Friday, October 28, 2005

Conan: The Frost Giant's Daughter

I finished reading this trade paperback collection of the first story arc from Dark Horse's Conan comic book, written by Kurt Busiek with art by Cary Nord. Busiek is one of my favorite comics writers (his ASTRO CITY was a great series, as was UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN) and he approached the task of writing Conan adaptations and pastiches the right way, by going back to the original stories as Robert E. Howard wrote them and by taking part in the various Howard groups on the Internet. The result is an excellent job in the sections of this volume that are adapted from Howard stories. The sections that are original stories by Busiek start off well, with Conan staying fairly true to the character as Howard established him. But near the end of this collection, the story takes a turn that seems so wrong to me, so un-Howardian, that I wasn't able to get past it. I realize that everybody has their own interpretation of these things, but I can't buy this one.

As for the art, I remember reading Cary Nord's run on DAREDEVIL several years ago and liking it. Some of his Conan art is good, too, such as the cover for this trade paperback, but most of it is too blurry and vague for my taste, and the fact that it was colored directly from Nord's pencils and not inked first doesn't help matters. I think it was really crying out for the definition that a good inker could have given it.

However, nobody pays me to write or draw comic books and likely never will, so take these opinions for what they're worth.

1 comment:

Carl V. Anderson said...

I feel exactly the opposite. There are only a handful of artists who I think look good without their pencils being inked and I think Cary Nord is definitely one example. I love the look of the pencils. What I have noticed though is that some issues (the latest being 26 I believe)look like the art is too rushed in some panels. I'm sure some of this is just the result of working on a deadline but it is a bit disappointing when comics art isn't consistent panel to panel. I'm disappointed that Busiek is leaving Conan soon. I've really enjoyed the book but can't say I'm as apt to stay once he leaves. I'm with you though, I don't get paid to write or draw comics either so what do I know?