Conan the Barbarian comic Smith and Thomas once had a two-part adventure in which Conan met Michael Moorcock's Sword-and-Sorcery hero Elric. Similarly, Marvel once did a story in which Solomon Kane fought Dracula in Transylvania - an intriguing notion, possible in both the Howard concept of the Kane stories and in the literary universe Dracula inhabits, but obviously not the sort of story either Howard. Dumas gave us the Swashbuckler in DArtagnan and the three musketeers. Conans all, they were not. He acted in life: his dark urgings were real. A similar critical apparatus which considers all Conan stories by any and all writers as "true" would be essential to a study of the Howard character as developed by de Camp, Carter, Nyberg and company. His style is as modern as his encompassing grasp of the ages. That it is easier to imitate such inane scenes than to create stories as good as "The People of the Black Circle" goes without saying. And if Howard spawned more than his share of poor imitations, his work has inspired some fine fiction as well: the Jirel of Joiry tales by Catherine. He is primordial, bestial, anthropoid; yet I recognize his kinship with the entity now called James Allison.
When one remembers Howard it will be easier to recall strong female characters such as Dark Agnes the Sword Woman than the asinine Livia/Olivia types. When Conan encounters the chained, elephant-like alien who is held prisoner in the tower, he freezes up - "That he did not instantly explode in a burst of murderous frenzy is a fact that measured his horror." In "Queen of the Black Coast". In "The Garden of Fear" this passage occurs:.But as I lie waiting for death to free me from my long disease, I see with a clear, sure sight the grand panorama of lives that trail out behind. (6) Yet strong cases may be made for a philosophical stance by Howard. The movie isnt an explicit work of politics, but it reaches something political in certain people in the same way it touches something emotional in others. Why squabble over a few shekels like a greasy tradesman? Interestingly enough, the Sonja character has reversed the usual trend of a character being adapted from fiction into comic art by going from comic books to novels - a series of six titles by David. The point is that while some of their stories were bad, and many were only good, a large number of their works place in the front ranks of imaginative fiction.
But these two tales are told completely from the heroine's viewpoint, and read as much like rape fantasies as adventure stories. As publisher of Arkham House books he was the first to bring the weird tales of such authors as Howard, Lovecraft, Smith, Henry. Even a Cimmerian" ( Conan the Wanderer, 1968,. Am I not more desirable than these native wenches?
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