Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good but what is best in life?
Mongol Soldier: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist and the wind in your hair.
Mongol General: Wrong! Conan, what is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Any fan of Conan, specifically the 1982 John Milius-directed film starring an absolutely gargantuan Arnold Schwarzenegger, knows that quote. It’s one of the more famous lines of dialogue in all sci-fi and fantasy geekdom, abridged from some sage “how to conquer” advice by Ghengis Khan. Hey, if anyone should know…
The author Robert E. Howard created the character of Conan for publication in pulp magazines back in 1932 to great success. Since then, the barbarian’s longevity has been nothing short of astounding, the fictional creation finding his way in all aspects of pop culture: not just in novels and short stories, but in film, television, video games, board games, card games, role-playing games and, of course, comic books.
For the better part of the last decade, Dark Horse Comics has been publishing various Conan stories leading up to today and the release of what many deem the greatest Conan story!
Witten and illustrated, respectively, by fan favourite comic book creators Brian Wood (Northlanders) and Becky Cloonan (Demo), this Conan the Barbarian monthly series is an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s beloved short story, Queen of the Black Coast. If you know Conan, you’ll know exactly what that means. If all you know of Conan is Ah-nold, then you’re in for a treat. This barbarian is black-haired, panther-like in appearance, intelligent and, unusually, clad in the type of armour deemed useful to a pirate.
Here, Conan gets his sea legs as a passenger on a pirate ship, looting the southern waters of the Black Coast. He falls for a headstrong (and somewhat sadomasochistic) pirate Queen, and together they pillage coastal town after coastal town, instilling terror into the inhabitants whilst seizing their riches. Ho! Great fun!
If you’re a fan of the pulpy nature of high fantasy and enjoy swordfights, blood, magic and monsters, you’ll be sure to get them all – and more – here.
So make the run extra quick this Wednesday and pick up a copy of Conan the Barbarian. ‘Cos the only sound worse than the lamentation of the women, is the sound of the lamentation of the comic book fan, staring bleakly at the reality of a sold out first issue.
Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!