Saturday, May 13, 2006


Okay. P. Craig Russell is, indisputably, some kind of comics genius. Trippy, ethereal, fine-line work, innovative layouts, rock-solid storytelling, standing up for the ability of comics to tell any kind of story, and for the fusion of comics and the other narrative arts, particularly opera.

And I should be glad, I suppose, that he has turned his hand to the rip-roaring adventures of Robert E. Howard's iconic character, Conan. I'm not a huge fan of the "barbarian" subgenre of fantasy, but Russell's adaptation of The Jewels Of Gwalhur is, in many ways, tremendous fun—expertly paced, energetic, and amusingly lurid.



I can live with the physique—even if, in some panels, it looks like Conan's got a beer gut, it's a more realistic body-shape for a working soldier than the huge-shouldered, wasp-waisted steroidal absurdity of John Buscema's classic interpretation (or Arnold Schwarzenegger's, for that matter).

But with all due deference to a master of the form, I cannot buy a Cimmerian reaver with a mullet and board-shorts.

As John Milius (not coincidentally, also the screenwriter for the first Conan movie) once put it; You either surf or you fight. And Conan don't surf.

No comments: