I found this comic at my local comic shop last week while I was passing the time rooting through the dollar bins as I waited to meet my wife. I ended up picking this one and a couple others up based almost entirely on the cover, and in the case of Conan The Barbarian the assumption that the annual would contain a standalone story. The annual was released at some point in 1984 according to the legal blurb in the front cover, and retailed for a whopping $1… so I paid cover price, apparently.
Written by Jim Owsley, with art by Val Mayerik, and colours by Steven Mellor, the annual’s story holds up remarkably well thirty years after it was released, and was certainly worth the dollar I paid for it.
First thing’s first, this issue literally feels it’s age; it’s a thirty odd year old comic, and that’s immediately apparent in the old newsprint style paper. Unfortunately, because of the paper used at the time the artwork isn’t as vibrant as it would have been when the comic first hit the racks, and the paper is far from as white as it once was, but taking that into account the art holds up really well.
The story is fairly typical one in which Conan goes against a wizard and kills a fair number of nondescript enemies. It’s an entertaining story that hasn’t aged too badly, thanks largely to the speed with which the tale is told. Owsley moves from beat to beat with remarkable smoothness, turning what would likely be at least a three part story in today’s comic industry into a single issue standalone story. Sometimes it’s nice to get a single issue story, and that’s especially true when it comes to finding an old comic in a dollar bin.
Even having never read a Conan The Barbarian comic from when Marvel held the licence, I still found this to be an enjoyable comic.
Story: Jim Owsley Art: Val Mayerik Colours: Steven Mellor
Story: 6.75 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75
Recommendation: Read (but if you can find it for $1, buy it).
This post previously appeared on Graphic Policy.