37 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Given that Lin Carter and L. Sprague de Camp have both passed on, there could be no better author for "Conan: The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian" than Roy Thomas. When Lancer published its Conan paperbacks in the 1960s, usually with some of the best cover art Frank Frazetta every produced, Carter and de Camp had completed several of Robert E. Howard's unfinished stories, turned some other Howard stories into Conan tales, and came up with some new ones to fill in Conan's life, all arranged in chronological order. In 1970 Conan successfully negotiated with Howard's estate to start Marvel's "Conan the Barbarian" comic book. Thomas would end up writing more than 200 issues of "Conan the Barbarian," "Savage Sword of Conan," and "King Conan" comic books and graphic novels, two years of a Conan newspaper strip, a couple of record albums, and several television cartoons, as well s being a paid consultant on the "Conan the Barbarian" movie and co-writer of the first five drafts of its sequel, "Conan the Destroyer." Just for Marvel alone Thomas adapted every single Conan story Howard wrote and ended up turning more Howard non-Conan stories into Conan stories.
This book is commemorating the centennial of Howard's birth in 1906, which is as good of a reason as any to justify putting this book together. Thomas takes advantage of the chronology suggested by the "Nemedian Chronicles" and Howard's original stories, and fleshed out by Carter and de Camp, to divide Conan's life into a baker's dozen worth of stages: (1) Conan the Cimmerian covers the Battle of Venarium and his time among the Aesir; (2) Conan the Thief includes "The Tower of the Elephant"; (3) Conan the Mercenary; (4) Conan, Corsair of the Black Coast is the period when Amra traveled with Belit, "Queen of the Black Coast"; (5) Conan the Warrior is about his time with the Free Companions; (6) Conan the Chieftain finds him among the Zugairs and involves his crucifixion in "A Witch Shall Be Born"; (7) Conan, Solider of Fortune sees him again working as a mercenary; (8) Conan, Scourge of the Seas, sees him returning to the life of a pirate and becoming friends with Sigurd; (9) Conan, South of Stygia, is about our hero in the Black Kingdoms of the South, and includes "Red Nails."
The final stages all end up representing Conan the King, beginning with (10) Conan of the Border, when he joined the army of Aquilonia as a scout and started moving up through the ranks; (11) Conan the Liberator tells of how he came to slay the tyrant King Numedides; (12) Conan the King finally gets Conan on the thrown and shows how a liberator can also be called a usurper. Conan has to deal with several plots against his life, during which he meets Zenobia, the Nemedian slave that he would make queen of Aquilonia. Two of his oldest foes, King Yezdigerd of Turan and the Stygian sorcerer Thoth-amon would both fall to him; (13) Conan of the Isles has the final story in the saga, as Conan sails over the sea for his last great adventure. Thomas then provides an Epilogue that looks a The Hyborian Age After Conan, which eventually comes to an end when the Picts make themselves masters of Aquilonia. The next result is a fairly comprehensive look at the history of the character, thereby justifying the subtitle declaring this to be "The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian." Too bad we did not have this book around when Thomas was chaffing at the bit as "Conan the Barbarian" was progressing slowly through stages four and five, and using "The Savage Sword of Conan" to adapt all of the Robert E. Howard stories as quickly as possible. With Conan unstuck in time in black & white a reference book like this would have been quite useful.
The most detailed map of the Hyborian World that I have seen to date takes up a two-page spread at the start of the book, along with introductions to the Hyborian Age and the major gods of the Hyborian world. Throughout each section Thomas devotes pages to well known characters in the Conan saga, such as Yag-Kosha and Valeria, as well as key stories like "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" and "Red Nails." However, one of the things that Thomas does with this approach is that he does not distinguish between what was written by Howard versus any other writer, including himself. because the everything becomes part of the Conan saga. You will also find sidebars scattered throughout the book touching on topics like the "Tigress" that was Belit's pirate ship as well as brief profiles of dozens of characters from Queen Vammatar & The Witch Men to Epimetreus, spectral sage of Golamira. If you are looking for something in particular, the Index in the back of the book will help you out.
