Thursday, 6 March 2014


Ah, October '77 - I remember it well.  (October is when this November-
dated mag probably went on sale - if not September, even.)  At one time I
had just about every issue in this series, but gave them to a pal in a moment
of madness;  now all I retain are the first and last issues to remind me of
those happy days gone by.

Look at the artwork.  I was surprised to learn that JOHN BUSCEMA
wasn't too keen on ALFREDO ALCALA's inks over his pencils, a fact
which, frankly, I find truly astonishing.  Great as John B undoubtedly was,
Alcala's inks gave the finished pages a whole new depth and dimension,
resulting in a  perfect example of a 'greater than the sum of its parts'
scenario.  Just why Big John couldn't appreciate that is amazing. 

The mag finally came to an end with issue #93, cover-dated July '85, an
impressive almost eight year run.  Luckily, I got another chance to collect
these tales (and some of the cover art that fronted them) when CONAN
SAGA made its debut in 1987.  No doubt we'll be taking a look at that
series at a future date.   


baab said...

I saw a collection of these on E-bay the other night.
I had a look at the covers and only remembered owning the first,which you feature here.

I think there was another couple of releases at the same time which were sci-fi or super hero related,maybe Star-Lord or something,and that was more interesting to me.

I loved Conan,if Barry Smith was drawing him and although John Buscema's was probably nearer to the mark visually,he did not have the fantasy side I liked.

Alfredo Alcala gave 'Big John's' art a whole new depth which I think defined the look of these Black and White books.

There was another book that caught my attention at roughly this time and that was Thrilling Adventure Stories from Seagate/Atlas.

I bought a copy of this recently for my reminiscing.
Still not read it,had a sniff at the paper...

Kid said...

The Seagate/Atlas mag would've been around '74 or '75 - I had that as well, but no longer, alas.

I thought I was the only paper-sniffer around. So there's two of us, eh?

Colin Jones said...

Kid, you really must have been bonkers to have given away those Conans ! This is probably my all time favourite Conan tale but I first read it in late 1978 when it was reprinted in colour in a Conan Treasury Edition with a new John Buscema cover. I didn't start reading the Conan monthly until No.8 (I bought it while waiting to see Star Wars) and I bought Conan No.1 via mail order a couple of years later - I didn't know "Iron Shadows" was the story in No.1 and was rather disappointed to find I'd already read it in the treasury edition. About four years ago I finally got around to reading the original Robert E Howard story and was quite surprised how identical the Marvel version is - it's almost word-for-word identical ! I'm not complaining though as reading the Howard story I can see the Marvel version in my mind. There's a Dark Horse version too which I wasn't so keen on but then I'm not a great fan of Dark Horse's Conan to be honest.

Kid said...

I agree with you - I was bonkers. Maybe I'll re-acquire them on eBay someday, although most (if not all) of the tales are reprinted in Conan Saga.

John Pitt said...

I used to buy this title every month from about 81 till the end of its run , but I never bought one single issue of the US SSOC , as I always found it grossly overpriced in comparison in the newsagents . Kid , did you ever get the US counterpart and , if so , what was so special about them to warrant such a big difference in price?

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Yes Thrilling Adventure Stories was from 1975, issue 2 is an amazing comic probably one of the best b&ws I recall reading as a kid (teenager). I got rid of a lot of my UK "Savage Sword of Conan" as well about 10 years ago - a daft move but just had (still have) way too too many comics in my loft need to weed them out next time it will only be filler books though. Yep I agree Alcalla was amazing on big Johns pencils

Kid said...

JP, yeah, I did pick up a couple of issues. If I remember correctly, it had more pages, better printing, and it may well have featured articles from time to time. At least, that's the impression I have of the U.S. version after all these years.


McScotty, I have comics everywhere - cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, boxes, loft, etc. I seriously need to clear some out, but when I see them again, I can't bear to part with them.

John Pitt said...

Both of you - don't do it! You will regret it for the rest of your lives!

Kid said...

I know, JP - done it before, regretted it before, replaced them all before.

Dougie said...

I was obsessed with Marvel's Conan between 1975 and 1979! The colour comic sent me to the Sphere paperbacks ( back then I could only get them in John Menzies' new flagship shop in Buchanan Street- about 78, I joined Strathaven Library, then started going to EK's Olynpia which had more fantasy paperbacks).
But my real favourite was SSOC. I only got three issues of the US version and they were hugely thrilling and alluring. However, I bought more of the UK version in the end because they tended to be stocked in Menzies shops (and at Central Station). I think that Buscema/Alcala combo is unbeatable but I also love Kane's Conan.

Kid said...

Bell, Book & Candle is the long-gone shop in the Arcade you're thinking of, Dougie. The later Conan Saga was also a good publication, because it reprinted the Smith Conans (in b&w), as well as the SSOC strips.

Kid said...

Ah, it just clicked that you meant the Olympia Library, not the bookshop in the Olympia Arcade (Alexandra Arcade as it was called then - or was it Alexandria? Can't recall.)

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