Conan #39


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Conan #39


  • Words: Kurt Busiek
  • Art: Rafael Kayanan
  • Inks: Rafael Kayanan
  • Colors: Rafael Kayanan
  • Story Title: In the Tower of Tara-Teth
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Apr 18, 2007

It had to happen in comics eventually. In this issue Conan battles zombies, statues, and giant bugs. The end, my friends, is nigh.

Yes, Conan has seen many things in his many wanderings across the many kingdoms of a long forgotten land. But this one is the strangest. In order to save a village of Zingarans from some horrible pestilence besetting them, the priest Kalanthes enlists Conan to travel to the Tower of Tara-Teth to retrieve some twigs from a magical tree. But the tower is fraught with danger and Conan’s old adversary Janissa just happens to be there after the same treasure as our hero.

Yes, I do believe the story was yanked out of some acid induced hallucinatory incident. But it is nevertheless excellent. As I have said before, Kurt Busiek knows how to write a good Conan story. His Conan is a man’s man who postures and storms and can be a bit of an ass. Since he is a skilled man-wall of a warrior, he can get away with it. But isn’t that why we love him? Many scribes can write this sort of character well; however, Busiek goes beyond that by adding a certain depth to the storytelling that many tales in this genre lack. He hints at messages, character’s lines and behaviors can be socially motivated and speak volumes in one word balloon. Furthermore, the Janissa rape scene from issue #12 is further explained in a short essay that you may or may not agree with, but you should read it.

Now, what was I saying about acid? Rafael Kayanan’s art is the perfect fit for this odd adventure. His work is dark and surreal. As I flip through the pages I see some of Bob Budianski in Kayanan’s art but with a chilling, unrefined edge to it that works well with the story. The gore of dozens of zombies dying, the horror of giant green bugs, and the awe-inspiring fear of a statue that shoots bats from its mouth is captured with frightening finesse by Kayanan’s art. To be able to tell a story like this with sequential art, and to do it so undeniably well, would be a challenge. Luckily for readers of Conan, Kayanan is up to that challenge.

Together, Busiek and Kayanan have created a Conan story that might just scare you a little. Go ahead. I dare you to go see what’s inside the Tower of Tara-Teth.

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