Comic Review: The Cimmerian, Vol. 1

Published: December 23rd, 2020
Written by: Regis Hautiere, Jean-David Morvan, Robert E. Howard
Art by: Pierre Alary, Didier Cassegrain, Olivier Vatine
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard

Ablaze, 144 Pages

Review:

Now that Conan has fallen into public domain, at least the earliest stories, anyway, other publishers besides Marvel can now make Conan comics. Ablaze is the first company that I’m aware of that has taken their shot at adapting the iconic character.

In this collection, we get Ablaze’s adaptations of “Queen of the Black Coast” and “Red Nails”.

I like both of these stories a lot and always have because the first one features Bêlit, the swashbuckling pirate queen, and the other features Valeria, another female warrior that was great at Conan’s side.

Starting with the “Queen of the Black Coast” story, I thought the adaptation was pretty good but it also flew by rather quickly. I mostly liked the art, the dialogue was good and it felt pretty true to the story.

For me, though, “Red Nails” was the better half of this collection. I liked the art more, the story felt longer and more detailed and it had the right sort of vibe, matching Robert E. Howard’s source material.

All in all, this reminded me a lot of the old Savage Sword of Conan magazines that Marvel put out back in the day. These comics had a harder edge to them and didn’t pull any punches unlike the modern Marvel stuff that tries to appeal more to all ages.

Rating: 7.5/10

Book Review: ‘Silken Swords: An Informal Guide to the Women in the Fiction of Robert E. Howard’ by Fred Blosser

This is a pretty cool book to have around for those who like Robert E. Howard’s work.

It’s all about the female badasses from his stories whether they appeared in the tales of Conan, Solomon Kane, Kull or their own stories.

This is basically a reference book that is organized and reads like an encyclopedia. Because of that, it’s really valuable if you like specific characters and want to know more about them and where they appear.

It still reads well if you delve into it from cover to cover and in doing that, it introduced me to a lot of characters that I hadn’t yet known about.

The only thing that I think could improve it would be to also include information about their comic book counterparts as many of these characters have found life alongside Conan, Kull and Solomon Kane since Marvel started publishing those characters in the ’70s.

For those of you that have a sword and sorcery section in your personal library, this would be a handy edition to it.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: the Barbarian Life books by Roy Thomas.

Comic Review: Age of Conan: Valeria

Published: February 25th, 2020
Written by: Meredith Finch
Art by: Aneke
Based on: characters by Robert E. Howard

Marvel Comics, 112 Pages

Review:

Since Age of Conan: Bêlit didn’t tickle my fancy too much, earlier this year, I was a bit apprehensive about getting into this miniseries. Plus, it felt really similar as both main characters from both series are basically swashbuckling princesses that have mostly only been accessories in the larger Conan lore.

However, I’m all for both characters getting some focus and taking on bigger roles now that the Conan I.P. is back at Marvel. Plus, who doesn’t want more sword and sorcery comics? Well, probably a lot of people but a lot of people also buy Drake albums and tickets to Transformers movies.

Anyway, this was a better miniseries than the similar one starring Bêlit. It just had a better story, the heroine’s journey felt more organic with real struggle while she was searching for her own sense of worth. Plus, this had better art.

I wouldn’t say that either Age of Conan miniseries has been as good as the two regular Conan books Marvel’s been putting out since the start of 2019 but they add more context to the bigger picture, which ultimately, is a good thing.

I wouldn’t say that this was a waste of time but it also isn’t a must read. It’s enjoyable if you don’t expect much, want some decent escapism and already have a love for the Conan universe.

If these miniseries have been attempts at trying to attract girls to sword and sorcery comics, I doubt that these are capable of doing that. Especially when any sword and sorcery female character will never outshine Red Sonja, regardless of who her publisher is.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see Marvel try to develop these ladies into something better, along with Dark Agnes, who they have added to a different Conan book just this month.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: Age of Conan: Bêlit and other recent Marvel Conan comics.