Sword and sorcery as a genre is one that often gets a bad press, unless the words Tolkien or Pratchett are attached to it, but some of the best stories I have ever read have their roots in leather clad barbarians and mustachioed grand vizier with ties to some dark all powerful demon.
My all time favourite of these heroes, as you can probably guess, is Conan the Barbarian. Not the Arnold Schwarzenegger version, the original Robert E Howard version.
Conan first appeared in a series of short stories in the pulp anthology magazine Weird Tales, the first story The Phoenix On The Sword being published in 1932, and by the time of Robert E Howard’s tragic death by suicide in 1936, a further 20 stories had been written, as well as various essays and poems.
what I loved about these stories is their timeless feel, which does come with a self contained world set before the birth of Christ, and for stories which are over 80 years old, they don’t feel it, they are well written, deep and rich and it would have been amazing if there could have been more.
Conan is one of those characters that has endured over the decades, through video games, comic books and more than one movie adaptation and now after what is probably my dozenth rereading of Robert E Howard’s version, I decided to dip my toe into the comic world of Conan and have ordered myself the first two volumes of the Chronicles of Conan, which is Dark Horse comics, reprinting Marvel’s adaptations of the original Robert E Howard stories.
I really am looking forward to it, and will let you know what I think after they arrive, and thanks to the beauty that is amazon prime, that shouldn’t be too long at all.