buy for a Conan the Barbarian completist but you’re not really missing out if you give it a pass.

Most of the art is good and where it isn’t, it’s mostly competent. There was only one panel that was a bit wonky and weird but in 2019, one off panel is lightyears ahead of the current standard.

Rating: 5/10
Pairs well with: Marvel’s current Conan the Barbarian comics.

Comic Review: Conan Chronicles – Epic Collection II: The Heart of Yag-Kosha

Published: April 16th, 2019
Written by: Kurt Busiek, Mike Mignola, Timothy Truman
Art by: Cary Nord, Greg Ruth, Timothy Truman, Eric Powell, Mike Mignola
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Dark Horse Comics, Marvel (reprinted), 504 Pages

Review:

Since I really dug the hell out of the first volume of the Kurt Busiek run on Conan, I wasted no time jumping into the second Epic Collection.

This carries on with the same quality in writing and art as the previous massive collection and was also a really awesome read.

I ended up liking the first one just a bit more because it seemed to have more action and longer, deeper stories but there isn’t much to complain about with this one. There seemed to be more dialogue and a lot of new characters added into the series but it still captured the right tone and spirit.

This volume also adapts some of Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories. It was really cool reading the comic book version of The Tower of the Elephant for the first time, as I always enjoyed that story in its original medium.

Mike Mignola also did some of the covers and wrote some of the stuff in this collection. I really liked seeing Conan in Mignola’s artistic style.

Ultimately, this was another solid outing and something that I’m sure I’ll go back to and read again in the future.

This was over 500 pages in length but I feel like I ripped through it in no time, as it was hard to put down.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: the rest of Kurt Busiek’s Conan run, as well as other Conan comics from the Dark Horse era.

Comic Review: Conan Chronicles – Epic Collection I: Out of the Darksome Hills

Published: February 19th, 2019
Written by: Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza
Art by: Cary Nord, Thomas Yeates, Greg Ruth, Tom Mandrake
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Dark Horse Comics, Marvel (reprinted), 496 Pages

Review:

Few things in life are actually “epic as fuck”. This hefty collection of Kurt Busiek’s Conan run is one of those things.

This collects twenty comics worth of Conan stories and even throws a Fabian Nicieza one in for a little extra cherry on top of this badass sundae.

Every story in this collection is good. I’m not just saying that. Busiek understands the character of Conan, his world and really goes to great length at penning some fabulous story arcs.

This even gives us a good story featuring Thoth-Amon, one of Conan’s biggest villains over the years.

Kurt Busiek should be proud of his run here. He has written several stories that are good enough to stand alongside Robert E. Howard’s original work. Busiek gets Conan and the character’s audience.

Additionally, most of the art in this is perfect. There are a few single issues mixed in that have art that isn’t as good but those were mostly filler issues where the main artist was probably off working on another title.

All in all, this is a great Conan collection and the first part of one of the absolute best runs on the character in the comic book medium.

I have the second collection, which I will read and review in the near future.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: the rest of Kurt Busiek’s Conan run, as well as other Conan comics from the Dark Horse era.