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Elric meets Conan?

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  • Rob Hansen
    replied
    Unearthing an old thread

    Synopsis of the Conan meets Elric comicbook story:

    Originally posted by GuyLawley View Post
    Conan meets up with a wizard, Zukala, and his lovely daughter Zephra, previously enemies. Now the wizard needs Conan's help to stop the evil plans of a more powerful magician, Kulan-Gath.

    Kulan-Gath seeks the tomb of legendary Terhali, Green Empress of Melnibone, and the mystical power of its inhabitant. The tomb, with the possibly not-quite-dead demon-queen, was magically transported to Conan's world from the plane of Melnibone, so that Terhali could never again threaten her enemies back home.

    Before Zephra and Conan set off for the tomb, Zukala puts a spell on Conan's sword so it will withstand mystical weapons in the fights to come.

    We learn that Zukala is now in the service of Lord Arkyn of Law, and Queen Xiombarg (the Queen Of The Swords from Corum) is also after the mystical might of Terhali's tomb. Xiombarg sends Prince Gaynor the Damned after Conan and Zephra, with a horde of beastly Chaos warriors.

    Meanwhile a certain albino Melnibonean is also crossing the planes to find Terhali's tomb, and an unknown mystical force (Arkyn?) diverts his path so that he meets up with Conan. <snip>
    Marvel being Marvel, Kulan Gath later faced off against the X-Men, who later met the original Star Trek crew. And thus do universes collide.

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    Conan 15 is all over ebay at the moment (no issue 14s, weirdly) at a wide variety of prices:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...538653210&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...538925297&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...538922470&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...539739196&rd=1

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...539775083&rd=1

    and possibly more; I stopped looking.

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    Here's a copy of Conan 15 on eBay - in fairly poor condition, but (for US buyers) cheap! Probably perfectly OK as a "reading copy"

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...538035396&rd=1

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    Re: quality of reprints of the 1972 Conan comics (no's 14 & 15) in which Elric meets Conan:

    At today’s ABC mart in London* I finally picked up copies of the English Savage Sword of Conan weekly, no’s 15 & 16, from June 1975. These reprint in black & white the original Conan issues. They are pretty hard to find, but when you do find them, they should be pretty cheap (آ£1.00 would probably be over-charging!). For UK readers these comics are not a bad way of adding the story to your collection. They do come up on eBay now and then.

    Over all, Savage Sword 16 does a marginally better job of reprinting the second part than the more expensive Conan Saga (see below) even though a few pages are markedly inferior. No.15 is about equal to Conan Saga 5, though not quite so good on detail.

    Conan Saga is a US monthly B&W mag from 1987, each issue reprinting 3 issues of the old colour comic. No.5 (Sept 1987) has a lovely reprint of Conan 14. Unfortunately the reprinting of Conan 15 in Conan Saga 6 is a bad job, with a lot of lines dropping out or running together. Some pages still manage to be better than the UK Savage Sword weekly 16, but most are worse. Copies of Conan Saga seem to cost about آ£2.00 at UK marts. They have the advantages of new Barry Windsor-Smith covers, two other Conan issues each, and better paper than the UK weeklies. The weeklies are browning noticeably.

    To sum up: the best way of appreciating the art is still the original comics, but they could cost in the region of آ£10.00-15.00 / $15.00-25.00 or more each, depending on condition. The Dark Horse reprint book is good value for money and will last a long time on your shelf, but really does suffer from poor black reproduction and unfortunate re-colouring.

    The Conan Saga two-issue set is a great way to own the first half of the story, but part 2 is a let-down printing-wise. Still the best reprint version over all, I’d say. If only both parts had printed as well as the first (sigh…).

    The weekly comic from 1975 is a fairly good artefact if you have one in your attic or come across one before any of the other versions. Only a few pages in part 2 really let it down.

    Avoid the colour reprint in Giant-Size Conan / Conan Annual no.5, unless it’s the only printing you think are ever going to be able to read, and/or it is very cheap indeed.

    But… the story is awaiting its historically definitive reprinting.

    What are the odds of getting sued if I scanned Conan 14 & 15 into the Image Gallery in their entirety…??? Berry., are you in contact with Mike’s lawyers?

    --------------------

    *The ABC mart is a collector’s paradise of Art/Books/Comics. Today I saw copies of all 3 Centaur Press Solomon Kane books, issues of Amra the Howard/fantasy fanzine, New Worlds 1 & 2, possibly every Rupert Bear annual ever, original Jim Holdaway Modesty Blaise strips, Moorcock issues of New Worlds, Jack Trevor Story Sexton Blakes… (No Caribbean Crisis, but I did once buy a copy at an ABC show.) Anyone who’d like details of the next ABC mart, e-mail me. We could meet up for a cup of tea (and compare the bruisings our bank accounts have just taken).

