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Chronicles of Conan Volume 1: Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories Taschenbuch – 30. September 2003
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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Barry Windsor-Smith is a comic book writer, illustrator, and painter. He was educated at East Ham Technical College and later went on to write for Marvel, DC, Valiant, Dark Horse, and other comic book imprints. Windsor-Smith is best known for his work on Avengers, Iron Man, Conan the Barbarian, and Red Sonja. He is a member of the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.
- Herausgeber : Dark Horse Books; 1. Edition (30. September 2003)
- Sprache : Englisch
- Taschenbuch : 160 Seiten
- ISBN-10 : 1593070160
- ISBN-13 : 978-1593070168
- Abmessungen : 16.87 x 0.91 x 25.96 cm
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2,100,274 in Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Bücher)
- Nr. 494 in Superhelden-Comics & Graphic Novels für junge Erwachsene
- Nr. 61,403 in New Adult
- Nr. 80,508 in Belletristik für Jugendliche
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The key in these first eight issues of "Conan the Barbarian" are when Thomas and Windsor-Smith work from some of Robert E. Howard's original stories. Issue #4, "Tower of the Elephant" is prominent in the title of this collection because it is the first classic "Conan" comic book, but the adaptations of "The Grey God Passes" (#3), the poem "Zuakal's Hour" (#5), "The God in the Bowl" (#7), and a synopsis by Howard that Thomas uncovered (#8), were all crucial in helping the team find their voice and look in these comics. Just as the writing by Thomas becomes more than standard comic book fare, so does the artwork by Windsor-Smith because more stylized. Sal Buscema's inking of Windsor-Smith's pencils clearly defines this period, but I like the pages done by Dan Atkins a little better. Frank Giacoia's inks were just too different, but the final story, inked by Tom Sutton and Tom Palmer, hints at what we would see when Windsor-Smith would ink himself (did I mention I have the splash page of issue #8 as a black light poster?).
I have been happy to pick up the Marvel black and white reprint collections in the Essential series, but Conan is the exception to the rule. I do not want to take my comic books out of their bags, but with the remastered color of these comic books these reprints look a whole lot better than the originals. With its exotic locales, strange creatures, and gaudily dressed characters, "Conan" is a comic that especially benefits from remastered color. The results are extremely impressive.
Both Thomas and Windsor-Smith continue to make great improvements over the next dozen issues of "Conan the Barbarian," so I look forward to Volume 2 of "the Chronicles of Conan." Hopefully Dark Horse can reprint Thomas and Windsor-Smith's black and white Conan stories that they did in "The Savage Sword of Conan," especially "Red Nails," the splash page of which I had blown up on a giant poster board and colored in myself. I treasure that almost as much as the Windsor-Smith print we have in our bedroom that is signed and enscribed with our names and the date we got married.
Die Recolorierung ist herausragend gut gelungen, und nur Rosarote-Brillenträger können ernsthaft die alten Comics mit Conans pinkfarbener Haut besser finden.
Sehr gelungen finde ich auch die ausführlichen Nachworte von Roy Thomas in diesen Bänden, die einen Blick hinter die Kulissen erlauben (und Thomas verliert sich nicht in Schwärmereien, sondern redet Tacheles).
Diesen Band als Auftakt holen für einen der gefeiertsten Runs der Comicgeschichte in einer brillianten Neuauflage, und in Band 2, 3 und 4 erkennen, was Smith und Thomas da an bester Fantasy herausgebracht haben.
Spitzenrezensionen aus anderen Ländern
Thankfully for those of us who were buying comics in the early 1970's the task was handed to Roy Thomas himself, a task he stayed with for 115 issues. The artwork for the first few years was handed to Barry Smith and it is plain in these first 8 issues that he was still developing his style, they may not be to everyone's taste but they look far better in the enhanced colours that are used here.
There is a decent mixture of new tales along with others based on Howard's original stories. Roy Thomas' first issue scene setter is an original tale introducing Conan as a young Cimmerian sword for hire who soon finds himself fighting against wizards, demons and beast-men and rescuing maidens in peril along the way. The covers of the comics, also by Barry Smith and sadly not re-printed here, promised so much, and by and large they delivered. It is thanks to the comic genius of Stan Lee that he spotted a worrying trend on the covers and his advice to Roy Thomas helped steer the title from declining sales to become one of Marvel's flagship titles.
A few of Robert E. Howard's tales are used here, "Twilight of the Grim Grey God", the brilliant "Tower of The Elephant" with its moving ending and "The God in The Bowl" re-named as "The Lurker Within", "Zukala's Daughter" is based on one of Howard's poems.
