Comic Book Recommendation of the Day: Conan by Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord
Robert Howard’s famous barbarian has long had a home in comics. Dark Horse comics put out an excellent new take about a decade ago, initially helmed by Kurt Busiek, a favorite writer of mine, whose work we have already seen on Astro City, one of my personal favorite comics ever.
He decided to present Conan’s life story in chronological order, beginning with when he first left Cimmeria, and fortunately had decades of scholarship to draw from. At first he was teamed with Cary Nord, who delivered beautifully rendered tales of an age undreamt of. Because Nord couldn’t maintain a monthly schedule, he was given an occasional break in which artist Greg Ruth illustrated a tale of Conan’s childhood.
We see adaptations of many original Conan tales along with stories bridging the time and distance between Howard’s tales We see Conan encounter the Frost Giant’s Daughter and storm the Tower of the Elephant.
If you’ve never read any Conan, either in comic form or the original prose, you’re in for a treat. A great character, a great world, great adventures. A barbarian travels into civilization and is not impressed.
The Ruth stories were collected into a Volume 0 entitled “Born on the Battlefield”. The series lasted 50 issues, with some fill-in writers and artists. The Dark Horse Conan saga actually continues. A series called Conan the Cimmerian picked up where this series left off, by writer Tim Truman. The creative team has changed many times, and the series occasionally started over with a new name, but it continues. The latest series is Conan the Slayer. It’s generally remained pretty strong, though never quite lived up to the work of Busiek and Nord from the original issues.