    Leave a comment:


  • Ant
    replied
    Ah, yes, Red Sonja. The REH character who wasn't created by REH. At least, not as we know her in Conan's milieu.

    Give me Bأ?lit any day.

    Cordialement,
    Ant

    Leave a comment:


  • terryallenuk
    replied
    Red Sonja's coming from Dynamite Entertainment .

    Plus news is that Truman is due to do a Conan mini-series .

    Terry

    Leave a comment:


  • Lord Doom
    replied
    Originally posted by GuyLawley
    PS I'll also be looking for that old Grimjack with Johnny Melnibone!!!

    I always felt Cynosure was in some ways similar to Tanelorn, but I gave up on the comic after a while, maybe when Truman left; I forget now.
    Yep, the first 4 issues of the new mini-series is out, and it kicks some butt. It is utterly old-school fantastic, and Truman's art has actually improved tremendously. The first two issues are penciled and inked by Truman, but he couldn't keep up the pace for deadline and has an assistant with the inks on #3-4, and you can tell what's all Tim and what's done by his assistant. Aside from the problems I had with #3's computer blur effects, the read and artwork is just tremendous. Since Killer Instinct is set pre-original run, it's easy to get into from the get go.

    I understand how you felt when Truman left after the 13th issue or so. Even though I enjoy Tom Sutton's horror artwork over at DC, he wasn't the best fit after Truman's unique style launched the series, and being followed up by Tom Mandrake was a bit easier on the eyes but a little bland compared to Truman (but there were moments). I left for a long time, but was pulled back later by Flint Henry, a tremendous British artist; Steve Pugh also contributed much in that run (the Grimjack origin story and the Demon Wars arc). Henry was very similiar to Truman in that it was a unique style that worked best for the material (until he got an inker). The Demon Knight graphic novel is Beautiful and is easily found on Ebay for a great price and it's all Flint Henry.

    The Legend of Grimjack trades are fantastic, and they keep much of the flat coloring. First Comics used advanced coloring in their day, making them look and feel different than any other comic company in the 1980's, and it still holds up today. So you are safe in getting the trades. Volume 2 just came out, and Volume three comes in July, I believe.

    Getting back to post-Truman Grimjack, the story is still damn good and you do get used to the art shift. It's easier now, in retrospect, to enjoy it, and the stories are timeless and still hold up very well. I know this since I just recollected them all for a decent price (only missing one issue), and read/re-read them recently.

    Roger Zelazny was a fan himself, and wrote a fan letter which then lead him to write an introduction for the Demon Knight graphic novel.

    Any and all EC fan should try Grimjack, since it plays with many a theme that will be familiar to them. Gaunt is rather a distant kinsman to the EC, and has as much luck with his ladies as the EC does too. He even reincarnates and is damned to live multiple lives.

    (but for a more direct re-interpretation of Moorcock's Elric and Jungian philosophy, everyone needs to read Jim Starlin's adam Warlock run from the 1970's, best available in the reprint editions, volume #1-6, no trades of yet; shame on Marvel for not trading it still)

    As for the Chronicles of Conan, those trades are worth the price alone for Roy Thomas' recollections of how Marvel Comics was run back in the day, and how he manipulated the non-fanasty Howard stories to fit Conan. Wonderful stuff, and the first thing I read when I get a new volume. Red Sonja reprints are coming in July or August from another publisher.

    Best,

    Jeff *whew*

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    PS I'll also be looking for that old Grimjack with Johnny Melnibone!!!

    I always felt Cynosure was in some ways similar to Tanelorn, but I gave up on the comic after a while, maybe when Truman left; I forget now.

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    Jeff, please don't feel any (Eternal Champion-style or other type) guilt!

    I'm pleased to have been nudged into buying the Conan book. It is after all the most "permanent" version of the story, and it does have the virtue of Roy Thomas' reminiscences. And for what you get it is very cheap. And I will enjoy re-reading some of the other stories for the first time in decades! So that’s pretty much A-OK. (Some of the other colouring seems better than the Elric two-parter got.)

    Anyway, I love to gripe about the crapness of comics and graphic novels. Makes sense, since I allegedly love the comics medium so much, right? (???)

    When 2000AD went full colour years ago all their artists went crazy with the browns, greys and dim purples. I called it Mud-Colour آ©â„¢. Disappointing to find it’s still with us!

