Tuesday, 24 May 2016

BARRY SMITH CONAN THE BARBARIAN SPLASH PAGE GALLERY...


Characters copyright ROBERT E. HOWARD ESTATE

Regular (sort of) reader MOONMANDO enjoyed seeing
the splash page from CONAN The BARBARIAN #6 in a recent
post, so I thought I'd make him happy by showing the splash pages
from the first dozen issues.  Smith had pretty much abandoned his
attempts at imitating JACK KIRBY's style by this time and,
boy, what an improvement that turned out to be!

Any memories associated with these images?  Got a
 favourite?  You know where the comment section is.











15 comments:

paul Mcscotty said...

Conan was without doubt my favourite comic around this time (and up until around issue 50 and onto “Savage Sword..”). Just consistent amazing art and storytelling. Of the issues noted here “The Tower of the Elephant” and “The Dweller in the Dark” were my favourites. Conan hasn’t been as good (ihmo) since he “left” Marvel , although Dark Horse did some nice stories with some very tidy art in the first 10 or so issues when they took over the character (less so as it progressed)

Kid said...

I like Zukala's Daughter, which I first read in the Marvel Annual 1973. The first time I ever saw Conan was in his first ish, which belonged to a pal. I sat out on his back step one sunny evening and read it, and it lodged in my memory forever. Whenever I look at it today, I'm on that back step again.

Philip Crawley said...

My two faves of these are the "Grim Grey God" and "Dweller in the Dark" splashes. The first has that dynamic pose and the second is evidence of Barry Smith's growing level of sophistication in his art. Didn't realize how many were inked by 'Our Pal Sal", as Stan used to call him. Do we know who coloured the art?, the part of the production not credited on the slash. One would assume Barry?. First Conan story I ever saw was a black and white reprint of the 'Frost Giant's Daughter", in Savage Tales, or similar - but the memory is a bit hazy on that one. All I know is that I liked what I saw. Conan was one of those mags that I never really appreciated at the time but on looking back I find that it has stood the test of time. Your post has me wanting to revisit some of these issues, and seek out a collection / reprints that don't have the Dark Horse death by recolouring overkill.

Kid said...

Long time no hear, PC, where ya been? I'm sure Roy Thomas mentions who coloured the Conan tales in an interview somewhere, but I don't have my Conan Classics to hand to check. That's the issues you should go for, an 11 ish run from the '90s called Conan Classic. They used the original colour negs (according to RT, 'though I doubt that was for every issue) and the printing was better than the original mags. I'm not sure it would've been Smith (although he may have provided guides) - I'd guess that it was either Marie Severin, George Roussos or Tatjana Wood. (Could be completely wrong 'though.) I didn't mind the Dark Horse re-colouring; what annoyed me more was them leaving the 'Conan The Barbarian' masthead off some of the splash pages, and the computer re-lettering (with loads of mistakes) on some of the Buscema tales.

Kid said...

PC, Roy Thomas says that the colouring would be by either Marie Severin or Stan Goldberg, who did most of Marvel's mags at that time.

Philip Crawley said...

Kid, thanks for the follow-up on the colourist. I was aware that 'Mirthful' Marie did some colouring on the mags, pity she didn't receive a credit along with the rest of the team responsible for each issue. I shall check out those Conan Classics, thanks - hopefully to be had for a reasonable (ie, sane!) price out there. As for "where ya been?", sometimes, believe it or not, life gets in the way of one's internet time, try as you might to fit it into the daily schedule. Back now and about to have a closer look at all of the Severin Kull goodness you have just put up!

Kid said...

Life? What's that again? Remind me. I think I had one when I was younger. Note that the colourist gets a credit in the Ploog Kull issue, PC, so (just like you) perhaps people were asking who did the colouring. Nowadays the colourist gets credited before the letterer. How times have changed, eh?

Colin Jones said...

My first ever issue of Conan was Marvel UK's Savage Sword weekly #2 - "The Lair Of The Beast-Men" which is basically a rip-off of Planet Of The Apes. I also had #3 - "The Twilight Of The Grim Grey God". I didn't read The Tower Of The Elephant till it appeared in the Savage Sword monthly in September 1978. And "Rogues In The House" was in the 1975 Conan Treasury Edition which I bought on holiday in August 1977. Kid, I had some of those Dark Horse reprints too and I also noticed that the "Conan The Barbarian" masthead was left off some of the splash pages which was annoying and very sloppy I thought. I've also bought some of the Dark Horse Conan comics and I really wanted to like them but they were a bit "meh" to be honest - the Dark Horse version of "Iron Shadows In The Moon" wasn't a patch on the Marvel version for example. How could Marvel be so dumb as to lose the licence for Conan ?! Forgot to mention earlier that the version of "Tower Of The Elephant" that I read in the Savage Sword monthly was drawn by John Buscema/Alfredo Alcala (but you already knew that) - I didn't know there had been an earlier Barry Smith version in the Conan weekly until I read it in the Dark Horse Conan reprints.

Kid said...

I think Marvel lost the rights to Conan when they went bankrupt in the mid-'90s, CJ, and they had to jettison all their licensed properties. (Marvel were doing okay - it was a knock-on effect caused by Marvel's owner messing up in some of his other businesses.) As for the Dark Horse reprints, I suspect that, in some instances, they were using later proofs that had 'Stan Lee Presents' added to the masthead, and they deleted any and all references to Stan and Marvel. Marvel's version of Conan and Kull are the definitive ones in my opinion.

moonmando said...

Cheers for that Kid. Each cover a treasured memory.

Kid said...

You mean 'splash page', Moony. The 'cover' is something else again. Although I'm sure that each cover is also a treasured memory to you. (Don't you just hate pedants?)

Colin Jones said...

I'll just mention a couple of things about my first Conan comic - Savage Sword Of Conan weekly #2 (and I said above that "Lair Of The Beast-Men" was a POTA rip-off but "POTA-meets-Spartacus" would be a better description, ha). I bought it not in a newsagent but in the local market where a man was selling a pile of comics - all of them were Savage Sword #2. And when I saw the splash page I assumed that Conan had fought the fallen Beast-Man in the previous issue and I'd missed it.

Kid said...

Interestingly, that Beast-Man was originally a bear, CJ, but publisher Martin Goodman wanted it redrawn as a 'humanoid' creature. The figure was altered, and the dialogue had to be changed in one panel to accommodate the fact that Conan's fur cape (which was added to the splash page to maintain continuity when the bear was redrawn) was supposed to be the fallen bruin's hide.

Dougie said...

My favourite is probably the first one (although I first encountered it as the splash in the reprint Conan no. 23). That was my second-ever colour Conan comic. I prefer Smith's version to Buscema and the more fantastic ( and less medieval) Hyboria is, the better I like it.

Kid said...

Smith's Conan certainly had more of an air of the 'fantastic' about it, whereas Buscema's Conan seemed more 'real-world', but I enjoyed both of them. Yeah, I really like that first splash page myself and it's probably my favourite too.

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