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Barbarian King of Fantasy

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Few words in the history of speculative fiction conjure the fantastical images that the name 'Conan' brings to mind. Few characters in the history of speculative fiction have endured the test of time as Conan has. Even fewer characters brought into the comics' medium have offered up the staying power the bronze giant has shown.

I'm considered to be one of the "Conan purists", meaning I've been reading the Conan novels since childhood - O' those many years ago - and have seldom, if ever, discovered anything outside the novels that I've found as enjoyable as the works of Robert E. Howard.

Howard created a character that is iconic, archetypal, dynamic and transcendental. The figure of Conan looms in the shadows of fantasy like a bringer of doom forged by the hands of gods.

Based on my obvious love for the pure form of this character is it any wonder I groaned when I heard Dark Horse was bringing Conan back to comics? Sure there have been some decent Conan comics in the past, but there had been an equal, if not greater, number of books that simply failed to grasp the essence of the Cimmerian.

Once I got my hands on the Conan preview issue, it was with great trepidation that I opened the book and began reading. By the end of the issue, the hackles on the back of my neck were standing up, tingling sparks were shooting up & down my spine and once again I felt myself transported to a world that existed before the beginning of recorded time - before the seas drank Atlantis, before the Age of Bronze.

Know O' Prince, that Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord have delivered onto us a story of epic proportions true to its source work, save for the moments of embellishment that mimic Howard so well one can hardly discern where the original ends and the new tales begin.

A writer as prominent as Kurt Busiek delivers many great works; however, this may very well be his crowning achievement. Cary Nord captures the essence of Howard's vision, with a respectful nod to the legendary Conan art created by Frank Frazetta. Together, Busiek and Nord have truly earned this award.

- Mike Bullock

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