    I knew you were a Grimjack fan (clever deduction, eh?) and I remember you mentioning the new Grimjack comic a while back, but I didn’t know it was out now. I’ll look for it at the London comic mart later today.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lord Doom
    replied
    Guy: YIKES!

    It's been a while since I saw the older reprints (my first was in the Pocket Book editions back in the 1970's), since I missed the early issues. I've never seen the actual comics; my Conan run started in the Buscema era.

    I thought the coloring HAS improved since the first volume of the reprints, but yes, I still like the older, flater coloring in my funny books. And I really HATE the lens flares and other photoshop effects commonly barraging us these days.

    I just posted a week or so ago on the John Ostrander website on how bad these computer gimmicks were on issue number 3 of the current Grimjack mini Killer Instinct. Lots of guassian blurs; by the time I finished reading I thought I had cataracts!

    I'm sorry that you were disappointed, and I wish I still had one of the older reprints. I do loathe this obsession with re-colouring older comic book works in the computer way. What's even worse are the artists that don't use proper pencil/inks to shade and the colorists do it. The current horror comic The Walking Dead is getting such praise, but I think the art is crap because of lack of detail pencil & ink work (look at the old Marvel magazines, or the recently release Essential Tomb of Dracula volumes to see true artistry in the b&W format).

    Once again, I'm sorry that you were disappointed and upset, especially since you went out and picked it up on my recommendation. You should have let me scan a few pages for you ;)

    Best,

    Jeff

    Leave a comment:


  • Governor of Rowe Island
    replied
    Excellent to have such an in depth analysis, Pedantic Stan. I've only seen these comics in the image gallery. Knowing they contain Elric stories makes them highly desirable.
    But I'd love to have a poor edition of these stories, I think I'd even settle for a photo-copy. Your information, however, makes it easier to make an informed choice. I, for one, have a file where this is all stored away in my head!

    (My poor head.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Governor of Rowe Island
    replied
    Originally posted by Ant
    Hey.
    • The Champion: Ted
      The Companion: Dougal
      The Lover: Mrs Doyle 8O
      The Weapon: Jack :twisted:
      The Adversary: Dick Byrnes
    Maybe so! Ted was always striving for balance. Always ready to help out in a crisis (as in the lingerie section.) And of course the weapon needed feeding, its appetite seemingly insatatiable. For Drink! at least.

    Feck! Arse!

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    Well, pards, I bought the Dark Horse reprint book The Chronicles of Conan vol.3, with the re-coloured version of the Elric stories, and I have to say this (and I have to say it at some length!):

    (1) The black films used to print the two Elric issues are pretty poor. Comparison with the original comic shows that a lot of the cross-hatching and other line work has “blacked in.� This makes the black artwork look considerably cruder than it did originally. The only thing in this book's favour is that the black plates used for the 4-colour reprint in Giant-Size Conan Annual 5 are even worse!)

    (2) The new computerised colouring is very slick and sophisticated and all that, but this does not sit well to my eye with the original art style. Barry Windsor-Smith and Sal Buscema were drawing for 4-colour reproduction (albeit to a higher standard than a lot of the comics of the time). Given that the black line art looks cruder than it ought, the slick colouring is even more out of place. Simple black line art with fancy “air-brush� effect tones added can look OK, but it needs skill and restraint to get it right.

    (3) There is far too much use of muffled grey and brown colours.

    Page 29 is a good example. Two brown humans on brown horses seen against a brown mist and a brown tree, and even the background of the title logo banner is brown!! Elric has a brown hat, an almost brown cape, and a greenish-blue jacket that is tinged with grey.

    Elric’s clothes throughout the story are made a dim dark green / brown instead of bright green and red. His armoured gauntlets, beautifully drawn by BWS, and originally yellow/golden, are rendered here as dark greyish blue. In many panels his greyish blue arms are seen against blue-grey backgrounds. Result: hardly any tonal distinction between background and foreground elements.

    An example of this: page 32, panel 1. For no good reason, the panel background and Elric's clothing are almost exactly the same colour. Result: the Elric figure has no graphic “presence� at all. He almost fades into the background, literally. The Conan figure is painted in such a brownish tinge of flesh colour that he too fails to stand out as he should.

    (4) The colourists have done some clever computer tricks which they must think enhance the art but in fact sometimes IMHO do the opposite.

