Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword, Volume 1 Written by Paul Tobin, Scott Allie, Mark Finn, Marc Andreyko, Joe Casey, Robert E. Howard, Jeremy Barlow, David Lapham, Joshua Williamson, Dave Land, Peter Doree
Art/Illustrations/Pencils/Inks/Colors by Wellington Alves, Ben Dewey, Greg Scott, Pop Mhan, Tony Parker, Fabio Cobiaco, Patric Reynolds, M.S. Corley, Sean Phillips, Tim Bradstreet, Tim Seeley, Robert Atkins, Rebecca Buchman, Michael Atiyeh, Dave Stewart, Grant Goleash, Michelle Madsen, Jose Villarrubia, Brian Miller, Hi-Fi Colour Design, Dan Jackson
Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 9, 2013
Cover Price: $17.99
Okay, first off, the individuals listed above were done so in the order in which their stories were placed in the anthology, subdivided by the type of work they contributed. No offense was implied towards any person who might have been placed incorrectly in this review. There, I’ve been about as politically correct as I can be. All characters are based upon the work of Robert E. Howard. This is, after all, Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword, Volume 1.
Red Sonja #71 Story by Eric Trautmann
Pencils by Edgar Salazar
Colors by Salvatore Aiala Studios
Letters by Simon Bowland
Cover by Walter Geovani
Edited by Joseph Rybandt Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: November 14, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99
Red Sonja #71 is a fantastic sword & sorcery comic. It’s got everything you want in a fantasy comic. Sword fights, magic and mystical artifacts, exoctic locations, and, oh yeah, a WICKED hot red head!
Writer Eric Trautmann crafts an interesting story. For 90 percent of the issue, Red Sonja is alone, so most of the story is told through a narrator. That doesn’t hurt the issue by any means, but I think it might have gone better if it was Sonja’s inner monologue instead of generic narration. It’s a great story of her quest in some ice land to take down an evil dragon and get revenge for one of her fallen comrades. The story moves along at a decent pace; most of the issue is a fight between her and the dragon and while it goes on for several pages, it never once drags or gets boring. Trautmann always keeps the pace up and actually gives us some of the history of the villain while the fights taking place. Very interesting storytelling and it ends on a mild cliffhanger that’s a nice touch.
Once he left the governor’s office Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t waste any time getting back to his big screen action roots, lining up one high-profile star gig after another. A return to the Terminator series has been rumored for a while now, but the prospect of seeing the Austrian Oak donning shades, a shotgun, and biker duds to battle evil robots at his age doesn’t particularly excite me. If you need proof as to why I feel that way, you obviously haven’t seen Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
But I know I’m not alone in possessing a long-held desire to see Schwarzenegger return to the iconic role that launched his career as a cinematic action hero in 1982’s fantasy-adventure classic Conan the Barbarian. John Milius wrote and directed the feature (with contributions from future rabble-rousing filmmaker Oliver Stone) with the intention of making a trilogy of grand epics revolving around Robert E. Howard‘s legendary thief, warrior, and king. Sadly though those intentions went unrealized as Milius was elbowed out of the series following the release of the first film when producer Dino De Laurentiis decided to go a more family-friendly route for the PG-rated 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer. That movie was derided as meager Saturday afternoon entertainment for kids by fans of the original and longtime followers of the character’s brawny pulp exploits. Despite an attempt by Milius to revive the franchise in the 90’s with a script entitled King Conan: Crown of Iron, the series would lay dormant for nearly three decades. A CGI-enhanced 3D reboot of the series directed by Marcus Nispel bombed at the box office in August 2011.
Monstermen and Other Scary Stories Written and Illustrated by Gary Gianni
Additional Stories by William Hope Hodgeson, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard and Perceval Landon
Letters by Sean Konot, Todd Klein, and Clem Robins
Introduction by Michael Chabon Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 7, 2012
Cover Price: $24.99
At one point early on in Gary Gianni’s Monstermen and Other Scary Stories a main character gets a curse that leaves a disturbing mark on his head. It has to be seen to be fully understood because I can only describe it as a Stegosaurus Mohawk… and it’s maybe one of the single coolest things I’ve ever seen in a comic. A few pages later it’s gone, like a ghastly sight in a haunted house, never to be seen again.
Monstermen and Other Scary Stories was originally published as back ups in Hellboy beginning in the mid-90s, though Giannis’ work seems to be about as much Edward Gorey as Mike Mignola. Many avid comic book readers will be familiar with his work, which began first on Classics Illustrated adaptations, most famously on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He then won an Eisner for Best Short Story for the Heroes contribution in Batman: Black and White before settling into his current gig doing Prince Valiant. Monstermen stands out in his body of work as being his most original and innovative title.
Conan the Barbarian #1 Script by Brian Wood
Art by Becky Cloonan
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Covers by Massimo Carnevale and Becky Cloonan Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 8, 2012
Cover Price: $3.50
I’ve been looking forward to Conan the Barbarian #1 ever since it was announced. Why? Because with the announcement of the book’s creative team, it promised something different for a Conan comic, and happily, it delivers. Big time.
Fans have been begging for Dark Horse to adapt the classic Robert E. Howard Conan story Queen of the Black Coast for quite a while now, and that has to be tricky for writer Brian Wood. Thankfully, he more than delivers on this fan’s expectations.