I do not know if Thomas had a big hand of picking the artwork for this book, but you have to love it when you are chronicling the days of Conan the Cimmerian and you can include the art of Frazetta, Barry Winsdor-Smith and Kurt Busiek (and others) for "The Frost Giant's Daughter." Except for the titles pages for each section there are multiple illustrations on pretty much every page and they also get bonus points for keeping the black & white artwork by Buscena and others from "Savage Sword of Conan" in their original black & white glory (I always loved the inking of Alfredo Alcala on Busceam's pencils in the black & white art). There are only some citations for Frazetta and a few other copyrighted artists, but otherwise there are not individual citations for the art, just a list at the back of the book that does not name all of the Marvel artists that did Conan. There is a dust jacket for this book, but when you take it off you get the exact same thing on the front (art by Alex Ross) and back cover of the actual book.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I really like this book. Its a perfect companion to the Wandering Star/Del Rey editions. If you're a fan, then you probably know all of the stories already. This book is really all about the art. Each and every page is chock full of beautiful artwork by Mark Schultz, Gary Gianni, Gregory Manches, John Buscema, and Barry Smith, among others. It even features artwork from perhaps the greatest Conan artist of all, Frank Frazetta, although it does not feature his best painting, the one from "Conan the Adventurer". Additionally, I would have welcomed more Margaret Brundage artwork, and its completely missing art from Boris Valejo. While I think John Buscema was a gifted artist, he always had a tendency to draw Conan wearing a loincloth instead of the clothes that REH actually described him as wearing, which in most cases was completely implausible. Belit's outfit is ridiculous. REH had her nude from the waist up, and I understand that Marvel Comics couldn't possibly depict her that way, but a fur bathing suit??? It would have been nice to include at least one painting that actually depicts Belit exactly as Howard described her (other than the Shultz painting, which shows her completely nude).
...but these are minor complaints.
The primary focus is on the official REH Conan stories, although it does cover some pastiches as well. In these cases, Roy Thomas calls these "unconfirmed myths and legends". The book completely ignores the two Conan movies, and (thankfully) the horrendus TV series.
Its been so long, I forgot what a gifted Conan writer that Roy Thomas was. In my opinion, his original stories (especially the Belit story arc) were consistently way better and more imaginative than anything L. Sprague de Camp or Robert Jordan were doing at the same time. This book is obviously a labor of love. If you're a REH or a Conan fan, then you MUST have this as part of your collection. Highly recommended!
30 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Richard A. Tucker
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I hate to be the naysayer in the lot because this book is, for the most part, beautiful to look at. However, this is not for the serious reader of Robert Howard's Conan. From an artistic perspective I'm glad to see this book, but there are some considerable exceptions which keep me from endorsing it. There is a lot of representation from comic books, which is fine but there are a considerable amount of images missing, and too many from both old and recently reprinted art that is below the quality a book like this one should require. There is a lot of Cary Nord's artwork from the current Dark Horse series. While I like his work it seems to pad the book out more than it is highlighting the subject. There are reprints of some very nice Barry Windsor Smith art, which is unfortunately culled from the recent Dark Horse reprints featuring horrendous new digital color (some obscures Barry's original linework so badly as to blot it out entirely with garrish results). What is missing are the stellar talents of artists like Michael Kaluta (he did stunning cover art for the comics and the magazine), more Gil Kane, Val Mayerick, more Neal Adams (again, a vivid cover artist for the magazine line), the weird and wonderful pin-ups and illustrations done by Armando Gil and countless others. Instead we get a lot of the current artist and old John Buscema who, while a decent to sometimes great Conan artist he is not represeented well in these pages since his bread and butter pages, proofed from newsprint pages, make up the vast majority of his work. He did better work, particularly when he inked his own pencils.
On the plus side, the recent illustrations from the new Del Rey editions are also presented here. Those artists, Mark Schultz, Gary Gianni and Gregory Manchess are joined by older Conan artists like Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, the late Nestor Redondo, Doug Beekman, Earl Noram and others.
The forward written by Todd ("I can't remember what Conan I read first")McFarlane is not terrible exciting or indicative of his love for the character. It's more like the editors decided to go with a name related to comics as opposed to someone who really sank his teeth into the subject. This brings me to the decent but altogether less than stellar writing by former Conan comic scribe, Roy Thomas. His descriptions of Conan and his world are quite good, unfortunately a lot of the things included in this book are stories straight out of Roy's scripts and not part of Howard's written work. Will this book be updated later with Kurt Busiek's filler strories from Dark Horse as well? Well, no update will be required yet because a Busiek creation named Janissa is in this book.
