As Mrs 1537 has commandeered the stereo to selfishly play her own music this evening, somehow forgetting the fact that it is a man’s prerogative to listen to his own music, on his own stereo at all times, regardless of the wishes of the other residents of the household, I’ve been tucking into a slew of the 1960′ s and 70’s Marvel comics my uncle Jim gave me.
Forgive me if I repeat myself, but I grew up on the Conan books of Robert E. Howard, especially those ably padded out by Lin Carter and L Sprague de Camp* and Michael Moorcock’s books too. Now Moorcock had rock and roll credentials in excelsis via his collaborations with Hawkwind amongst others, but that was all far in the future for the teenage 1537 who was obsessed by his Runestaff books and his Elric of Melnibone ones in particular. Little did I know that two months after I was born Conan and Elric of Melnibone would meet and cross swords in Conan The Barbarian Vol.1 No.14 – 15. Oh yes!
It’s a classic tale of boy-meets-girl, boy-battles-opponent-from-other-series-whom-he-later-befriends, boy-loses-girl-as-she-becomes-magical-avenging-embodiment-of-the-Gods-of-Law. The plot follows the classic time-honoured story arc that all superhero team-ups used to, Conan and Elric meet up, fight, team up against a greater foe, bicker, save each other and then part each a little wiser, hopefully after attracting some new readers. It’s a Conan hack and slash adventure with some layered on, heroes used as puppets by the gods of Law and Chaos, frills. There are some excellent full-page panels by Barry Smith, although I do wish they’d dressed Elric up in the black armour I vaguely remember him wearing rather than that strangely camp party hat/dunce’s cap they insisted on putting him in. Ho-hum.
There’s also an advert featuring a gentleman who’d have further dealings with Mr Conan in the future, yup, it’s the ex-governor of California!
319 Down (still).
*who’s Tritonian Ring series itself was brilliant I remember.