SAVAGE TALES #4 CONAN THE BARBARIAN

“Night of the Dark God”
Writer: Roy Thomas adopted from “The Dark Man” by Robert E. Howard.
Artists: Gil Kane Neal Adams & Diverse Hands

Conan comes upon a fisherman in Vanaheim and takes his boat. He is on a mission to save the woman he loves. Mala is Conan’s first love from his home village in Cimmeria. One day while at a tavern he gets to thinking about her and decides to go to her in his native Cimmeria. When he arrives he finds that Vanir have raided his village and taken Mala. So it leads him to a tribe that lives on an island.

While going there he comes upon a boat with dead Vanir and some dark-skinned race. All that is left is a metal statue of a figure holding a sword. He finds it light as a feather and takes it with him. He then arrives on the island. Some Vanir find his boat and take the statue back to their chieftain. In the great hall the chief Thorfel is about to marry Mala. Mala decides to grab a knife and kill herself. This causes Conan to go berserk but he is overwhelmed by numbers. Just then hordes of the dark-skinned people pour into the hall. Conan manages to kill Thorfel. The dark-skinned men are Picts come to take the statue of Brule the Spear-Slayer. Conan takes his first love back to his village to be buried.

“Star-Crossed Swords”
By Roy Thomas
Art: Al Wiliamson

An editorial about the resurrection of Savage Tales. He goes on about the real reason and addresses the various rumors that are false.

“Jason and his Electric Argonauts”
By Erwin Stevenson

An article on the stop motion from the film Jason And The Argonauts. It tells how Ray Harryhausen had to match up his stop motion with real live action. An interesting article on one of my favorite Harryhausen films.

“The Crusader”
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Joe Maneely

The man known as El Alemain has found out his true heritage and decided to switch sides and join the crusade. He makes his way to the camp of Richard the Lionheart. There he battles Saladin and defeats him with his Saracen blade but lets him go because he was an honorable opponent.

“The Hour of the Gnome”
By Roy Thomas

An article on Gnome press that was the first to release Conan books in the early fifties. Started by Martin Greenberg who coming back from the war and started to release the classics from the pulp magazines of the thirties.

“The Dweller in the Dark”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith

While traveling in Corinthia Conan runs afoul of the soldiers guarding an oasis. He refuses to pay a toll and instead kills the braggart of a captain. The captain was the lover of the queen and so he is captured and taken to her. The queen isn’t too upset and decides to promote Conan to the open position. Now this position basically is to service the queen and Conan starts to want his freedom. He goes to the bath chambers and finds the handmaiden Yaila. Just then the queen walks in and in her jealous rage has both of them tied up in the sewers. The Dweller in the Dark will take care of them.

Conan isn’t one to meekly sit back and with his strength breaks the chains. He finds a sword from a dead victim and fights the Dweller which is a giant octopus like creature. He and Yaila break free and climb up a ladder that leads to the throne room. Conan grabs the queen and pitches her to the Dweller. The people are grateful to be rid of her. They get to choose a new queen and Conan suggests Yaila.

So after another brief hiatus this series is back. I can see why it came back. The articles in this were better than average. The Crusader story was a bit corny but I liked the throw back to a time were there was honor.

The two Conan stories were excellent. The first is a non-Conan story that Roy adapted to Conan. I think I will have to start reading Howard again. He was such a brilliant writer and this story is just excellent. The second was by Roy and shows what a great writer he is. Conan is in his splendid sexist, savage badass barbarian that Howard envisioned him and I love it. A very enjoyable issue.

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