“The Hell-Spawn of Kara-Shehr”
Writer: Roy Thomas adapted from story “The Fire of Asshurbanipal” by Robert E. Howard
Artist: John Buscema
Conan and Bourtai are traveling by camel through the desert to Aghraphur. They come on a man being attacked by four brigands. Conan drives off the brigands but soon more come and Conan takes the injured man and flees. Later the man is dying and tries to warn Conan about the dangers of the Eye of Azure in Kara-Shehr. A sand storm losses the water the two have but they find the lost city of Kara-Shehr. Exploring they find a throne room with a skeleton clutching the huge gem. Only the brigands come and capture Conan and Bourtai. The brigands are lead by Kai Shaan a man that Conan had a run in with some issues back. Kai wants to torture Conan but first takes the gem against the advice of his men. No sooner than than he claims the gem a sandstorm appears in the throne room and a winged demon comes. The demon kills Kai Shaan and Bourtai who also tries to take the gem. The demon leaves and Conan finds the skeleton clutching the gem with the skeletons of Kai Shaan and Bourtai next to it. Conan decides to leave while he is ahead.
Another adaptation of a non-Conan Howard story. This guy was a brilliant writer. I have to start looking for more of his work to read. This story fit nicely with the current storyline. I loved the big two page spread of the reveal of the city. It had brigands and monsters and lost cities. We also say good-bye to Bourtai or monkey-face as Conan liked to call him. Obviously Roy didn’t see much point of keeping him around as a companion. I think that was a wise idea. He would start to wear quickly.