Of Thomas' own tales the first two introductory issues were great but "Devil Wings over Shadizar" stood out for me. He skilfully kept the stories flowing between issues, linking some of Howard's best loved tales together with some of his own best writing. Conan The Barbarian was one of my must-have's in my early comic collecting days and thanks to these reprints I am catching up on half remembered tales, as well as working my way through Howard's original stories.
I just wish the original covers could have been reprinted here but I guess there are copyright issues involved that unfortunately not even a sword wielding, demon-slaying, wild-eyed Cimmerian could help solve.
In this series, I found "Lair of the Beast-Men" and "Zukala's Daughter" fun to read, but I can't complain about any of them, this was a good set. In a subsequent comic, Zukala returns (in chronicles 3). I like that about these books, and there is coordination for the series, making it better to read them in sequence than randomly and I also noticed that there are additional supplementary books.
Conan battles against beast, and he battles with a decietful women that he had rescued. He does not find his kingdom in this set. With all of this trouble in the Hyborian age, it almost equals what we face, but Conan is not detered. I enjoy finding out what is going to jump out and challenge him. We discover some characteristics of Conan over time such as his distrust of magic or his sense of loyalty and pride, but I don't know how close of an approximation he is to the barbarian king in history. I am a novice yet as far as it goes. I heard that the original story teller used history as a background for his fantasy world.
The writing, especially the prose captions are very good, but it's hard to tell who's writing them Roy Thomas or Robert E Howard. Roy Thomas takes all the credit for issue 6, Devil-Wings Over Shadizar, and I thought the writing there went down a notch. The stories are pretty much stand alone pieces. You can put the book down for a while and not lose the thread. I thought the best one of the lot was Lair of the Beast-Men, which was about a slave uprising, and a cowed man Kiord regaining his human dignity even in death.
Finally for all those still mourning the passing of the late, great Stan the Man. There's a great story Roy Thomas relates about how Stan's guidance and instincts basically saved Conan from the brink of cancellation extinction. Another great anecdote to add to the legend.
I remember reading the first Conan comic book, borrowed from a friend of mine named Ricky who was enthusiastic about it. I can’t remember if he’d read Conan’s newest paperback releases from Lancer or not before the comic came out. I knew I hadn’t.
Frankly, I was less than impressed with the story, and not happy at all with the astronaut floating in space in one of the panels. That took the story right out of the fantasy realm for me. I had recently read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Those books were fantasy to me.
Eventually, though, Conan became – and still is – a mainstay of my reading. I do remember Barry Windsor-Smith’s art, though. No one did stuff like Barry Windsor-Smith. That second page of the comic book that has the panel of Conan running with his horned helmet is one of those iconic images that will never leave me, and never fail to reduce me to a 12 year old boy again.
Windsor-Smith’s use of small panels and Thomas’s tendency toward verbosity (often explaining in narrative what a reader can SEE in the panels) makes those issues often read like an illustrated manuscript rather than a comic book. I don’t know how Windsor-Smith did it, and I know there are artists who would run for the hills if this kind of work load was shoved at them.
The stories kind of limp along in this collection because Thomas was still finding his feet as a storyteller in general, and hadn’t (by his own admission in the afterward) really known what he was doing with Conan. Or where he wanted to go.
The adaptation of Howard’s “Tower of the Elephant” is a story I always think of when I think of Conan. The story is just so heartfelt, and it’s weird to think of just how young both Howard and Thomas were when the first wrote the story and the second adapted it to comics.
Windsor-Smith (according to Thomas) was incredibly excited about the story. He did his best on the pages, and even got Thomas to stay off of some of them to let the story be told visually.
Sitting and reading these first stories one after another does tend to show how repetitive the adventures are. At one point, Conan got canceled (for a day) because of low sales, but thankfully the series picked back up and allowed Thomas to continue writing literally hundreds of Conan tales for years.
Barry Windsor-Smith was lost along the way, but John Buscema stepped in as the regular artist for years and gave Conan that iconic look so many comic book fans around the world know and love.
I’m looking forward to reading other volumes of the Conan the Barbarian series, called the Chronicles of Conan in these collections. I spent a lot of my formative youth reading the adventures of the barbarian hero, so I look forward to adventuring with him again.
Conan’s environment should be familiar to anyone into sword and fantasy stories. There are constant wars, adventures, women, monsters, treasure and dangers. Thus in issue #1 Conan is in the middle of a battle, something he seeks out to prove himself as a fighter. Of course, this isn’t a world only of humans as winged demons show up, along with a wizard-shaman. Conan’s sense of honor is shown in issue #2 when he inspires a slave revolt. The following comics follow similar themes. The one problem I have is that in a few issues Thomas had Conan be a thief. That didn’t seem to fit with Conan’s sense of honor and status he was always looking for yet it would be a position the character would find himself in quite a few early stories.
This is a great introduction to the Conan series and the coloring has been redone so that each individual plate really stand out.