“The Forever Phial”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Tim Conrad
Conan is traveling through Brythunia when he is attacked by a white wolf. Later at a tavern he finds out the wolf belongs to a local wizard named Ranephi. He decides to leave rather than face the wizard but soon finds himself at his castle. First he fights off a fire elemental than a water elemental. He uses the water elemental to destroy each other. Then he finds the wizard and fulfills a prophecy by killing him with an ax. We find out at the end the wizard wanted to end is immortal life and manipulated events to Conan would kill him.
“The Elder Gods Part III The Gods of the Hyborian Age”
By Robert Yaple
The article about the gods of the Hyborian age continues. This time talks about Set and his worship in Stygia. The Earth-Mother gods of the Shemites. How Ishtar was adopted by the Kothians. The ape-god Hanuman in Zamboula and the cult of Asura.
“Death Song of Conan the Cimmerian”
Writer: Lin Carter adopted by Roy Thomas
Artist: Jess Jodloman
A poem about the life of Conan. His beginning and love of life to his final battle with the grim reaper.
Writer and Artist: Bruce Jones
A young man named Dars-Khras in Brythunia goes to a forbidden mountain Demon’s Tooth on a dare. He finds a young woman tied to a cross. The woman is named Luhra. Dars frees her but expects a reward in exchange. So he starts to kiss her but a giant bird comes and he has to kill it. Later every time he makes a move on her some creature like giant spiders or an octopus attack him. Finally they reach the castle of the wizard who imprisoned her. Arms come out of the wall and grasp Dars as Luhra grabs up his sword and kills the wizard. Only the wizard was projecting an illusion. Dars finds out that Luhra was an old ugly witch using him to get at the wizard. Dars walks away angry and sexually frustrated.
“The Hyborian Age Chapter 2 The Rise of the Hyborians”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from essay by Robert E. Howard.
Artist: Walt Simonson
Circe 17,000-15,000 B.C. After the Great Cataclysm the Thurian continent descends into barbarism. The surviving Atlanteans and Picts have great clashes that drive both races to devolve. In the East the Lemurians make it to the east coast and are enslaved by the race living there. They manage to revolt and drive their enslavers west. The ancient race eventually comes to the land that will be known as Stygia and destroy the pre-human inhabitants. From the north the Hybori are growing and drifting south.
“Corsairs Against Stygia”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from “The Hour of the Dragon” by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Gil Kane and Yong Montano
Conan finds himself sold as a galley slave to an Argossean trader. Conan not liking being a slave throws the captain to the black galley slaves. He recognizes many of them as former comrades when he sailed with Belit as a pirate. They recognize Amra and revolt killing the crew. Then Conan takes the ship to Khemi the major port in Stygia. From a captured fisherman he learns the wizard that has The Heart of Ahriman named Thutohmes plans to use it to overthrow the wizard Thoth-Amon. So Conan disguises himself as a Stygian fisherman and enters the city.
Well this was an interesting issue. Instead of one big story we get several stories and articles. Part of the reason was to continue the adaptation of “The Hour of the Dragon” that was started in the cancelled Giant-Size Conan series. The only full length novel written by Howard was nice to see they didn’t forget it. This was my favorite of the issue.
The shorter story “The Forever Phial” was an interesting story with the wizard actually wanting to be released from his mortality. The wizard was a tragic figure that you felt sympathy with at the end.
The Death Song poem was helped with the illustrations to go with it. And the non-Conan story had a tongue in cheek humor to it. The hero was definitely not Conan but a hapless bumpkin who got what he deserved.
The article was another informative entry on the gods of Conan’s time and the history of the Hyborean age was also informative and augmented with the visual illustrations.
So an issue with lots going on to welcome me back from my vacation. Hopefully will get back to my normal schedule going forward.