“Lair of the Beast-men!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Barry Smith
Conan stands over a giant man-ape that he just killed that attacked him. He ponders why it attacked then continues on his way. He sees a beautiful woman and chases after her. The girl leads him into an ambush by man-apes. They need slaves and take Conan to Brutheim. Here in an underground city Conan finds himself prisoner. Kiord the chief Thrall of the Manlings tells Conan of the place. Far in the past Kiord’s ancestors were warriors who went north to fight a race of man-apes that were developing civilization. Instead the man-apes captured the warriors and made slaves of them. They then captured women from nearby villages to mate with them so now Kiord and his people are born slaves to the beast-men.
Conan is not a good slave which becomes very obvious. So the king Gha-Kree sentences Conan to die in the arena. Kiord smuggles a knife to Conan so he can kill himself but Conan has other ideas. He uses it to kill the snow-lion he has to fight. This inspires Kiord who breaks out of his cage and with Conan use a giant ram to destroy the arena and the beast-men. Kiord dies and Conan crowns him the king.
“Conan the Marvelous Of Bears and Beast-men”
By Roy Thomas
An article on the second issue of Conan. Tells how the top editors were thinking of replacing Barry as artist but this work ended such speculation. Also tells how Barry gave a more Burroughs look to the city than Howard look. Also the beginning had a bear that Conan killed and took the fur for his cloak. The editor insisted that it be changed to a giant beast-man. Also he got the inspiration for the story from Howard’s pseudo-history. It tells of a race of beast-men in the north and a group of warriors that went to destroy them but was never heard of again.
The second Conan continues to establish a quality series. I love the young Conan who is still a teenager and new to the world. There is such a vitality to this story and it was nominated as the best story for the comic awards in 1971. The article was once again interesting and informative. The beginning with the dead beast-man does seem awkward and forced. This is truly a comic classic.