What can I say? This is not a terrible book. It is a another in a line of missed opportunities.
For people who are Conan fans and only read the comics, well this book was made for you. The rest of us will still be left waiting for the real deal to come along.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I'm in the minority here, but I thought this book was really flawed and I was disappointed. At first glance it looks great... nicely designed with quality reproduction of the artwork... but there are problems with the book as a whole.
For one thing the text doesn't state clearly which Conan story you are reading about on any given page or pages. The subtitle of the book calls it the "Ultimate Guide" so it should guide the reader at least a little! I don't mind so much that it includes lots of non-Robert E. Howard stories from the comic books, but let the reader know in each case what they're looking at... and include an index.
Another thing that really bothered me was the failure to credit the artists for all the illustrations. Every page is illustrated... it's the raison d'etre for the book... but who drew or painted all this stuff? There's virtually no indication. All the way in the back of the book the author briefly thanks some (not even all!) of the artists, but nowhere can you look up who created any particular illlustration.
If you just want a pretty looking Conan coffee table book this fits the bill... but otherwise you might want to skip it.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
On the back dust jacket, former Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco refers to Roy Thomas as the world renowned expert on Conan the Barbarian and it's hard to argue that claim. Outside of Robert E. Howard himself, no one knows Conan like Roy Thomas...and Roy wrote about him for far longer than Howard to boot! I still remember the first Conan comic I ever read. It was issue #42 in 1974 and the cover showed Conan battling a gargoyle in mid air. I quickly became a huge Conan fan. And now DK books have released this absolutely gorgeous over-sized hardcover book, "Conan-The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Savage Barbarian" written by Roy Thomas.
The book traces Conan's life from his earliest days in Cimmeria to his senior citizen days as ruler of Aquilonia and his mysterious final adventures. The book focuses primarily on the timeline and continuity established in the various Marvel Comics and black and white magazines such as Savage Sword of Conan. We'll first meet Conan as a mere teenager, yet already powerful as he joins his kinsmen in the attack on the Aquilonian outpost of Venarium. From there, the young barbarian would leave his homeland, first ventuing into the lands of the Aesir and Vanir, encountering "The Frost Giants Daughter" and "The Thing in the Crypt". The book contains not only art from the Thomas/Barry Smith versions of these tales but also the more recent Dark Horse Comics adaptations of the Howard stories.
One of my favorite periods of Conan's career is his time spent in Spider-haunted Zamora and its cities of Shadizar the Wicked and Arenjun the City of Thieves, where Conan would first try his hand at thievery. It is in Zamora where perhaps the most famous Howard story "The Tower of the Elephant" is set. Here, in a bid to steal riches from the tower of the powerful wizard Yara, Conan meets the Lovecraftian-inspired Yag Kosha who came to the Hyborian lands from another world.
One thing that really stands out is the reproduction of so much classic Conan artwork from artists such as Frank Frazetta, Ken Kelley, Earl Norem, P. Craig Russell, John Buscema, Barry Windsor Smith, Boris, and many others. DK did a magnificent job of reprinting the art beautifully such as the two-page spread of Boris's cover from Savage Sword #5 as Conan is crucified on the Tree of Death! Kudos to everyone involved for their eclectic, and decades-spanning selection of art in the book.
Besides being a timeline of Conan's career, the book also functions as a graphic encyclopedia to people, places, and events that Conan encountered throughout his many adventures. Evil wizards such as Thoth-Amon, Thulandra Thuu, Tsotha-Lanti, and Xaltotun; his female companions Valeria and Belit, and the dark, misty locations of Stygia and Khitai. From the Black Coast to Hykrania and from Thief to King, Roy Thomas manages to squeeze in just about anything the Conan fan could ask for and DK books wrapped it all up in a beautiful package. It even comes with a full-color, two-page map of the Hyborian World so you can trace Conan's journey's as you read through the book. My highest recommendation for this book!
Reviewed by Tim Janson