    Examples: Stormbringer is in several panels given a sheen of white/blue-ish “lightning� or electric haze/spark effect. This might be clever in full colour art (except that Stormbringer is supposed to give off black light not white). But whereas in the original comic, the sword was seen as a shape, clearly defined, with this shimmery haze over it, the sword loses its shape and its definition. As a graphic entity it loses power, not gains it. (Page 31 panel 7 is a good example; also pg.26, panel 2.)

    Another clever trick: they drop the blacks from some pictorial elements, such as the clouds of smoke or dust behind Terhali on page 37, where the black is replaced by brown. Taking out the black from some elements, in a picture where most of the shapes have black outlines, has the effect of dropping the non-black elements into the background. In this case, it works fine, as the clouds of dust are behind the foreground elements.

    On page 33 they pull the same trick with the water of the lake, making the black lines into a greenish grey. Here they achieve the master-stroke of taking a foreground element and making it appear to drop into the background. Not so clever.

    (5) Some of their other errors of judgment are simply impossible to understand. Why did they colour the dawn scenes (clearly stated as such in the text) on page 7, 8 and 9 like a sunset? They pull the same stunt on page 45.

    Why take Xiombarg from her eerie demonic red colours, which made her look like a true goddess / demon queen, to the colours of an ordinary woman with overly-bright red lipstick on? `

    Why take Gaynor from his original silver armour (which stood out against the backgrounds) and put him in blue-grey suit which drops back into so many greyish backgrounds?

    (6) Reading the book in bright morning sunlight, rather than my first look under electric light, makes many of these defects less bad, but they are still poor use of colour. The original, anonymous, colourist of the comics did a much better job. He or she understood that colour in a comic book has a job of work to do, to aid the flow of the narrative. Unless they happened to be really talented in their own right, the new colourists should have been given a simple brief: follow the original colours but tone them down where the results would look garish on this glossy paper stock.

    If they had any decent original ideas (e.g. make Elric’s clothing nearly all black or dark grey to fit more with Moorcock’s descriptions) they should have been capable of working the colours of other pictorial elements (especially backgrounds) to preserve graphic clarity.

    These guys, I must conclude, have zero understanding of how colour should function in a comic book narrative. As with the artwork itself and the placement of the word balloons, colour is there to serve the narrative. It must aid the graphic clarity of the panels. The eye needs to read the artwork within a split second each time a panel is read. Every pictorial element needs to be clearly seen in its place. If the eye has to linger over the panel, working hard to figure out what each pictorial element is and how they relate to one another, either the artist or the colourist has failed the prime directive.

    This is not some dry and academic exercise. A comic narrative exists to be read (probably more often by electric light than by bright sunlight) and has to be clear to the eye.

    I am sorely disappointed to find that the “highest quality� printing so far of this well written and well drawn comic story should have been so badly coloured that it is not actually good quality at all.

    I have revised my former opinion. So far, the best way I can see to read this story is in the original Conan comic no's 14 and 15. Copies in less than great condition might be picked up at reasonable prices still!

    I am trying to find copies of the various B&W reprints it has had over the years. If one of them is particularly sharp it might win out!

    Watch this space.

    Yours,

    Guy Lawley
    (alias Pedantic Stan The Comic-Book Fan !)

    Leave a comment:


  • Ant
    replied
    Originally posted by GuyLawley
    Originally posted by Ant
    Originally posted by GuyLawley
    Blue stands in for black in the old 4-colour comics a lot.
    "That's right, Dougal. Sometimes you see sword-and-sorcery heroes bear what look like black blades but if you look closely you'll see they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue..."
    Slأ،inte,
    Ant
    :D :D :D
    Nice one, Ant! This gag deserves a place in the Hall Of Fame!
    You are too kind!

    Hey...
    • The Champion: Ted
      The Companion: Dougal
      The Lover: Mrs Doyle 8O
      The Weapon: Jack :twisted:
      The Adversary: Dick Byrnes


    Mmm... maybe not...

    Slأ،inte,
    Ant

    Leave a comment:


  • GuyLawley
    replied
    Originally posted by Lord Doom
    Originally posted by GuyLawley
    The Chronicles of Conan is on good paper, but has been re-coloured from the original and I for one don’t like the colouring job. Can’t remember how sharp the blacks are; anyone own a copy and care to comment?
    The first 2 volumes were rather rudely re-colored, but the colorists were trying to feel their way into the project, methinks. Unfortunately, it was rather dark and muddy that first volume. Later volumes are much better.

    The Elric 2 parter is in the third volume and it looks fantastic. I could always do a scan for you, if you'd like.

    Jeff
    Thanks, your lordship! I'll check it out next time I'm in my favourite comics shop.

    Leave a comment:

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